LSU has had absolutely dominate players play in their secondary recently. The secondary has been full of top notch NFL caliber athletes. In each of the past three seasons the Tiger’s secondary has had a player selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Last year, Eric Reid left early and was drafted 18th overall. The year before, Claiborne was taken 6th and the year before that Patrick Peterson blessed the Cardinals after they took him 5th. The secondary has been so good in previous years it has drawn comparisons to NFL units.
Sadly, unless this year’s guys overplay expectations, the formerly feared secondary could be a LSU weakness in 2013. The Tigers have extremely talented athletes in the secondary giving Tiger fans hope. However, these players are young and will need to mature quickly to help LSU in the grueling SEC West.
Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins are expected to be the cornerbacks receiving the bulk of the snaps in 2013. Both Jalens are sophomores and have potential to really surpass people’s expectations.
Collins only started one game last year, but did receive plenty of playing time in a back up role. He played great in his lone start, recording five tackles to go along with his interception of Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel. He had played solid all season until he was exposed by Ole Miss. Collins has great potential but will need to be an impact player immediately to help out the Tigers in their brutal schedule.
Mills has immense pressure on him to lead the cornerbacks as a true sophomore in 2013. A job recently held by Tyrann Matheiu, Morris Claiborne, and Patrick Peterson. While not quite at the level of those former LSU greats, Mills had a great true freshman season. He started all thirteen games and finished the year fourth on the team in tackles, earning himself Freshman All-American honors. Mills has all the tools needed to be great, but only time will tell if he will be able to fulfill the enormous expectations he has been presented with.
Ronald Martin has the daunting task of replacing elite free saftey, Eric Reid. Reid was always capable of making game changing plays at any moment he was on the field. (Watch the video) Primarily in back up duties, Martin recorded 35 tackles and two interceptions, returning one 45 yards to the house in his lone start against Idaho. Martin should show improvement with the increase in playing time. However, even though he is a great athlete, LSU is going to miss Reid.
The strongest spot on the LSU secondary and arguably the entire defense is fifth year senior Craig Loston. This hard hitting safety was All-SEC Second Team in his first season as a starter. The number one rated safety in the nation, coming out of high school, is expected to lead the young secondary, that has been so remarkable in recent years. If he stays healthy expect him to be at least All-SEC, with All-American honors very likely. Craig Loston is a great talent and could likely extend LSU’s streak, of having a DB selected in the first round.
The secondary will be a question mark for the 2013 Tigers, but with elite leadership they could surpass expectations. They are young but Chavis summoned things up perfectly.
We’ve got some young guys but I like their talent. We have some time to get them ready and I think we’ll be fine once we get them there.