CB Morris Claiborne
9-3-11 Oregon @Arlington, TX
9-15-11 at Mississippi State
9-24-11 at West Virginia
10-1-11 KENTUCKY
10-8-11 FLORIDA
10-15-11 at Tennessee
10-22-11 AUBURN
11-5-11 at Alabama
11-19-11 at Mississippi
11-25-11 ARKANSAS
Coach: Les Miles
62-17, 6 years

2010 Statistics

2010 RESULTS: 11-2
North Carolina WON 30-24
at Vanderbilt WON 27-3
at Florida WON 33-29
at Auburn LOST 17-24
at Arkansas LOST 23-31
Texas A&M WON 41-24

2010 Final Rankings
AP-8, Coaches-8, BCS-11


Several reasons can exist as to why a team is ranked this high in a preseason poll. But the primary factor usually boils down to recruiting, talent and recruiting, an area where LSU has been blessed. This depth chart at many of the positions is really not big enough to limit the names down to a two-deep situation. What really hurt this team last fall was the injury bug, in particular across the line of scrimmage where games are usually won and lost. The offensive line went through some major reshuffling due to these injuries as did the defensive line. Despite the injuries, LSU was still able to reel off 11 wins and a Cotton Bowl victory. Henceforth, the Tigers have been put in a lofty position to start the new campaign provided a clean bill of health can be achieved.

Who earns the starting quarterback job? Jordan Jefferson will be the starter. He has won the job outright through the spring and has seemingly bonded well with new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe. That's the main reason Kragthorpe was hired as Gary Crowton's replacement…to do a better job of teaching the quarterbacks. If Jefferson struggles look for former Georgia QB Zach Mettenberger to take the reigns. Who is the prime running back? While three or four different ball carriers will get their share of handoffs, Spencer Ware has emerged as the top replacement for Stevan Ridley. Who fills the void at defensive tackle? Defensive line coach Brick Haley will rotate four players at two tackle positions. Look for two freshmen to really make an impact with early enrollee Anthony Johnson and redshirt Ego Ferguson. Who will be the third target in this receiving group outside of Randle and Shepard? There is no clear-cut answer at this point, which has to be a concern right now for the passing game. Tolliver, Boone, Wright, Williams and Gore have all shown promise but none have stood out enough to grab the limelight. Who is the middle linebacker? This is a crucial position for a defense that likes to utilize nickel and dime packages. Unfortunately, no one has proven to be remotely as good compared to the departed Kelvin Sheppard. Gone with him may be an entire defensive scheme that might have to be altered to some degree without anyone in place to reproduce his tackling ability. Will the kicking game continue to be a source of victories with new faces? That one remains to be seen too. But the top candidates Alleman (kicking) and Wing (punting) have some seriously strong legs.

One of the biggest problems for these Les Miles squads lately has been the poor play at quarterback. The passing numbers have been awful. Truth be told, LSU is lacking playmakers when it comes to catching the pigskin. Yes, Randle and Shepard offer some chance of redemption with this group but from tight end to split end this unit has been haunted by inconsistency and a lack of focus. Offensively, the passing attack simply has to do better for LSU to compete for a national title. But that's just stating the obvious once again. Defense can win championships, but not at this level when interceptions and dropped passes have become the norm.

Speaking of defense...LSU will continue to be one of the best. Other than the middle linebacker spot, which is a big one, the depth chart is extremely rich with high school All-Americans. This is where LSU will continue to push for the SEC crown, winning games with stingy coverage and hard-to-figure schemes built around size, speed, strength and oodles of fresh bodies.

What a brutal schedule. Would we expect anything less in SEC Country? While some see a schedule such as this a curse, the BCS National Championship Game has proven that playing a difficult schedule is more beneficial than not. Opening with Oregon at Jerry's Palace in Arlington on Labor Day weekend is an initial marquee examination. What really will test these Tigers however is a four game stretch at mid-season that consists of Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and Alabama. Going unscathed through this gauntlet is not likely, which makes that opener with Oregon a must win. Coaches better answer those questions at receiver and middle linebacker fast. Time is of the essence.

Projected 2011 record: 10-2

WR Rueben Randle
2010 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Jordan Jefferson, 118-209-10, 1411 yds., 7 TD

Rushing: Jordan Jefferson, 123 att., 450 yds., 7 TD

Receiving: Rueben Randle, 33 rec., 544 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Jordan Jefferson, 7 TD, 1 2-pt. conv., 44 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: None

Tackles: Ryan Baker, 87 tot., 37 solo

Sacks: Ryan Baker, 7 sacks

Interceptions: Morris Claiborne, 5 for 101 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Ron Brooks, 7 ret., 23.1 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Rueben Randle, 2 ret., 5.0 avg., 0 TD


