The New Orleans native was an instant contributor in 2011, catching 41 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns during his true freshman campaign. He also had an 8.6-yard average on punt returns and a 24-yard average on kick returns. With last year’s leading wideout Rueben Randle now in the NFL, Beckham will be the top target for new quarterback Zach Mettenberger in 2012.
On a team with as much talent as LSU, it’s rare to see a punter among the top players on the roster. However Wing’s accomplishments during his All-America season of 2011 were incredible. He averaged 44.4 yards on 59 punts, with 20 of them over 50 yards. The Australia native also placed 27 punts inside the 20-yard line and earned SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors twice last season.
With first-round pick Morris Claiborne now in the NFL, Simon will have the opportunity to become LSU’s next elite cover corner. The Eunice native had 42 tackles last season, along with two interceptions, 10 pass breakups and a forced fumble. Simon will team with returning superlatives Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid to form one of the top secondaries in the country in 2012.
He teamed with Michael Brockers to form an outstanding inside duo last season, and Logan will be expected to lead the interior of the defensive line in 2012. As a sophomore, he totaled 57 tackles and three sacks. The Red River product was the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week against Mississippi State after making five tackles, with three of those behind the line of scrimmage, in the 19-6 road victory.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the potential of the talented junior from Slidell. Faulk settled into his critical role at left tackle last year, and he should be one of the country’s top blockers in 2012. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Faulk was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week last year against Tennessee after the Tigers totaled 237 rushing yards against the Vols.
The hard-hitting safety tied with Tyrann Mathieu for the team-high in tackles with 76. Reid also forced two fumbles, grabbed two interceptions and recovered another fumble during a productive sophomore season. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after a memorable performance at Alabama, where Reid compiled six tackles, a forced fumble and a critical fourth-quarter interception in LSU’s 9-6 win.
The West Monroe product became a serious pass-rushing threat in 2011, compiling eight sacks and 11 quarterback hurries. Mingo had 46 total tackles, with a team-high 15 behind the line of scrimmage. He was especially effective late last year in big wins against Arkansas and Georgia, and pass rushing tandem of Mingo and Sam Montgomery may be the best duo in the nation.
The Honey Badger was simply one of the most exciting playmakers that college football has seen in a while during the 2011 campaign. He tied for the team-high in tackles with 76, while also compiling six forced fumbles, two interceptions and five fumble recoveries — returning two for touchdowns. Mathieu also averaged 15.6 yards per punt return while taking two of those for scores. Look for more big plays in 2012.
The 6-foot-6, 340-pound right tackle is an absolute force for the vaunted LSU running game. He helped pave the way for three different running backs to top the 500-yard mark last season. Hurst was recognized as first-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches in 2011, and he will be a top All-America candidate as a senior. Hurst and Chris Faulk should form the best tackle duo in the nation this season.
The South Carolina native was named first-team All-SEC as a sophomore last season, and he will be one of the top players in the country in 2012. Montgomery made 49 tackles (with 13.5 for loss) a year ago and led the Tigers with nine sacks. The junior pass rusher and fellow end Barkevious Mingo will make life very difficult for SEC quarterbacks this season.
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