Publisher's Notes: Every weekday until the LSU football team reports for Fall Camp on Sunday, Aug. 4, TSD will unveil another player in our top 50 Tigers for the 2013 season. We arrived at this list by combining individual rankings from TSD's Austin Cooper, Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua. For example, a player who received a No. 1 vote got 50 points, a No. 2 vote got 49 points, and so on. Every player who received votes had his points totaled across all three individual lists, and the result was our final TSD ranking. All players, including incoming signees, were eligible for selection.
No. 27 – LB D.J. Welter
After sitting out all but one game in the 2012 season due to academic ineligibility, D.J. Welter was handed the reins this past spring to the starting middle linebacker spot vacated by Kevin Minter. Welter, a redshirt junior who's played in only eight games while in TigerTown, suddenly has a lot resting on his shoulders. The 6-foot, 226-pound Crowley native currently resides in the middle of a linebacking corps which projects to be among the strongest units on the entire team.
All of that means Welter's grasp on the starting job is as tenuous as any players' is heading into Fall Camp in August. With talented youngsters like Kwon Alexander, Deion Jones and Lamar Louis (No. 29 on TSD's top 50 countdown) waiting in the wings, Welter will have to impress to maintain his stranglehold on the position. Consider for a moment that there are still four linebackers left to be named in our top 50. There will be a lot of competition in the linebacker ranks this fall. It's yet to be seen what that will mean for Welter, but it's certainly a great thing for John Chavis and LSU.
By The Numbers
Welter's highest ranking: 21st
Welter's lowest ranking: 35th
Why this ranking is too high
Welter has only seven career tackles to his name, and the guy's been on campus since 2010. Yes, he's had to sit behind veteran players at the position, but Welter enters this fall with less tackles in an LSU uniform than Alexander, Jones and Louis, guys who just arrived in Baton Rouge last year. On the surface it appears this ranking has more to do with spring 2013 than actual on-field production versus real opposition.
Why this ranking is too low
For all the waiting he's done and all the uncertainty in the fan base, it's Welter who Chavis turned to late in the Chick-fil-A Bowl versus Clemson. And it's Welter who Chavis has given the first crack at Mike linebacker. Clearly one of LSU's top position coaches has a certain level of trust in the player. Welter is also a clear and effective communicator, important for somebody playing middle linebacker, and has the most experience of any of LSU's other options.
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View TSD's Top 50 to date
No. 27 - D.J. Welter
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