2011 College Football Preview
OFFENSE: Terrence Toliver-WR, Joseph Barksdale-OT, Josh Jasper-K/P, Stevan Ridley-TB (NFL)
DEFENSE: Lazarius Levingston-DT, Drake Nevis-DT, Kelvin Sheppard-MLB, Derek Helton-P, Patrick Peterson-CB (NFL)

Last season the Tigers finished 102nd nationally in passing yards per game and head coach Les Miles has stressed that a point of emphasis will be placed on locating a better passing attack with three quarterbacks who are capable of producing much better numbers. Point of emphasis may be an understatement considering the ghastly stats fashioned from behind center the last three years. Heading into spring ball the race seemed to be wide open with Jordan Jefferson being a slight favorite. Now that spring is over, yes Jefferson will be the starter with Jarrett Lee and Zach Mettenberger battling it out for the backup spot. While Jefferson struggled through the latter part of the actual spring game with his statistics, his progression through the entire spring camp with new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe has drawn rave reviews. Jefferson's past has shown an ability to keep opponents off-balance with his feet (the team's leading returning rusher) and his finale last season in the Cotton Bowl throwing three touchdown passes offered a few glimpses of hope that he has started to turn the corner with his arm. The better news is that a case can be made where LSU has never enjoyed a deeper set of signal callers. Fifth-year senior Jarrett Lee has started nine games and tossed nearly 400 career passes. Third, JUCO transfer Zach Mettenberger was bought in to push for starting duties. Mettenberger was a redshirt freshman at Georgia two years ago before transferring and many feel he will be the one to push Jefferson for the starting spot. Interceptions have killed this offense under Jefferson (17 career) and Lee (18 career). That number needs to drop fast before LSU can start winning games with its offense.

Per usual, LSU is stacked with a full cupboard of ball carriers. Stevan Ridley was on his way to a 1,000-yard rushing campaign last fall and the outlook for this group appeared to be stellar. Then Ridley announced he was leaving early for the NFL Draft, which now forces one of the other youngsters to rise up and take the primary role. But don’t be surprised when multiple running backs end up sharing multiple handoffs. Michael Ford, Alfred Blue and Spencer Ware all had flashes of star power during their opportunities to play in 2010 combining for 542 yards on 89 carriers. If the spring was any indication, former high school quarterback Spencer Ware has cemented his place as the leader to replace Ridley. When it comes to possessing all of the intangibles such as gaining yards, blocking and receiving, Ware is the complete package and stole the headlines from the spring game scoring two touchdowns. He has a burst Ridley didn't posses that will likely translate into more big gainers. Alfred Blue as a true freshman last fall was the No. 1 backup to Ridley to start September. He and receiver Jakhari Gore (cousin of San Francisco 49'ers running back Frank Gore) got most of the significant carries in the spring game. Michael Ford began to make an impact last year at the midseason point. He is a prototypical tailback with both size and speed but has a few problems with blocking responsibilities. Also enrolling early this spring is Kenny Hilliard who just recently set the Louisiana high school rushing record with 8,603 yards. Coaches want to continue using the I-formation package with walk-on James Stampley at fullback. He has six starts under his belt but will be hard pressed to hold of J.C. Copeland who was originally signed as a defensive lineman.

The passing game has been non-existent in Baton Rouge but not all of the negativity can be directed solely toward the quarterbacks. Dropped balls, poor route running and just plain inconsistency have hurt these aerial efforts. In short, returning junior starters Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard have to shake these negative descriptions and become playmakers. No more excuses, Randle should be the No. 1 receiver now that Terrence Toliver has moved on. This team desperately needs Randle to utilize his talents on every snap. Russell Shepard too has been called out for his inconsistency. Coaches have displayed more patience with Shepard, a former quarterback in high school. He has the potential to be lethal with yards after catch but has only accomplished said feat in a very limited capacity. One of the biggest question marks this off-season will be locating a No. 3 receiver. Only three other individuals - Kadron Boone, Chris Tolliver and James Wright have made a college catch. Tolliver was considered to be one of the best receivers in the country coming out of high school but has only caught two passes in three years while rarely seeing the field. Suffice to say, Tolliver has been a huge disappointment thus far. Boone and Wright played as true freshmen last fall in special receiving packages. Boone is considered one of the favorites to push for that No. 3 spot. Four different redshirt freshmen will also see time on the field this fall with Jakhari Gore, Jarrett Fobbs, Armand Williams and Sam Gibson. As a group, the inconsistency issues have to be overcome. It's obvious to see there is way too much talent at this spot to be so under utilized no matter who lines up at quarterback.

