BATON ROUGE -- LSU has picked up another lofty preseason ranking as The Sporting News has tabbed the Tigers as its No. 2 preseason pick heading into the 2007 season.
The Tigers, who open their third season under Les Miles on Thursday, Aug. 30 against Mississippi State in Starkville, has also been ranked No. 2 in Blue Ribbon Yearbook’s preseason poll.
LSU returns 15 starters and 46 letterwinners from last year’s squad that posted an 11-2 overall mark, beat Notre Dame, 41-14, in the Sugar Bowl, and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the nation.
The Sporting News picked Southern Cal as its top-ranked team, with LSU, Michigan, West Virginia and Florida rounding out the top five. Other LSU opponents in the top 25 include Virginia Tech at No. 7 and Auburn at No. 16.
In addition to its preseason ranking, The Sporting News has rated LSU’s defensive line as the best in college football and its linebackers as the nation’s fifth-ranked unit. LSU returns three starters from its defensive front, including 2006 All-America Glenn Dorsey and all-conference pick Tyson Jackson.
On LSU’s defensive line, The Sporting News writes, “beware LSU’s defensive line. It’s good. No, wait: It’s great. And this band of brothers is a major reason many on the Bayou are thinking national championship.”
Individually, senior Will Arnold is rated by the magazine as the nation’s best offensive guard, while Dorsey has been picked as the top defensive tackle in college football. Both players are listed on The Sporting News’ Preseason All-America team.
The magazine quotes an unnamed SEC coach as saying of Dorsey, “him staying is big. He’s a beast inside.”
The only other Tiger listed among the top 10 players at his position by the publication is Ali Highsmith, who is ranked as the nation’s fifth-best outside linebacker.
The Sporting News also picked nine “Gotta See Games” from across the nation during the 2007 season and LSU has three of its contests on the list: LSU against Virginia Tech on Sept. 8; LSU vs. Florida on Oct. 6 and LSU at Alabama on Nov. 3.