Three LSU football players to watch vs Florida State

Most first-week performances for teams with big aspirations should generally be taken with a grain of salt.

Those who follow college football or sports in general know that one of the fundamental truths in team sports is how good teams improve over the course of a season. LSU has high expectations internally this year and while those on the outside may not know what’s to come, there is an understanding of who could potentially break through as top contributors.

Throughout the season, we’ll be highlighting three players per week that fans should be paying close attention to on the field. With the Tigers’ first game against Florida State just days away, here are three whose impact this season will go far beyond the first game.

Malik Nabers (WR)

The defenses will be key in Kayshon Boutte every play and while the Tigers’ No. 7 is sure to have another breakout season, health permitting, the question is which players will benefit the most. Sunday against Florida State is a prime-time opportunity for Nabers to take his magnificent fall camp and show the country what his true potential is in this offense.

Nabers has consistently been the most impressive player during fall training, regardless of position. His road running, speed, change of direction and catching ability have really grown by leaps and bounds this offseason and he is a prime candidate to break out in this conference.

Coach brian kelly told reporters Monday that as many as seven or eight catchers could be ruled out against the Seminoles, a luxury not many other teams in the country have the ability to afford.

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“We’re going to dig into that rotation,” Kelly said. “To have Jack Beck coming back and being able to handle his workload has really given us the kind of flexibility we needed. We can now move between the guys to get proper matchups. It gives us a good rotation to keep the guys fresh.”

LSU will have a hard time getting Boutte off the field, and the way Nabers has performed in camp, he’s up to the task in terms of staying on the field and taking advantage of potential one-on-one defensive matchups.

Will Campbell (OL)

Since the early days of fall training camp, Campbell’s name has been in the rarefied air in terms of performance and comparison to offensive line legends of the past in Baton Rouge. The Florida State game marks the first opportunity for the true freshman to herald himself as a mainstay of this offense for years to come.

He’s been extremely consistent in fall camp after earning the left tackle job with equally impressive consistency in the spring. Having that spot solidified has allowed this offensive team to deeply evaluate and test a number of combinations at the rest of the positions as a result.

Multiple times this fall, video has surfaced of Campbell more than defending himself against the elite passing presence of BJ Ojulari, Ali Gaye, Saivion-Jones and others. He is extremely well polished as a player, but the strength of this Florida State defense is up front with the d line. It will be a great test for the true freshman to protect the blind side of Daniels or Nussmeier.

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Mason Smith (DL)

The biggest advantage LSU could have defensively is up front with Smith on the interior acting as a potential wrecking ball for an already injured Florida State offensive line. The Seminoles were a point short of their third- and fourth-string centers in a big week zero win over Duquesne.

There were some struggles that the offensive line gave up on in terms of pressure and while a team like Duquesne couldn’t capitalize on that success through a poor tackle, the expectation is that LSU’s forward seven should have no such issues in that department. Smith is another one of those standout candidates after a freshman season that saw him play multiple positions and suffer his fair share of injuries as well.

Now that you are more prepared to move along the defensive line as jamar cain Y matt house If he sees fit, there will be an exploitation of fighting on all front lines. Coach brian kelly has been impressed with his development this offseason, saying Smith hasn’t let his talents get in the way of improving technique and film study.

Applying pressure on the quarterback jordan travis and getting him to beat LSU through the air will be the goal. Smith will be a huge component in not only applying that pressure inside, but also getting into the backfield and disrupting the running game.

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