This is one position that is dominated by upperclassmen. Deangelo Peterson is the pass catcher. Coaches and fans had hopes that Peterson would be a reliable touchdown threat. But that expectation never materialized last year as Peterson was sidelined with an ankle injury the first three games and never really found his groove afterwards finishing with 16 receptions and zero touchdowns. The former wide receiver, if healthy, could wind up being an integral part of this passing attack. Plenty of blocking tight ends dot this lineup. Converted defensive end Chase Clement started eight games here last year grinding out holes for the running backs but is athletic enough to be considered an efficient receiver. A fifth-year senior, Mitch Joseph can form a potent duo with Clement in a run-blocking, two-tight end formation.

In years past, the offensive line would have been perhaps the biggest question mark of them all. But with four returning regular starters and four other players who were pressed into starting roles last season, the Tigers’ offensive line appears to be a strength. Chemistry will also be a huge bonus as many of these linemen have been forced into playing multiple positions across the front due to assorted injuries, each learning the role of the other. Eight players on the roster have earned at least one start while four of them have started at least ten games (Dworaczyk, Hebert, Lonergan and Hurst). Things got off to a bumpy start right off the bat last year when starting guard Will Blackwell went down with multiple ankle injuries. Josh Williford was forced to step in before Hebert took over. To illustrate the current depth, Hebert has 114 career knockdown blocks but is expected to be a valuable utility player. The injury bug also found its way to tackle Alex Hurst. Greg Shaw took over before giving way to Chris Faulk. The four starters from the Tigers' Cotton Bowl victory are all back although there is so much competition that changes are sure to take place over the course of an entire season once again. Blackwell, Lonergan and Dworaczyk should be LSU's best offensive linemen. This is shaping up to be one of the better offensive lines in the SEC.


OG Josh Dworaczyk


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Jordan Jefferson-Sr (6-5, 220) Jarrett Lee-Sr (6-3, 225)
Zach Mettenberger-So (6-5, 235)
FB James Stampley-Sr (5-10, 210) J.C. Copeland-So (6-1, 275)
TB Spencer Ware-So (5-11, 225) Alfred Blue-So (6-2, 207)
Michael Ford-So (5-10, 200)
WR Russell Shepard-Jr (6-1, 188) James Wright-So (6-2, 200)
WR Rueben Randle-Jr (6-3, 201) Kadron Boone-So (6-0, 202)
WR Chris Tolliver-Jr (6-1, 190) Jarrett Fobbs-RFr (5-11, 185)
Jakhari Gore-RFr (5-9, 175)
TE Deangelo Peterson-Sr (6-5, 240) Chase Clement-Jr (6-5, 255)
Mitch Joseph-Sr (6-5, 275)
OT Chris Faulk-So (6-6, 316) La'el Collins-Fr (6-4, 290)
OG Will Blackwell-Sr (6-5, 295) Josh Williford-So (6-7, 345)
C P.J. Lonergan-Jr (6-5, 301) T-Bob Hebert-Sr (6-3, 285)
OG Josh Dworaczyk-Sr (6-6, 290) Matt Branch-Jr (6-7, 270)
OT Alex Hurst-Jr (6-6, 332) Greg Shaw-Sr (6-5, 301)
K Drew Alleman-Jr (5-11, 182) ..



On the outside at defensive end the Tigers appear to be stacked. On the inside at defensive tackle are some empty spaces created by the departures of Lazarius Levingston and Drake Nevis. However, don't expect there to be much drop off if any from this persistent front line that has proven the test of time under defensive mind Les Miles and staff. The vast experience on the outside consists of four returnees who have earned their share of starts - Kendrick Adams (11), Lavar Edwards (8), Chancey Aghayere (5) and Sam Montgomery (5). While this may be an experienced bunch, they have yet to prove they can dominate. The best of the group may be Montgomery who was on his way to a solid freshman campaign last fall before injuring his knee. He was held out contact this spring after surgery. In the process former JUCO transfer Kendrick Adams continues to run with the first team, a familiar task that has earned Adams most of his starts. Adams has not generated much behind the line of scrimmage and has yet to show he can be a difference. Lavar Edwards is an athletic type lacking consistency. The LSU faithful has been waiting for his emergence. Throw in Texas prep standout Aghayere and few SEC teams can boast this much depth. At tackle, only Michael Brockers has started a game as he played the third man on the inside rotation a year ago. Josh Downs has been a dependable backup the last two years but his durability makes it questionable as to whether he can withstand 12 games as a starter. U.S. Army HS All-American Ego Ferguson has made a push inside due to the lack of experienced bodies while true frosh Anthony Johnson enrolled early to make sure he got a crack at this rotation. Ferguson, Johnson and Brockers could end up being the top three defensive tackles for the Tigers. Meanwhile, highly touted prep star Chris Davenport has been moved to the offensive line.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis understood that middle backer Kelvin Sheppard would be a monster loss and this spring only reaffirmed how much he will be missed. With Chavis often utilizing nickel and dime packages as a base defense, finding someone to plug the middle and stuff the run from sideline to sideline like Sheppard was capable of achieving makes this a critical area of need. Young Kevin Minter got first shot at filling this role but the lackluster results out of spring showed that LSU still has a major void here. Karnell Hatcher was the starting free safety last year (third on the team in tackles) and has been moved to linebacker for the first time in his life in an effort to plug the gap. Hatcher hopes to follow those tracks of junior Stefoin Francois, who switched from safety to linebacker in the spring a year ago and became LSU’s starting strong side linebacker. Francois gets removed from the lineup when the Tigers go to their nickel/dime package. Ryan Baker is the top playmaker on this front seven. He is the team's returning leader at both creating tackles and sacks. Recruiting success has equaled quality depth here too. The main issue will be finding someone to man the middle.

