Eligibility Snapshot: Defense

With another academic calendar year complete, it's time to take a look at how LSU's roster is shaping up for 2013 and beyond. TSD's Ben Love updates the eligibility of the Tiger defense.

Now that exams are final, the spring semester has come to a close for LSU.

With that in mind, and before attrition inevitably strikes, here's a look at where the Tiger football team currently stands with respect to total position numbers and eligibility on defense for 2013.

Note: "RS" after a player's name denotes redshirt.

Defensive Ends (10 total)

Seniors: 0
Juniors: 3 (Jordan Allen – RS, Justin Maclin – RS, Jermauria Rasco)
Sophomores: 2 (Ronnie Feist, Danielle Hunter)
Freshmen: 5 (Tashawn Bower, Frank Herron, Melvin Jones, Lewis Neal, M.J. Patterson)

- I've taken a little bit of liberty here by including freshman Melvin Jones in the mix at defensive end. He was originally recruited as a middle linebacker, but Jones' size points toward him ending up on the defensive line. Jones could even be at tackle before it's all said and done, but for now I'll include him at end, where there already four other incoming players. The Tigers are set up very well for the future at end, although Maclin appears to be an attrition candidate on the surface and Feist has only just started his transition from outside ‘backer to end.

Defensive Tackles (7 total)

Seniors: 0
Juniors: 2 (Ego Ferguson – RS, Anthony Johnson)
Sophomores: 2 (Mickey Johnson – RS, Quentin Thomas – RS)
Freshmen: 3 (Maquedius Bain, Greg Gilmore, Christian Lacouture)

- Just like at defensive end, there are no seniors on the interior of the line either. Ferguson is entering his fourth year with the program and would seem to be a lock to be around for his fifth season in 2014. The same cannot be said for Anthony Johnson, who is a strong candidate to leave following his junior campaign this fall. That makes defensive tackle an important recruiting area for 2014, even though the staff did bring in three players in 2013. It should also be noted that LaCouture is cross-training at both end and tackle, so he gives Brick Haley some versatility moving forward.

Outside Linebackers (7 total)

Seniors: 2 (Lamin Barrow – RS, Tahj Jones – RS)
Juniors: 0
Sophomores: 2 (Kwon Alexander, Deion Jones)
Freshmen: 3 (Kendell Beckwith, Lorenzo Phillips – RS, Duke Riley)

- There are a few question marks in this group that could cause the seven total number above to fluctuate. Beckwith has the possibility of moving down to defensive end while Riley could find himself at strong safety, given the scarcity at that position. But this certainly is an impressive bunch, with experienced talent available for 2013 in Barrow and Jones and several more years of high upside from current sophomores Alexander and Jones. The Tigers already have a commitment from Donnie Alexander in 2014, but, since he too could play strong safety, it wouldn't be surprising if one more OLB was targeted for this class.

Middle Linebackers (3 total)

Seniors: 0
Juniors: 1 (D.J. Welter – RS)
Sophomores: 1 (Lamar Louis)
Freshmen: 1 (Trey Granier – RS)

- John Chavis' Mike ‘backers are staggered nicely by class, but there is a need to add one or two more quality MLBs in this 2014 crop. That's a big part of the reason LSU is showing a ton of interest in both Clifton Garrett and Kenny Young. It is also possible, as I've mentioned before, that Granier moves to fullback, meaning the numbers could be even thinner at the position. Louis is a more-than-serviceable player, but I feel strongly that LSU will look to find its next Kevin Minter or Kelvin Sheppard. The Tigers need a young difference-maker at the position.

Cornerbacks (9 total)

Seniors: 0
Juniors: 0
Sophomores: 2 (Jalen Collins – RS, Jalen Mills)
Freshmen: 7 (Jeryl Brazil, Kavahra Holmes – RS, Rickey Jefferson, Derrick Raymond – RS, Rashard Robinson, Dwayne Thomas – RS, Tre'Davious White)

- LSU returns only two experienced players at cornerback, and they're both sophomores. Almost hard to believe that's even possible. But the Tigers do have a lot of freshmen to throw against the wall to see who sticks. There is still some uncertainty as to Jefferson's situation, and it is always possible that one of these young guys gets a try at safety. However, as things currently stand, LSU just has a lot of unproven talent it will have to coach up and watch develop for the future. It would stand to reason that down the road, at least one of the trio of Holmes, Raymond and Thomas could be an attrition candidate.

Safeties (5 total)

Seniors: 1 (Craig Loston – RS)
Juniors: 1 (Ronald Martin)
Sophomores: 3 (Micah Eugene – RS, Jerqwinick Sandolph, Corey Thompson)
Freshmen: 0

- By my tally, safety is the only position unit on defense which has no freshmen in 2013. That, coupled with Loston having only one year remaining, means the Tigers will be hitting the recruiting trail hard in 2014 and 2015 for instant-impact safeties. The good news for LSU is, while it is securing the safeties of the future, Sandolph and Thompson have a lot of size and talent to use with three years left apiece.


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