2002 Football Preview: Defensive Line

We move our preview of the 2002 LSU football team over to the defense. Today's breakdown takes a look at the personnel on the defensive line.

DE Jarvus Ryes

48 Jarvis Ryes

6-3       243

Soph.   Sqd.

Loreauville            Loreauville HS


A knee injury sidelined Ryes through his first year at LSU. He spent last year as a reserve and did not see any game action. In the process, coaches decided to transition him from strong-side linebacker to defensive end.

Ryes recorded an astounding 188 tackles in his senior season at Loreauville.


54 Kenderick Allen

6-6       300

Sr.        3VL

Bogalusa            Bogalusa HS


Allen is expected to make a full recovery from the knee injury he suffered in summer conditioning but may not be available until some time in September. Coach Nick Saban has cleared him for participation in 2002 following his misdemeanor summons for theft.

The Tigers have worked with Allen at end and tackle, and his versatility provides the team with a number of options on the line. When healthy and committed, Allen is very hard for the opposition to contain.

Allen recorded his first career interception last season against Arkansas. Injuries limited him to five starts in 2001, and he finishes the season with 17 tackles and two tackles for a loss. Against Kentucky, it was a rushing Allen who was held on a play that resulted in LSU being awarded a safety.


62 Brandon Hurley

6-3       275

Fresh.   RS

Monroe            Ouachita Christian HS


Hurley turned heads with his effort and tenacity in his redshirt season, and he worked regularly at defensive tackle with the second team in spring practice.

Such a performance is not a surprise from Hurley, who was named 2A All-State at both offensive tackle and defensive tackle as a senior at Ouachita Christian School. He also was named Defensive MVP in 2000.


84 Marcus Spears

6-5       280

Soph.   1VL

Baton Rouge            Southern Lab HS


The list of LSU athletes who have contributed significantly on both offensive and defense is a small one, and it probably hasn't been added to for quite some time. The number of true freshmen on the list is - as far back as anyone can recall - one: Marcus Spears. 

In his sophomore season, it looks as though Spears will concentrate on defensive end. He and Marquise Hill make up one of the most promising end tandems in the country.

Spears was named to the Freshman All-SEC team as a tight end although he played the position for just the first half of the season. He finished 2001 with two catches for 20 yards and made 8 tackles with 1 sack on defense


90 Melvin Oliver

6-3       255

Fresh.   RS

Opelika, Ala.            Opelika HS


Oliver could be headed for his contributions this season at defensive end. At Opelika High School, he was part of the state's top defense in Class 6A that allowed the fewest points in the 2000 season. He registered 80 tackles that season, including 16 for losses. Oliver had14 sacks and recovered one fumble as a first team 6A All-State selection.


92 Bryce Wyatt

6-4       258

Jr.        1VL

Lake Charles            Barbe HS


Wyatt has labored quietly among the reserves over his first two seasons of eligibility, and he enters the 2002 season with a chance to make solid contributions as a defensive end. As a sophomore, he played in 8 games for the Tigers on both special teams and as a defensive end. He finished regular season with 4 tackles, including one 4-yard loss against Mississippi State. 


93 Chad Lavalais

6-3       270

Jr.        2VL

Marksville            Marksville HS


Lavalais can easily be considered LSU's most reliable player on the defense line. He's equally adept stopping the run and defending against the pass. A starter at right tackle in 12 of 13 games, Lavalais led all Tiger linemen with 53 tackles on for the 2001 season. He missed the Middle Tennessee game with a hamstring injury.

Lavalais' statistics from last season included 16 quarterback hurries, 5 tackles for 15 yards in losses and 1 sack. He had 7 tackles vs. Tennessee and Florida and 6 vs. Ole Miss.

Some feel Lavalais could legitimately vault himself into NFL Draft contention with a strong junior year, and few opposing offensive linemen in the SEC would disagree.


94 Marquise Hill

6-7       285

Soph.   1VL

New Orleans            DeLaSalle


In just his second year of eligibility, Hill is poised to become one of the SEC's more dominating players at defensive end. He will be used regularly in rotation with Marcus Spears and Kenderick Allen and is likely to see more playing time until Allen returns from his knee injury.

Hill played in a backup role in all 13 games and finished with 10 tackles. Two of his stops were for losses during the regular season, including his first career sack vs. Mississippi State.


96 Byron Dawson

6-2       291

Sr.        3VL

Shreveport            Evangel Christian Acad.


The model of persistence on the LSU defense, Dawson enters his senior year with a chance to become one of the Tigers' top contributors. He started at left defensive tackle in 4 of LSU's last 8 games and played back-up to Chad Lavalais and Howard Green the rest of the time.

Dawson's shining moment from 2001 was the fumble he forced in LSU's win over Tennessee in SEC Championship game. He followed it with another caused fumble against Illinois in the Sugar Bowl. His season-best came against Ole Miss when he had 5 tackles. For the season, Dawson had 21 tackles.


97 Brandon Washington

6-4       275

Fresh.   RS

Tuscaloosa, Ala.      Central HS


Washington's progress during his redshirt year has led to him receiving consideration as a tackle and an end for 2002. He looks forward to his first college action after being named to the USA Today and Superprep All-America teams for his senior year performance at Tuscaloosa Central. He totaled 90 tackles and 17 sacks and recorded a school-record 30 quarterback hurries.


98 Torran Williams

6-4       285

Jr.        RS

Miami   Dodge City CC


Tiger fans are still waiting to see why Williams was at the center of a hot recruiting battle between LSU and Florida in 2001. An injury led to Williams taking a medical redshirt last season, but he bounced back well enough in the spring to work with the second unit at tackle.

Superprep ranked Williams among the top 30 junior college prospects two years ago. He was a first team All-Conference defensive tackle at Dodge City after recording 67 tackles and five sacks. Williams went to Dodge from Miramar High School in Miami.




Tory Collins

6-2       255

Fresh.   HS

New Orleans            Fortier HS


LSU wrestled Collins away from a West Virginia commitment and came away with perhaps the best down lineman in the metro New Orleans area. He was an all-state selection as a junior and picked to the Orleans All-Star team as a senior.


Alonzo Manuel

6-2       245

Fresh.   HS

Jennings            Jennings HS


Recruiters who saw Manuel in action rate him as one of the most athletic linemen in the south. He was versatile enough to play linebacker in college but will work as a weak side defensive end with the Tigers. He earned Class 3A All-State honors for making 90 tackles as a senior, with 56 solo stops and six sacks.


Doug Planchard

6-3       285

Fresh.   HS

Baton Rouge            Catholic HS


One of the more intense players on the high school level, Planchard committed to LSU shortly after receiving a scholarship offer from the Tigers. He offers the Tigers great strength at the defensive tackle position. Planchard recorded 62 tackles in 2001, with 12 behind the line and three sacks.


Kyle Williams

6-3       295

Fresh.   HS

Ruston  Ruston HS


LSU won the recruiting tug-o-war for Williams over Nebraska. Tennessee was also a strong suitor for the all-state defensive tackle known for his strength and tenacious style of play. Williams was chosen as the Class 5A Defensive Most Valuable Player for 2001 after recording 78 tackles, 17 behind the line and seven sacks. He also had six forced fumbles, recovered four and one interception.


Tiger Blitz Top Stories