LSU has two players in my Top 50, and Alabama has seven players in my Top 50. … But LSU’s squad is loaded with top ranked pro talent who are either freshman or sophomores.
Saturday's LSU-Alabama game marked the biggest array of potential pro talent on one field at one time at the college level since the 2005 National Championship game when the Texas Longhorns upset the USC Trojans. That game featured Reggie Bush in his final game as a collegiate player, and it also put Texas quarterback Vince Young on a higher plateau for the pro game when he completed 30 of his 40 passes for 267 yards and rushed for 200 yards on 19 carries and scored 3 touchdowns. In that game, USC and Texas combined for 66 players who eventually were either drafted into the NFL or signed as undrafted free agents. You will see similar numbers come out of that LSU-Alabama contest over the next three to four years.
LSU is a very young football team, and the Tigers are actually built to play again for a national championship in 2012, if they can get consistent play from Zach Mettenberger at quarterback. In this game for the 2012 NFL draft Alabama had six players in halfback Trent Richardson, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, strong safety Mark Barron, free safety Robert Lester and inside linebacker Donta’ Hightower, rated in my top 42 players who are either seniors or junior eligible for next spring’s draft.
This season the guy I firmly believe will be the pacesetter is Rueben Randle. This summer I did an article detailing the workouts at Sonic Boom Training for Randle under the tutelage of workout guru Wyatt Harris. Harris explained that Randle, who had played wide receiver as a high school sophomore and junior before being moved to quarterback as a senior, was on the verge of being a top-flight wide receiver at the college level. “We just worked the fundamental part of playing wide receiver,” said Harris, a former wide receiver at the college and pro level. “Rueben needed to learn how to get out of his cuts and breaks cleaner and quicker, and he also worked on his adjustment skills with the ball in flight. He has excellent size, he is deceptively fast, and he has tremendous run-after-catch skills. He didn’t have to come here and fine tune his skills, but he knew it was important to take his game to another level. The young man is a very hard worker, and he has a lot of pride in his work. He is going to explode onto the college scene this season.” Harris made those remarks for a column I did in late July.
This season Randle leads the team in receptions with 33 for 638 yards, averaging 19.3 yards per catch and he has scored 7 touchdowns. What is interesting is that Harris also worked out in the summer with Alabama junior cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.