With last week’s dismissal of 2011 Heisman Finalist Tyrann Mathieu, the LSU cornerback position suffered a major blow to its repertoire. Mathieu was not only the most decorated of the LSU corners; he was also the most experienced. Tharold Simon, Jalen Collins and Jalen Mills will all be asked to step up this year in the absence of Mathieu. Simon is the only one of the three who has seen action in a college game before. Collins, a redshirt freshman from Mississippi, and Mills, a true freshman out of DeSoto, Texas, are going to be counted on to provide depth and stability at the position. Particularly early on when a spread, pass happy team in the University of Washington visits Tiger Stadium in September.
It is expected that Collins and Simon will be at the top of the depth chart at the position with Mills backing them up and battling another freshman, Micah Eugene, for the role as nickel back.
Mills is an unheralded defensive back recruit out of the state of Texas with very few offers from big time college programs, like LSU. Mills has received early praise from the coaching staff for his cover skills during fall camp, but it is unclear whether or not Mills is up to the challenge of the physical aspect of the game that is SEC football. One – on – one tackling and press coverage are two traits that most high school defensive backs struggle with at the next level. It would not be a surprise at all to see him struggle early on in the season in these two areas this season.
When addressing the media after the scrimmage Saturday, Head Coach Les Miles identified Mills as a player that stood out among the participants. He was tested by the offensive unit and rose to the challenge and is now someone the coaching staff feels that they could count on this fall when the time comes that they call his number.
With Mathieu gone from the team this season, it is almost a certainty that Mills’ number will be called sooner rather than later.