Voorhies shows promise with Tigers

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BATON ROUGE — Devin Voorhies is swiftly adjusting from high school football to life in the Southeastern Conference, competing in a crowded LSU secondary for playing time at safety.

With a full week of fall camp under his belt, Voorhies has shown enough raw athleticism to be one of the six or seven safeties defensive coordinator John Chavis is eying for potential playing time. Competing at a high level at practice, the former 2013 All-Metro Player of the Year has even impressed head coach Les Miles in the process.

“He’s looked really good,” said Miles at the 2014 LSU Media Days. “He’s a big strong kid that can make tackles. He’s getting comfortable back there. I think he’ll eventually be a very talented guy.”

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Eventually is a key word. Voorhies is still learning Chavis’ thick playbook. But the former Wilkinson County safety said he’s making progress, gradually getting more comfortable in the system.

“It took me a little while to adjust to it, but I feel like I’m at the point where I can (play freely) a little more out there now,” Voorhies said.

In the first full pads practice of fall camp, Voorhies was challenged. In a goal line simulation drill, Miles had Voorhies go up against the No. 1 rated high school prospect in 2013 in Leonard Fournette. Miles didn’t deny baptizing Voorhies into SEC-caliber competition.

“Absolutely,” Miles said. “Let’s see what you got, you know? I expected it. I didn’t want to give Leonard a fall-over. I wanted to give him a guy who’s a good player.”

Voorhies stood his ground, though, stopping Fournette and pushing him out of bounds shy of the end zone.

Voorhies, who said he’s gained five-percent more muscle mass, is steadily working hard to pickup the quickness of the game and make himself more imposing physically. After all, he knows the reputation of past LSU defensive backs like Mo Claiborne, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, who earned the school the moniker “Defensive Back University.” Voorhies feels the competition at safety is DBU-worthy.

“(The competition) makes me play harder because DBU has a big role to live up to,” Voorhies said.

Talented but inexperienced, Voorhies understands that there is a learning curve involved with progressing in Chavis’ defense.

Earning a starting position in the SEC right out of high school is a tall order, Voorhies admitted. And even seeing playing time with the athletes on the roster is going to be a steep challenge. But if No. 35 is ever called to contribute, Voorhies will be ready.

“When they call on me, I’ll fill my role,” Voorhies said.