Despite losing the nation's best cornerback in Jim Thorpe Award winner Patrick Peterson, the SEC's top rated secondary is in good hands. While opponents were trying to look away from throwing towards Peterson, Shreveport native Morris Claiborne snagged five interceptions and earned preseason recognition on the NationalChamps.net 2011 All-America Team. He has shut down capability and is quite worthy of taking the torch from Peterson as the leader in this proven backfield. What makes this easier is the talent surrounding Claiborne. Fellow cornerback Tyrann Mathieu might be the team's most diverse performer. He’s coming off a splendid freshman season and he’s an absolute terror at the nickel position. The Tigers love to use him on blitzes. He had 4.5 sacks last season and he’s a hitting machine, as evidenced by his SEC-leading five forced fumbles. The only question is whether Mathieu will take Peterson's spot as a starting cornerback or will he remain as the nickel back? The 6'3 Tharold Simon will make a push for playing time as well with a solid spring under his belt. Former dual-threat Texas prep QB Ron Brooks also has a shot at starting time with this cornerback group. Senior Brandon Taylor returns at strong safety after recovering from a season-ending foot injury against Alabama last year. His experience will be a much-needed boost while understanding that his backfield is still relatively full of young faces. Of the top nine defensive backs a year ago, five were true freshmen and one was a redshirt freshman. Craig Loston was the No. 1 safety prospect in the country coming out of Houston and is now beginning to show why. He is the starter at free safety while his back up Eric Reid started a few games last season as a true freshman. Reid could have been an every down player for most any school. That is how much talent exists back here.


LB Ryan Baker


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Sam Montgomery-So (6-4, 245) Kendrick Adams-Sr (6-5, 255)
DT Michael Brockers-So (6-6, 300) Josh Downs-Jr (6-1, 278)
DT Ego Ferguson-RFr (6-3, 286) Anthony Johnson-Fr (6-4, 290)
DE Lavar Edwards-Jr (6-5, 265) Chancey Aghayere-Jr (6-4, 268)
OLB Stefoin Francois-Sr (6-1, 215) Barkevious Mingo-So (6-5, 237)
MLB Kevin Minter-So (6-1, 225) Lamin Barrow-So (6-2, 221)
Karnell Hatcher-Sr (6-2, 212)
WLB Ryan Baker-Jr (6-0, 227) Tahj Jones-So (6-2, 205)
CB Morris Claiborne-Jr (6-0, 177) Tharold Simon-So (6-3, 190)
CB Tyrann Mathieu-So (5-9, 180) Ron Brooks-Sr (6-0, 179)
SS Brandon Taylor-Sr (6-0, 195) Eric Reid-So (6-2, 207)
FS Craig Loston-So (6-2, 200) Derrick Bryant-Sr (5-11, 199)
P Brad Wing-RFr (6-3, 175) Drew Alleman-So (5-11, 183)




Not often does LSU need to replace a kicker. In fact Les Miles’ six year tenure has implemented two of the SEC's top performers in Colt David and the recently departed Josh Jasper. Suffice to say, there exists a ton of pressure on incumbent Drew Alleman to take over. Special teams is important for every team, but in Baton Rouge, where points can be a dire need at times, the kicking game has proved to be the difference in many outcomes. Alleman may not be another Jasper, but he does appear to have a slightly stronger leg, which is a bonus for kickoffs. Alleman was three of four on field goal attempts in the spring game. All were relatively chip shots. In the two previous years, Alleman's total playing time consists of seven kickoffs and two punts. Walk-on Brad Wing will take over punting duties. The 21-year old native of Australia has played 15 years of Australian Rules Football before traveling to the States and possesses a strong leg. Patrick Peterson will be missed as a cornerback but his return game is where his departed NFL talents will be evident. Senior corner Ron Brooks and receiver Rueben Randle look like the top two candidates to return kickoffs. Morris Claiborne may also get a few chances while defensive back Tyrann Mathieu is at the head of the list to return punts. Special teams will be the biggest turnover on this depth chart. A new kicker, punter, return man and special teams coach need replaced. A strong case could be made that the success of the special teams was the primary reason LSU won 11 games and finished ranked in the top ten in the country last season. This will be a sure area of concern.