Looking for a niche to carve out

Looking for a niche to carve out

After nearly leaving the program in the offseason, veteran wide receiver Kadron Boone wants to make more noise in the Tigers' passing game this season .

Looking back at the past doesn't interest LSU receiver Kadron Boone.

Good thing, too, because his time since he got to the Tigers' program doesn't provide much of a past.

And that leaves a lot of room to build in the future.

Boone is one of three junior wide receivers in the LSU program who have yet to distinguish themselves, an almost lost society among a growing crew that is anchored by two budding sophomore stars and a veteran who is still waiting to fully blossom as he enters his final season.

The junior trio – James Wright and Armand Williams are the others – may be relatively unknown right now. As the season nears, though, Boone is ready to make a mark after nearly walking away from LSU in the offseason.

Junior WR Kadron Boone: 'I just want to go out there and make plays when my number is called.'

"I don't pay much attention to the outside or what's being said about me," said Boone, who snared seven passes for 82 yards and a pair of scores last season. "What happened last year happened. I don't get caught up in things I don't have control over. I just want to go out there and make plays when my number is called."

For two seasons, Boone's number hasn't been called a ton.

Playing behind bigger receivers like Rueben Randle and Terrence Toliver, the well-constructed 6-foot, 207-pound Ocala, Fla., native got on the field only now and then, and very rarely in big games when the outcome was in doubt.

Whether that was the result of talent in front of him or Boone not being ready to make a big impact doesn't matter to him.

Nor does the small puddle of controversy he stepped in last January when he all but announced via Twitter that he was leaving.

Like all of the Tigers, Boone had the frustration of the loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship eating at him. Add to that the indignity of barely sniffing the field the last month of the season and Boone was in a bad place.

Before he took the next decisive step, Boone came back to Baton Rouge between semesters and met with Les Miles, new receivers coach Adam Henry and the quarterback he'd be playing with, Zach Mettenberger.

The result was a decision to stay and work on the foundation Boone had quietly built for two years.

"I spoke to Coach Miles and Zach and realized I had some good relationships built up there," Boone said. "With Coach Henry, it was a new beginning. He didn't know anything about last year and everybody was starting over from scratch."

Boone's return was important to those who have gotten to know him best.

And the way he has approached his role has also drawn the attention of his fellow receivers.

"I know he was frustrated, and when we talked I told him he had to do what was best for him and his family," said Wright, one of Bone's closer friends. "But I also told him if he came back, he'd have a chance to make plays. He came back and focused himself. He really went back to the basics and realized what he had to do to make it work."

Where Boone fits in best is yet to be determined.

He and Wright have battled for playing time at one receiver spot, with sophomore Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry likely to man the two primary spots.

Kadron Boone: Two of his seven receptions last season were for TDs

While not as dynamic as Beckham or Landry, not as physical as Wright and not as athletic as Williams, Boone is one of the Tigers' more complete pass-catchers.

"He's a great route-runner," said safety Eric Reid, who arrived at LSU with Boone in 2010. "He knows how to find that hole to squat in and be open for the quarterback. It's aggravating as a DB, but it makes us better as a team."

Added Wright, "He's tough and he's faster than he looks. His ability to stretch the field will surprise people."

That surprise element – the unknown because he hasn't been on the field a bunch – is something Boone is counting on.

"Some DBs may not think I can run as fast as I can," he said with a smile. "I think we'll surprise defenses with how much speed all of our receivers have."

Versatility is also a hallmark Boone hopes to rely on.

Because he has never carved a specific spot on the field, Boone has worked to learn all three primary receiving spots and said he's very comfortable with the variety of route trees for sets involving three, four or five receivers.

That knowledge, coupled with the motivation to make sure the coaches have every reason to put him on the field is a nice foundation for success.

"I know all the receiver positions, so if the coaches want to move me around I'm comfortable with wherever they put me," Boone said.

"The big things is, I have to go out each day in camp and get better, make big plays and show them I can do it so when we get into a game and we need a big play and out two main guys are covered, I can be a guy they can count on."

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