Jalen Mills made an immediate impact for LSU
LSU is 28 days away from the start of fall camp and Geaux247 continues to take a look at the returning veterans to get you to the beginning of camp.
Today, we take a look at sophomore cornerback Jalen Mills .
#28 Jalen Mills
Coming out of High School: The LSU staff places a strong emphasis on seeing prospects compete at camp. And they saw plenty from Jalen Mills when he attended LSU’s July Camp back in 2011.
Prior to getting his LSU offer, Mills considered overtures from Baylor, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, UTEP, Houston, Iowa State, and several other smaller schools.
Once the Tigers offered, he shut everything down and gave Miles and Cooper his verbal commitment on the spot.
Some were surprised that LSU offered at that point considering the 6-foot, 177-pounder was rated the No. 53 cornerback in the country according to the 247Composite, and No. 126 overall in the Lone Star State.
247Sports held Mills in higher regard as he was the No. 34 corner and No. 67 overall in Texas. Still, there were some who questioned what type of player LSU was getting.
Those questions never died down after his senior season where Mills had 26 tackles and intercepted one pass while breaking up six others.
LSU Career: Mills gave the LSU staff and Tiger fans some answers pretty quickly as the true freshman beat out Jalen Collins, who had been in the Tiger program for a year, for the starting corner spot opposite of Tharold Simon.
Simon entered the year billed as one of the top cornerbacks in the SEC, so Mills was going to get picked on early and often.
That was expected.
What wasn’t expected, though, was the fact that Mills turned into LSU’s most dependable corner and Simon was picked on just as much by opposing offenses.
Mills made his share of rookie mistakes. But, all in all, he had a solid freshman campaign with 57 tackles that was good for fourth on the team and second in the defensive backfield. He also picked off a pair of passes.
What we expect to see in 2013: Mills enters the 2013 season as LSU’s veteran cornerback.
The true sophomore was having a terrific spring, but missed the second half with his arm in a sling.
With everything good to go now, Mills looks as if he is ready to have a big year for the Tigers.
“He doesn’t look like a sophomore,” one source told Geaux247. “Last year, he was thrown into the fire and responded. He had his moments where he gave up the big play. But you expect that.
“Now, he’s playing with confidence and playing a lot faster because he knows the scheme. The game has slowed down for him and he’s able to just go out and play like the type of guys we’ve had here in the past.”
Granted the media only got a short glimpse of spring practice, and an even smaller sample of Mills compared to other defensive backs. However, you could see a difference in him.
LSU’s secondary missed Tyrann Mathieu in the 2012 season. Some even say that the defense missed his confidence and swagger more than anything else.
Mills has a long ways to go before he can be lumped into the same category. But, expect to see a little more swagger and that in your face mentality in 2013.
LSU doesn’t need Mills to be a Honey Badger.
But, the Tigers need Mills to be more consistent and more of a leader than Simon was.