The Great Scholarship Quandary of 2011


We're just a hair inside a month until the team reports to campus (August 3rd). Fortunately, it's been an off-season with very little tumultuous activity *knocks on wood vigorously*. Even still, there's still one more obstacle to clear before we can actually begin looking to the fall with true clarity: the Scholarship Quandary. By this point, most everyone is aware that we're over the limit (the horror! the horror! if only we were so noble, like some of those upstanding schools from the Midwest which start and end in vowels), so let's take a look at how the roster breaks out, who some potential defections could be, and perhaps some incoming recruits that may not qualify. Here's a breakdown done by our friends at Saturday Night Slant, but I've chosen to break it out on my own, which rounds out a bit differently. More, after the jump.

I'm breaking the roster down by position. I've tried to organize it as coherently by position as possible (going off of how players were being used in the Spring). I'll also offer some thoughts on our current standing at each position as well as my thoughts on who could be leaving from each spot. Potential attrition candidates will be denoted with italics and potential qualifying risks will be denoted with bold.

note: Any discussion of potential attrition candidates is purely speculative. I have no inside information or knowledge of the players nor their future with the program.

QB

Jordan Jefferson - SR. (1)
Jarrett Lee - RS SR. (2)
Zach Mettenberger - RS SO. (3)
Stephen Rivers - FR. (4)
Jerrard Randall - FR. (5)

In the span of a year LSU went from QB quandary to QB boon. The severe lack of depth at the position for the last three years is likely why Miles was willing to take the risk on Randall. With three underclassmen on the roster, LSU is in great shape at the position and will likely add another in the 2012 signing class.

I don't see anyone leaving from this group. I do feel as if Randall's eligibility is up in the air, but others may be able to confirm differently.

RB

Alfred Blue - SO. (6)
Spencer Ware - SO. (7)
Kenny Hilliard - FR. (8)
Michael Ford - SO. (9)
Terrance Magee - FR. (10)
Jakhari Gore - RS FR. (11)
Kellen Theriot - JR. (12)
J.C. Copeland - SO. (13)

What's new? The RB position is as loaded as ever at LSU. This is becoming redundant.

Kellen Theriot is on the obvious "attrition watchlist." He's unfortunately battled injuries throughout his time at LSU and has yet to make an impact at any position. With Copeland having the FB position locked down and seemingly no openings at LB, Theriot seems like one who could find himself on medical hardship this Fall.

WR

Rueben Randle - JR. (14)
Jarrett Fobbs - RS FR. (15)
Russell Shepard - JR. (16)
Armand Williams - RS FR. (17)
James Wright - SO. (18)
Kadron Boone - SO. (19)
Odell Beckham JR. - FR. (20)
Jarvis Landry - FR. (21)
Paul Turner - FR. (22)
Alonzo Lewis - FR. (23)

We are extremely young and deep at WR after being a bit of a worry spot late into the recruiting process late last season.

I don't see any departures here, but the eligibility of Alonzo Lewis is looming. Perhaps he is now qualified, but last I heard it was up in the air.

TE

Travis Dickson - RS FR. (24)
Tyler Edwards - JR. (25)
Mitch Joseph - SR. (26)
Nic Jacobs - RS Fr. (27)
Chase Clement - JR. (28)
DeAngelo Peterson - SR. (29)
Alex Russian - SR. (30)

Nothing spectacular here, but a solid group of guys with some upside potential left in Clement (and Peterson if he can raise his mental game). Lack a true difference maker.

Russian was recruited to be a long snapper. He's now jobless, and he's made little other impact. From all accounts, he's a great teammate, but I'd rank him near the top of obvious attrition candidates. He's at the bottom of the depth chart for TE and the job he was recruited for is being filled admirably by another player. The strange aspect is that he's a Senior, so who knows.

OL

Jonah Austin - FR. (31)
La'El Collins - FR. (32)
Trai Turner - FR. (33)
Corey White - FR. (34)
Evan Washington - RS FR. (35)
Alex Hurst - JR. (36)
Greg Shaw - SR. (37)
Chris Faulk - SO. (38)
Josh Williford - SO. (39)
Matt Branch - JR. (40)
T-Bob Hebert - SR. (41)
Will Blackwell - SR. (42)
Josh Dworaczyk - SR. (43)
P.J. Lonergan - JR. (44)
Chris Davenport - SO. (45)
Cameron Fordham - RS Fr. (46)*

Four incoming freshman with gobs of talent really load this group up. Departures next season will set the group back a bit, but there are arguably more talented guys waiting in the wings than will be starting in 2011.

