Spring Football Preview: DL

The Tigers defensive line lost a few names, but the emergence of some talented youth gives the unit a chance to have a big 2010 season. Work begins on Friday with the start of spring practice.

Charles Alexander and Al Woods were big presences in the middle for LSU in 2009, but both are gone from the rotation. This spring, a crop of young names will battle for spots on the inside.

With Rahim Alem gone from the outside – and Pep Levingston moved to tackle – two familiar faces from last fall with get their chance at locking down starting spots.

There will be plenty to watch for on the line this spring, and here is our quick look at the basics:

 

Pep Levingston

6’4”, 270, Senior

Ruston, La.

Last Season: 10 starts in 11 games played. Recorded 24 tackles, six tackles for losses and four pass break ups.

 

Drake Nevis

6’1”, 292, Senior

Marrero, La.

Last Season: 13 games played. Recorded 48 tackles, 10 tackles for losses and four sacks.

 

Chancey Aghayere

6’4”, 263, Sophomore

Garland, Texas

Last Season: 3 starts in 11 games played. Recorded 11 tackles, 2 tackles for losses, one sack, two pass break ups and a pair of quarterback hurries.

 

Lavar Edwards

6’4”, 265, Sophomore

Gretna, La.

Last Season: 12 games played with one start. Recorded 22 tackles, including 4.5 for losses, 2.5 sacks, two pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and a forced fumble.

 

Josh Downs

6’1”, 275, Sophomore

Bastrop, La.

Last Season: 11 games played. Recorded eight tackles, including 2.5 for losses.

 

Ken Adams

6’5”, 252, Junior

Enterprise, Ala.

Last Season: Junior College

 

Chase Clement

6’5”, 260, Sophomore

Thibodaux, La.

Last Season: 13 games played. Recorded four tackles and one quarterback hurry.

 

Sam Montgomery

6’4”, 240, Freshman

Greenwood, S.C.

Last Season: True freshman

 

Chris Davenport

6’4”, 323, Freshman

Mansfield, La.

Last Season: True Freshman

 

Bennie Logan

6’3”, 261, Freshman

Coushatta, La.

Last Season: True Freshman

 

Mike Brockers

6’6”, 285, Freshman

Houston, Texas

Last Season: True freshman

 

Dennis Johnson

6’1”, 278, Junior

Amory, Miss.

Last Season: Five games played.

 

Looking at the Line:

Before we start to put together what we see Brick Haley’s line looking like, we should note that Pep Levingston – who spent the 2009 season on the outside – will be moved inside to tackle.

The obvious choices for the two starting defensive ends would be Chancey Aghayere on the left side and Lavar Edwards on the right – spots where both Tigers played backup duty at last fall. This spring, expect both sophomores to step forward and lock up their spot.

With Ego Ferguson – a 2010 signee eager for early playing time - entering the picture this summer, watch names like Sam Montgomery, Ken Adams and even KeKe Mingo search for their moments to shine. Montgomery and Mingo give the Tigers a nice speed-rush combination off the outside, while Adams – now a junior – brings experience outside the high school level.

Much like Levingston, a name like Mike Brockers – given how the end position battle plays out – could move to tackle, a position head coach Les Miles mentioned Brockers getting looks at last fall. Other ends, like Chase Clement, might look for a spring position change – perhaps a move to the offensive side of the ball in hopes of hitting the field sooner.

At tackle, the Tigers are working with a number of names – all of which seem to possess pretty good quickness, a change from the lumbering bodies of Woods and Alexander in 2009.

Alongside Levingston, Drake Nevis is the lone senior in the rotation. While at 6-foot-1, Nevis’ smaller frame has not seemed to hold him back from getting to the ball. Last year, he led the entire line with 48 tackles, 10 tackles for losses and four sacks.

The same can be said for Josh Downs, who showed off his motor as a true freshman last fall when he appeared in 11 games – the biggest impact made by a defensive signee from the 2009 class.

Yet, all three of the aforementioned tackles have experienced the rigors of life between the lines on Saturdays. The same can’t be said for Chris Davenport, who redshirted last fall but will be counted on in 2010 to provide another body in the rotation. While there is speculation that Davenport could be moved to the offensive line, we see Haley keeping the 300-plus pound Davenport on his side of the ball. Davenport has slimmed up plenty since arriving to campus a year ago, but has his technique and the likes come along as well? That is what Haley and Chavis should know by the end of March.


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