SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Here are some notes from day two of Shrine Bowl week.
2013 Impact Commits: Defense
Yesterday, we ranked the offensive prospects, and today TSD brings a ranking of which defensive prospects should have the biggest impact next season.
1. Greg Gilmore – 6-4, 270 pounds – No. 8 DT
LSU's most recent defensive commitment should have the best opportunity to see the field in 2013. Gilmore mentioned that numerous times in discussing why he chose LSU over Florida, and that idea is not far-fetched. LSU will lose senior Josh Downs from the interior defensive line, and Bennie Logan could depart for the NFL. That would leave LSU with two DTs — Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson — with field experience, another Quentin Thomas that has shown enough talent to fight for a starting spot next season, and Mickey Johnson, who appears to still be a year or two off. That leaves the highly-talented Gilmore with a great chance to figure into the rotation next season. With depth being a concern for a position that John Chavis loves to utilize several bodies, expect Gilmore to have a big role on the defensive line next season.
2. Jeryl Brazil – 5-9, 176 pounds – No. 19 CB
Brazil's biggest impact may not necessarily come on defense in 2013, but he has one trait that should get him on the field next season. Hands-down the fastest prospect in the state, Brazil could step in immediately and contribute in the return game. It would be wise for LSU to capitalize on his speed and give Brazil time on kickoffs. In terms of his impact in the secondary, Brazil may still require some time to get acclimated to the position. He will only devote himself full-time to the position for the first time in the fall after serving as a jack-of-all-trades for Loranger this past season. There's still a chance he winds up on offense, but all indications are that he's expecting to play cornerback in college. There's no question Brazil can fly, and it's likely that talent will appear on the field somewhere in 2013.
3. John Diarse – 6-1, 215 pounds – No. 15 S
Like Brazil, questions still remain as to which side of the ball Diarse will end up. He has the awareness and athleticism that lead many to believe he plays safety on the next level, but he also has the physicality and hands to play receiver. As an early enrollee, the spring will go a long way in determining where he ends up, but the majority opinion right now is that he ends up at safety. Diarse likely projects to play strong safety, and could compete for playing time behind Craig Loston with Corey Thompson and Micah Eugene. But Chavis likes to be creative with athletic prospects like Diarse, so expect The Chief to find a place for him on his defense in 2013.
4. Christian Lacouture – 6-5, 250 pounds - No. 14 DT
As I mentioned earlier, the defensive line will be seriously strapped for depth, losing as many as six contributors from this year's team. Lacouture could certainly fit into the rotation, but his size has many hesitant to guarantee he sees time next season. He's not yet big enough to solidify a spot as a defensive tackle, and could very well end up at end with LSU. He will enroll early, and that extra time in Baton Rouge will help determine what spot on the line he plays. Either way, he has the potential to figure into the rotation, and a big spring could propel him into a definite backup role.
5. Tre'Davious White – 5-11, 175 pounds – No. 20 CB
Intelligence and athleticism are two traits that point to a fast track to the field, and White has plenty of both. A 4.0 student, White also has ability as both a cover corner and return man that could get him some playing time as a freshman. He'll have competition from current freshmen Derrick Raymond, Kavahra Holmes and Dwayne Thomas, but if Tharold Simon declares for the draft, LSU will likely call upon one of those names to step in. White has the mental ability to pick up on the scheme quickly, and a big summer could get him in consideration.
T-6. Frank Herron – 6-5, 245 pounds – No. 16 DE
Michael Patterson – 6-4, 240 pounds – No. 43 DE
Lewis Neal – 6-2, 240 pounds – No. 31 MLB (Will play defensive end)
With LSU possibly losing four defensive ends from this year's team, the staff will likely need to call upon one of the freshmen to figure into the rotation next season. Now not every player in this group will likely see the field, but any one of these names could wind up figuring into the mix. Herron appears the most ready at the moment to jump in, with the size and athleticism that Chavis enjoys in a defensive end. Patterson possesses some versatility, and could project to a speedy, end-rusher like Keke Mingo, but he also has the frame to add weight and become a power blitzer. Don't count Neal out either, and it will be interesting to see which of these players stands out in the summer and works into the discussion for early playing time.
9. Melvin Jones – 6-3, 245 pounds – No. 8 MLB
After LSU's linebacker haul in 2012, that position likely won't figure to be one of desperate need in 2013. If Kevin Minter does declare for the NFL draft though, that would leave a big hole on the LSU defense. While Chavis could turn to someone more experienced like Lamin Barrow to shift to the middle or possibly DJ Welter, LSU could be looking at some inexperienced linebackers to fill Minter's place. Ronnie Fiest figures to be the No. 1 young guy in consideration with Trey Granier still a year or two away. But Jones has enough talent that might warrant consideration. All reports are that he has recovered from a leg injury he sustained during the 2012 season, and a big summer could get him in the discussion should LSU resort to youth at the middle spot.
10. Rashard Robinson – 6-1, 175 pounds, No. 31 CB
Robinson will have a lot of competition in front of him if he intends to compete for playing time as a freshman, but it's never out of the realm of possibilities for first-year players to figure into the secondary. But there are a lot of other players he'll need to overcome on the depth chart and a redshirt is likely for Robinson.
11. Tevin Lawson – 6-4, 275 pounds – No. 51 DT
Academics are the biggest question mark surrounding Lawson, and there's certainly a chance he hits the JUCO route in 2013. If he does get his grades in order, he'll still have work to do to get on the field in 2013. Though DT will be a position lacking depth next season, Lawson would benefit from a redshirt season to get used to the college game.
12. Jeremy Cutrer – 6-3, 175 pounds – No. 19 S
Another possible academic casualty, Cutrer's landing at LSU in 2013 is certainly not guaranteed. He does have plenty of speed that will benefit him well in a SEC secondary, but he'll need to add weight to handle the physicality the position demands.
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