Today we hit the 39 day mark until toe meets leather, and we are two weeks away from the first week in August, when most teams report for fall camp. We keep the countdown moving for our Rant Sports, SEC 50 Players in 50 Days countdown by taking a look at one of the best cornerbacks in the SEC and the country, Tharold Simon of the LSU Tigers.
Tharold Simon, DB, LSU:
LSU won em all in 2011, except the only game that mattered to people across the country. They failed to deliver on what was an amazing season. An SEC title made it to the trophy case, but the BCS crystal ball slipped through the cracks. Last year, we saw a Tiger team that dominated opponents, a defense that completely stifled all comers and an offense, at times, that could move the ball at will. Where was all this at on January 9, 2012? It was no where to be found. The Tigers walked into a buzz saw and were completely embarrassed by the Alabama Crimson Tide, who collected their second BCS Title in three years.
Onward to 2012, and LSU returns a ton of playmakers on both sides of the ball. This years version of the Tiger defense should again, at least on paper, be able to hold opponents in check until first year starting quarterback, Zac Mettenberger can get up to speed. Defensive coordinator John Chavis has one of the best secondaries in the country and junior quarterback Tharold Simon will be counted on to be a lock down presence.
If not for the emergence of Tyrann Mathieu last season, Tharold Simon would have seen a lot more playing time. Simon did break up a team best 10 passes and had two interceptions as well. LSU was definitely at their best with Simon and Claiborne on the corners and “The Honey Badger” flying off the end from the nickel back position.
New year, new responsibilities, as Simon will be the guy asked to take on the opposing teams best receiver. Over his career, Simon has played in 21 games recording 51 tackles, 13 pass breakups and three interceptions. He is widely regarded as one of the best corners in the SEC. In the spring, Simon was outstanding, as he was given the “Most Improved” award for his hard work and leadership. The overall play and lock down ability of Tharold Simon will go a long way into LSU winning another SEC Title and possibly playing for it all in 2012.