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May 23, 2011

LSU's 2011 Class - Who will be LSU's Impact Freshmen this Year?

LSU can expect to have freshmen that have an immediate impact on the football field this year as a result of a strong 2011 recruiting class.  The three major recruiting analysis sites Rivals, Scout, and ESPN rank LSU's 2011 recruiting class as #6, #9, and #10 respectively.    So who are the incoming freshmen players that may see playing time in the monumental clash of the Titans between LSU and Oregon September 3 in Dallas Cowboys Stadium?

LSU Impact Freshmen
If you are the kind of person that likes to see and sift through the data, here are links to LSU's 2011 recruiting class from, and

The consensus on which freshmen are most capable of seeing the playing field early includes:  Defensive Tackle Anthony Johnson (6'4", 298lbs),  Offensive Tackle La'El Collins (6' 5", 285lbs), Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry (5'11", 190lbs) and Running Back Kenny Hilliard (6', 218lbs).

Transfer sophomore, but new to LSU, Quarterback Zach Mettenberger (6'5", 245lbs) may be the new Tiger most ready to start.  Mettenberger was a Georgia recruit that would probably be starting for the Georgia Bulldogs had he not stupid move in a bar his freshman year.  After parting ways with Georgia, Mettenberger managed to lead Butler Community College to a second place finish in the Junior College National Championship.  The previous year Auburn's Cameron Newton lead Blinn Junior College to the Junior College National Championship.  Newton won the year he played in the J.C. NC. Mettenberger's team finished 2nd, losing the J.C. N.C.  Still, Zach Mettenberger is a fairly skilled quarterback who may get some playing time at LSU.  Strangely enough LSU has one other true freshmen Quarterback, Jerrard Randall, that ranked above Mettenberger.  The other incoming freshman Quarterback is Phillip Rivers' younger brother Stephen.  According to the Rivers' brothers high school coach, Stephen is a bit ahead skill-wise of where older brother Phillip was at the end of his senior season.  It may all be moot because to this point Mettenberger is listed as LSU's third string QB even though he managed to throw a beautiful 60yard touch down pass in the Spring Game.  Randall and Rivers may be candidates for redshirts this year.

Defensive Tackle Anthony Johnson enrolled at LSU early, participated in Spring practices, and has impressed everyone watching so much that he now has earned the nickname "Freak".  Johnson has the size, strength, speed and moves to start in the SEC which pretty much means that if it were allowed, he could walk on to many NFL teams and earn a living playing Defensive Tackle.

Kenny Hilliard also took part in Spring practices and looked every bit as good as his Uncle: LSU great and long time Saints running back Dalton Hilliard.  Kenny Hilliard missed the Spring game to take care of some more important "personal business".  Add that to the fact that LSU is deep in backfield talent and Hilliard may be hard pressed to see much playing time this year.  But, should he get a carry or two you can expect exciting things to happen.

Jarvis Landry and La El Collins are both consensus 5-star players at there respective positions. Collins is considered the #2 Offensive Tackle by Rivals and Scout and the #3 Offensive Tackle by ESPN in the 2011 recruiting class.   Three other Offensive linemen that should make a huge impact in the future success of LSU's line are Rivals 4-star OL Trai Turner (6'5" 340lbs), Rivals 4-star OL Corey White (6'5", 280lbs), and Rivals 3-star OL Jonah Austin (6'7", 305lbs).  These three guys could see some playing time this year under special circumstances but, I suspect that they may be redshirt prospects that will strength condition like crazy with coach Moffitt and establish a solid GPA this year.

Jarvis Landry is considered the #3 Wide Receiver by ESPN and the #4 Wide Reciever by Rivals and Scout in the 2011 recruiting class.  Collins is more likely to play early than Landry.  LSU had one Offensive Tackle spot to fill after Joseph Barksdale was drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders.  Landry may be so awesome that he plays early and often but, LSU is loaded at Wide Receiver.  Great scouting reports and a stellar High School Army All-American performance point to Landry being an extremely talented Wide Receiver so, he may get in the game.      

Two other guys that may be impact players as freshmen are Wide Receiver Odell Beckham and Defensive Tackle Mickey Johnson.  Beckham was a star at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans.  Newman has had some real success with developing a strong passing game over the year.  Of course the fact that both Peyton and Eli Manning played for Newman didn't hurt that reputation.  Beckham is a strong Wide Receiver and the son of a very good LSU Wide Receiver.  He ought to end up doing well at LSU but, maybe not in the season opener.

Mickey Johnson is an interesting freshman because he has some stats that jump out at you and scream DEFENSIVE TACKLE!  Johonson is 6'1" and 310lbs. - low and heavy.  Johnson also is the 2011 Rivals #2 strongest Defensive Tackle.  According to Rivals, Johnson bench presses 450lbs and Squats 700lbs.  Johnson's size and strength should help him do well in the interior line.

On teams the caliber of LSU,  freshmen often have to wait until very talented upper class men move on to the NFL but, sometimes, these teams recruit such talented freshmen that they have to play them early and often. We will see some outstanding impact freshmen Sept. 3rd in Cowboys Stadium.  

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