2002 Football Preview: Linebackers

We continue our profile of the 2002 LSU football team with a look at a position where the Tigers are talented, but not so deep - linebacker.

LB Bradie James

11 Bradie James

*2002 Pre-Season All-SEC*

*2002 Butkus Award Candidate*

*2002 Pre-Season Playboy All-American*

6-3       238

Sr.        3VL

West Monroe   West Monroe HS

 

The desire of coaches is to have James take over the middle linebacker position and fill the void he leaves at the weak side with Lionel Turner or Adrian Mayes. The Tigers may very well employ a situational scheme like they do with virtually every other position on defense.

The transition to the middle has been a relatively easy one for James, an All-SEC selection for 2001. Although his spring was shortened with a kidney laceration, James is back at full speed and expected to lead the LSU defense. The Tigers won't be the same unit without Trev Faulk but the drop-off won't be quite as great with James' continued improvement.

James was second on the team with 113 tackles last year, including a team-high 78 solo stops. One of his strongest games came against Tennessee in the SEC Championship contest as he recorded 10 tackles and was instrumental in holding the Vols to just 50 yards rushing. During the regular-season, he had 14 tackles vs. Alabama and a season-best 16 tackles vs. Tennessee.

 

34 Dorsett Buckels

5-11         215

Soph.   1VL

Amite   Amite HS

 

The Tigers have a void to fill on special teams following the end of Walter Moreham's eligibility, and Buckels would fit nicely in the vacancy on the coverage teams. He already has time on the field in this capacity, having recorded 4 tackles last season.

Buckels is also a reserve option for the Tigers at middle linebacker.

 

42 Phillip Maxwell

6-1       218

Fresh.   RS

Shreveport       Evangel Christian Acad.

 

Maxwell enrolled at LSU in January 2001 as a mid-term high school graduate and now looks forward to his first playing time for the Tigers. The best chance for him to take the field probably exists with the special teams coverage units.

 

52 Donovan Grayson

6-4       230

Fresh.   RS

New Orleans    Karr HS

 

Grayson has bulked up considerably from the most official weight LSU has listed, so much so that he is probably being moved to defensive end. He showed good aptitude for the new position in April and will continue that transition in August if off-the-field concerns don't prevent him.

Grayson was charged with rape in May after a female student claimed he forced himself upon her after she drove to his campus apartment. The two reportedly met that night in an Internet chat room. Grayson denies the woman's claims.

 

56 Jeremy Lawrence

6-3       236

Sr.        3VL

Ferriday           Ferriday HS

 

Lawrence's soft-spoken demeanor is a disguise that hides the persona of one of the most intense players on the LSU roster. Since the Tigers played a number of pass-oriented teams in 2001, he didn't have a chance to excel in his niche role as the Tigers' designated pass rusher. But this season could be different since the expectations are higher for the talent-laden LSU defense.

In his junior season, Lawrence had 39 tackles and 4 QB pressures. He recorded 6 tackles against Alabama, Mississippi State and in the regular season game at Tennessee. Lawrence had an interception vs. Auburn, the second of his career.

 

 

57 Dave Peterson

6-3       240

Sr.        1VL

Bristol, Fla.       Coffeyville CC

 

The learning curve was a short one for Peterson, who came to LSU in January 2001 out of Coffeyville Community College, but he worked his way to the back-up spot for Jeremy Lawrence at strong side/designated pass rusher. This past spring he was used at both inside and outside linebacker and will probably see additional playing time in his senior campaign.

Peterson played his high school football at Liberty High in Bristol, Fla.

 

58 Lionel Turner

6-2       242

Soph.   Sqd.

Walker Walker HS

 

A great spring performance has thrust Turner into the probable starting role at weak side linebacker. Coaches were impressed with his physical ability and intensity during the month of April, and they're counting on him to allow Bradie James to move to middle linebacker.

A knee injury kept Turner out of the 2001 season opener, but he bounced back to play in eleven games for the Tigers and record 7 tackles. Against Florida, he made three stops.

 

99 Jason LeDoux

6-3       233

Jr.        Sqd.

West Monroe   Texas A&M/West Monroe HS

 

If coaches elect to keep Bradie James at weak side linebacker, LeDoux stands a good chance to get playing time at middle linebacker. It would provide a reunion of sorts for the two former West Monroe standouts, but LeDoux could find himself challenged by one of the newcomers at linebacker.

LeDoux played in three games last season but did not record any statistics.

 

NEWCOMERS

 

Willie Demps

6-1       225

Fresh.   HS

Pensacola, Fla. Washington HS

 

Demps is a run-stopper who fought his way into recruiting notoriety with a strong showing in the Florida-Georgia all-star game. He finished his senior season as an All-State choice in Class 4A after recording 132 tackles with 84 solo stops. Demps' only two offers came from LSU and Tulane, and Demps made the decision to become a Tiger.

 

Cameron Vaughn

6-3       225

Fresh.   HS

Terrytown        Shaw HS

 

Nick Saban has said there is a good chance a couple of freshmen linebackers could work their way up into the "two-deeps" this year, and the consensus pick to do just that is Vaughn. A great student, Vaughn is viewed as a quicker version of Trev Faulk who can play inside or outside.

He picked the Tigers ahead of Texas, Notre Dame and Tulane. Vaughn was chosen second team all-state Class 5A after making 139 tackles, 70 solo stops, six sacks and three forced fumbles.

 

WALK-ONS

 

39 Barrett Dupuy

6-2       214

Soph.   Sqd.

Prairieville         Millsaps

 

69 Marcus Whitty

6-2       232

Sr.        Sqd.

Houston           Spring Woods HS


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