Some decent attrition candidates here. Greg Shaw is an odd one in that he's a senior. By that same token, he's never really made an impact, and in a chance to seize playing time last season, he was passed up by younger, better players. At one point in time, Shaw seemed on his way to being a solid starter, now I'm wondering if he'll be on the squad next season. Matt Branch is a JR. converted TE who has just never transitioned well. He's failed to crack the two deep and has been passed by younger, better players. He's another I would not be surprised to see elsewhere.

Finally, Chris Davenport is a name you don't want to put on the list, but it's hard to ignore. Davenport has never amounted to his recruiting hype and after two seasons of trying the DL, he's now being worked along the OL (where many people thought he belonged all along). This could turn into a Carnell Stewart type of situation where he turns into a very successful OT in his final year after being a ballyhooed DL recruit. Or, Davenport may not be on the team going forward. Neither would totally shock me.

*Cameron Fordham I consider a special case. Most everyone I read says he will, 100% be on scholarship this season. I'm up in the air on this one. Fordham is a bit of a legacy recruit (great, great kid), who is a project at center. Will he get his scholarship? Or continue to be a walk-on? I lean toward walk-on....

DL

Ego Ferguson - RS FR. (47)
Freak Johnson - FR. (48)
Josh Downs - JR. (49)
Michael Brockers - RS SO. (50)
Bennie Logan - RS SO. (51)
Lavar Edwards - JR. (52)
Ken Adams - SR. (53)
Jordan Allen - RS FR. (54)
Sam Montgomery - RS SO. (55)
Barkevious Mingo - RS SO. (56)
Chancey Aghayere - JR. (57)
Justin Maclin - FR. (58)
Jermauria Rasco - FR. (59)
Quentin Thomas - FR. (60)
Mickey Johnson - FR. (61)

Nice balance of youth and experience and a lot of ready bodies here. Freak Johnson has the makings of the star, and hopefully Sam Montgomery can rebound to near pre-injury form.

Josh Downs is a name that may surprise some of you, seeing as how he's been a prime contributor (when healthy) the past two seasons. Therein lies the major issue *when healthy*. I don't foresee this happening, but Downs repeated injuries could push the staff into asking him to consider other options, like a medical hardship.

Quentin Thomas and Mickey Johnson are two more freshman qualifying risks that you want to keep your eye on. If those two fail to get in, that takes the numbers down.

LB

Ryan Baker - SR. (62)
Stefoin Francois - SR. (63)
Karnell Hatcher - SR. (64)
D.J. Welter - RS FR. (65)
Josh Johns - SO. (66)
Kevin Minter - SO. (67)
Luke Muncie - SO. (68)
Lamin Barrow - RS SO. (69)
Tahj Jones - RS SO. (70)
Trevon Randle - FR. (71)

Our youngest and weakest position. However, I will offer the caveat that they are coached by arguably the best LB coach in the country. With the lack of depth here already, I'd be shocked if any of them left.

DB

Tharold Simon - SO. (72)
Ronnie Vinson - SO. (73)
Tyrann Mathieu - SO. (74)
Morris Claiborne - JR. (75)
Ryan St. Julien - JR. (76)
David Jenkins - FR. (77)
Ron Brooks - SR. (78)
Brandon Taylor - SR. (79)
Sam Gibson - RS FR. (80)
Derrick Bryant - SR. (81)
Rockey Duplessis - SO. (82)
Jalen Collins - FR. (83)
Micah Eugene - FR. (84)
Ronald Martin - FR. (85)
Craig Loston - SO. (86)
Eric Reid - SO. (87)

Loaded as ever in the defensive backfield.

Ryan St. Julien is purely a ST player that has never made a significant impact at LSU. I'd put him up near the top of potential attrition candidates. Derrick Bryant seemed to emerge into a role early last season, but his P.T. shriveled as the season wore on. Though he's a senior, I wouldn't be entirely shocked to see him leave. Cannot see any of the others leaving.

K/P

James Hairston - FR. (88)
Brad Wing - RS FR. (89)

Two young, talented kickers.

That puts us at six over the limit (I'm taking the cautious route here, acknowledging the self-imposed two-scholarship reduction, though I'm not sure exactly how that will play out). Of everything I've mentioned above my guesses are that Fordham won't be on scholarship, one or two of the freshman won't qualify and a couple of the guys will take medical hardships (Kellen Theriot being the main candidate), which will get us right into the 83 we need. All in all, the roster is in pretty healthy shape, otherwise.

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