Travin Dural’s production dropped off after a hot start to the 2014 LSU football season. Expect him to provide much more consistent play for a talented receiving corps this year.
Dural opened the 2014 season with a bang, and was a large reason why the Tigers were able to make an incredible comeback to beat Wisconsin in the season opener. The junior wide receiver caught three passes for 151 yards and one touchdown that game. He would go on to compile 494 yards and four touchdowns throughout the first four games of the season.
After the LSU football team’s Week 4 loss to Mississippi State, however, Dural’s production would drop off significantly. He would only reach the 50-yard mark once during the remainder of the season, and only hauled in three more touchdowns on the year. His final numbers for the season were 37 receptions for 758 yards and seven touchdowns.
This likely had less to do with Dural’s play, though, and more to do with the quarterback’s tunnel vision in his direction. Opposing defenses knew that he was the primary receiving target, with Anthony Jennings not even bothering to glance in another direction at times when dropping back to pass.
The 2015 season will be different, though. Nobody knows who the starting quarterback is going to be, not even Les Miles. But regardless of who is lining up under center, the Tigers are poised to have a much more successful aerial attack. With Dural, John Diarse, Malachi Dupre and DJ Chark, the team possesses four potential No. 1 receivers. Even if these players take away from Dural’s targets, he will be much more efficient with opposing secondaries having multiple big-play threats to monitor.
Another aspect of his game that surprisingly emerged as a potential weapon is his ability to hurt teams in the slot on reverses and jet sweeps. During the final two games of the season, Dural ran the ball eight times for 110 yards, and finished the year with the highest yards per carry average on the team for players with at least 10 carries.
Unfortunately, a first team All-SEC performance is unlikely. This has nothing to do with Dural’s performance, either. It is merely a byproduct of LSU’s depth at receiver. This competition, along with the Tigers’ intense focus on the running game, will prevent Dural from putting up the same gaudy statistics that players in high-powered passing attacks will.
Even second team All-SEC will be a tall order, but as long as LSU’s quarterback play is not as awful as it was last year, the speedy wide receiver will have a good chance of being in the running for the honor at the end of the season.
Here is a look at the numbers we predict from Travin Dural’s junior campaign.
Second team All-SEC
Receiving yards: 909
Yards per reception: 20.2
Receiving touchdowns: 8
Rushing yards: 130
Yards per carry: 8.7
Rushing touchdowns: 1
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