In advance of the Tigers kicking off Fall Camp, TSD's Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua will answer a question a day this week on the 2013 squad.
Today's Question: Which Class of 2012 or 2013 linebacker has the most productive season?
BEN LOVE: The slam-dunk, no-doubt answer should be Kwon Alexander, but there's one big "if" attached that causes some hesitation with the Class of 2012 signee. That "if" is the injury bug, and it's something Alexander hasn't been able to shake over the last two and a half years of his life. As a senior in Oxford, Ala., Alexander missed most of the 2011 season with a knee injury. Then, after impressively working his way up to a starting role as a true freshman, he suffered a broken ankle against Florida which sidelined him for the remainder of his 2012 season in purple and gold.
Alexander did work out with the team this spring and, coming into Fall Camp, appears 100 percent and ready to go. A healthy Kwon will be nearly impossible to keep off the field for John Chavis. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Alexander has the size, speed and quickness to play and excel in the SEC. He lined up with the second team during spring ball, but it would be surprising if Alexander didn't move into the starting lineup at outside ‘backer sometime in the next month. Alexander is my selection to be the next emerging star in LSU's defense, but he will have to show he can stay on the field for an entire season.
HUNTER PANIAGUA: Kendell Beckwith was the jewel of the 2013 class, a major recruiting victory over Alabama for one of the state's most promising prospects. While the 2012 class of linebackers was another level of elite, Beckwith has the ability to compete with those players for immediate playing time. Seeing Beckwith a couple weeks ago, he already seems bigger and more chiseled than he did in high school. Assuming his speed and power have increased as well, he'll bring another dimension to the position that John Chavis should love to play with.
Chavis has shown tremendous amounts of creativity in using his linebackers, and Beckwith can find a role as a standing pass rusher that defenses will have trouble accounting for. Getting Beckwith on the field early would also do well for his progression. Ben's heard that Beckwith may be the MIKE LB of the future, and getting him SEC-ready as a freshman would be beneficial down the line. Beckwith has all the talent to play in Year 1 as long as he has developed the finer details of the position to compliment his game. But based on ability alone, he has the potential to make an immediate impact.