LSU started spring practice nearly three weeks ago, and things are well underway around the SEC. Thirteen of 14 teams have started spring practice, with Kentucky bringing up the rear in starting this week.
It’s an interesting spring for LSU, who replaces several key vacancies wiped out again by the NFL Draft. Here are five players who benefit the most and who should emerge with much bigger roles in 2014:
Kendell Beckwith, LB (SO)
2013 stats: 11 tackles, 1 FF
Buzz: Kendell Beckwith is considered a defensive end, and he’s playing middle linebacker this spring, giving DJ Welter a run for his money this spring. Beckwith is an athletic specimen who will see more time in the linebacking rotation, as opposed to the defensive line rotation. The beautiful thing about Beckwith is he can play both positions, and John Chavis has to utilize his ability.
Jalen Mills, DB (JR)
2013 stats: 67 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 sacks, 3 INTs, 6 passes defended
Buzz: Just put Jalen Mills on the field; he’s one of the most versatile defensive backs in the SEC for 2014. Formerly a corner, Mills could start at safety for the departed Craig Loston. Mills is now the weathered veteran of the secondary, and he’ll have a major role in 2014. He’s so important for John Chavis because he’s versatile enough for any secondary role.
Christian LaCouture, DT (SO)
2013 stats: 11 tackles, 1.5 TFL
Buzz: The Nebraska native is a coming force for the Tigers’ defense that has to replace Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson at tackle. LaCouture is a beast in the making, and he’ll become a key cog in rebuilding the interior defensive line. You’ll want to watch this kid play; he plays with brute strength and is a force.
Terrance Magee, RB (SR)
2013 stats: 86 carries, 626 yards, 8 TDs
Buzz: Yes, Kenny Hilliard and incoming freshman Leonard Fournette will also have an impact, but the biggest role of the three may be Terrance Magee. With 1,400-yard rusher Jeremy Hill exiting for the NFL Draft, Magee becomes the immediate back to benefit the most. Hilliard slid down the depth chart last year, and he’ll likely be in that same scenario in 2014, with Magee and Fournette getting the bulk of the carries.
Rashard Robinson, CB (SO)
2013 stats: 16 tackles, 1 INT, 4 passes defended
Buzz: You want to talk about LSU’s corner duo? Rashard Robinson and Tre’Davious White are two of the youngest and best in the conference. Aside from Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, Robinson may be the best up-and-coming SEC cornerback. The Florida native has freakish ability, and he’ll be just another NFL talent from DB U. He’ll become an everyday starter and staple in the Tigers’ secondary.
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