LSU needs a big year out of Micah Eugene
LSU is 27 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 defensive back Micah Eugene .
#34 Micah Eugene
Coming out of High School: Halfway through his senior campaign at Acadiana High School in Scott, La., Micah Eugene could only report offers from the junior college circuit.
All of that changed in a matter of one week as coaches saw the four-star safety in action in the Superdome as the Wreckin’ Rams defeated West Monroe for the LHSAA Class 5A State Championship.
Two days following the big win, USC extended a scholarship offer. On that same day, former LSU secondary coach Ron Cooper and Alabama running backs coach Burton Burns stopped by Acadiana to get a look at the one thing that kept schools from offering – Eugene’s transcripts.
What Cooper and Burns saw was proof that the talented player had gone from having very little chance of qualifying academically to having a better than average shot after a strong first half of his senior year.
Eugene took an unofficial visit to LSU five days later and was officially offered by Les Miles. After taking all of a few seconds to ponder the offer, LSU landed a verbal pledge from the standout athlete.
Alabama offered shortly after he made his decision, but the Crimson Tide never could secure a visit in the month of January.
As a senior, Eugene racked up 127 tackles, picked off two passes, and forced five fumbles. He rushed for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in Acadiana’s veer offense.
LSU Career: Eugene did not get on the field as a true freshman, and his playing time would have been more limited in 2012 if not for the dismissal of Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Mathieu was out of the picture, John Chavis turned to Eugene to fill his role of rushing the passer off the edge when the Tigers went to their Mustang package and dime look.
Eugene had success early on last season as he collected three sacks in the first four games, including a pair in the win over Auburn. Over the final nine contests, though, he was only credited with half a sack in the bowl loss to Clemson.
Too often, the story over those final nine games was Eugene was a tad bit late in getting to the quarterback as he had just one quarterback hurry over that span.
What we expect to see in 2013: LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond cross-trained Eugene at cornerback and safety, and he was recognized as one of 10 veterans who made the most improvement during spring drills.
With Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins missing the spring game with minor injuries, Eugene ran with the first team at corner. He made a pair of tackles and broke up one pass, but also showed that he still has a lot of work to do in coverage.
Eugene is much better suited for playing closer to the line where he can use his physical style of play at getting after the quarterback and playing the run.
There were times when he was MIA last season. But that is understandable when you consider he was a redshirt freshman and the way he was thrown into the fire unexpectedly.
Something else that plagued him according to sources is he was trying to replace Mathieu’s big-play ability rather than playing his own game. He tried to force things a little too much and as a result he sometimes neglected his responsibilities and containment.
Eugene has the speed and explosiveness to be effective in that role and he will be an important piece to the puzzle as Chavis will need to be a little creative with his blitz packages while his young defensive line comes of age.