Going into the new football season, there is little doubt as to who will be the heart of soul of the Tiger defense in 2006.
That would be senior free safety LaRon Landry.
Landry, who joined the Tiger's starting lineup as a true freshman during the 2003 campaign, has started in 35 consecutive games for LSU, recording 241 tackles, 12.5 sacks and nine interceptions.
His list of awards on the collegiate level include being a third-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection in 2005, a second-team All-SEC selection and SEC Academic Honor Roll member in 2004, and a first-team Freshman All-American, first-team Freshman All-SEC, and second-team All-SEC selection in 2003.
The 6-2, 200-pounder has also recently been named preseason first-team All-American by three different publications and is on the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the Nation's top defensive player.
Coming out of
As a senior at Hahnville, he recorded eight interceptions at safety, while also throwing for 1,639 yards and 16 touchdowns at quarterback en route to earning 5A All-State honors.
During his freshman season at LSU, Landry led the national champion defense with 80 tackles. That season, he made his first collegiate start against Mississippi State, where he recorded 11 tackles and a blocked field goal, and has been a key player in the Tiger defense ever since.
The following year, Landry repeated as the leader by recording 92 tackles and four interceptions. He finished with ten or more tackles in four different games during his sophomore season.
Going into his junior year, Landry
was named to the preseason third-team All American squad, and ranked the fifth
best defensive back in the country by The
Sporting News. With offenses tending to avoid the standout safety that
season, he finished third on the team in tackles with 69, including a season
high 11 tackle performance against
Dearman's Perspective on Landry:
Going into his fourth season as a starter in the LSU secondary, LeRon Landry should be the heart of a very talented defense in 2006. He is being heavily hyped this preseason with spots on the Nagurski Trophy watch list and various All-American teams, and his performance under that same spotlight last season prove he is capable of rising to the occasion.
One question regarding Landry in 2006 is if offenses will shy away from him with their attack, but the return of other talented players in Jessie Daniels and Chevis Jackson to the secondary could make passing against LSU difficult anywhere. With these three returning and solid play by first-year projected starter Jonathan Zenon at cornerback, the Tigers could have one of SEC's top pass defenses this season.
There will be a lot oh hype regarding LaRon this season as he has already been tabbed by Mel Kiper, Jr., as a virtual lock to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, barring injury.
Based on what LaRon has done the past three years, Kiper could be right in his assessment.