BATON ROUGE, La. -- When LSU signed junior college tight end Logan Stokes of Northeast Mississippi Wednesday, it wasn't surprising.
Junior college players have become a trend in the SEC as academic restrictions have made it tougher for players to get into schools initially out of high school and teams look for immediate help from talented players. Players all over junior colleges in Mississippi, Kansas and Texas have been "placed" there by SEC schools who couldn't get them the first time around because of academics, but are willing to wait two years.
And Stokes likely won’t be the last this year. Wide receiver Quantavius Leslie of Hinds CC is an LSU commit, though academic issues kept him from signing on Wednesday. He will likely still be part of the LSU class come February.
Whether or not Leslie or Stokes makes an immediate impact remains to be seen, but here are a few recent juco players who became good players for the Tigers.
1. DT Claude Wroten (Mississippi Delta CC, 2004-05): He formed one of the nation's best defensive tackle tandems with Kyle Williams, getting 12 sacks and 22 tackles for loss in his two LSU seasons before moving on to the NFL. He was second-team all-American and all-SEC his senior season.
2. WR Demetrius Byrd (Pearl River CC, 2007-08): He filled a need for a big-play threat on LSU's 2007 national championship team, leading the team in touchdown catches in his first year out of junior college. He caught 72 passes for 1,134 yards before injuries from an auto accident curtailed a would-be professional career.
3. QB Zach Mettenberger (Butler CC, 2011-): After a year as LSU's third-stringer, Mettenberger took over the starting job this season and passed for 2,489 yards. A former Georgia redshirt freshman who played one year at his junior college, Mettenberger looked like a much more confident, able quarterback in the last third of the season.
4. DE Kendrick Adams (Copiah-Lincoln CC, 2010-11): A solid, two-year starter on teams that reached the BCS national championship game and the Cotton Bowl, Adams had 49 tackles and four sacks. His effectiveness wasn't best measured by statistics. The fact that he started ahead of Barkevious Mingo for most of his senior year speaks volumes.
5. P Derek Helton (Fort Scott CC, 2009-10): A two-year starter, Helton was second in the SEC, averaging 45.7 yards a punt as a senior. He averaged 42.5 yards per punt over two seasons, at the time, the third-best career punting average in school history.