In 2013, LSU will be missing one of the most dominant linebackers in the school’s history. Kevin Minter put up impressive numbers last year, recording 130 tackles, fifteen tackles for loss, and four sacks. Minter is in the NFL and the Tigers’ linebacking unit should still be the strongest group on the defense; even better than they were last year.
It is unclear who the starting linebackers will be this upcoming season, not due to lack of dominant players who can start, but because there are so many linebackers that could thrive in 2013. Number 18 recipient Lamin Barrow is the only linebacker whose starting job is extremely secure. Senior Tahj Jones should start, but there is a plethora of solid talent looming in his shadow, ready to take his position. D.J. Welter and Lamar Louis are slated to start, but they will have to beat out Kwon Alexander and Kendell Beckwith, which will be far from easy.
D.J. Welter was ruled ineligible for last season due to academic purposes. This year, the pressure is on, as he will be replacing Kevin Minter. Welter was highly recruited coming out of high school, but has yet to prove himself in college. He has the potential to be a great linebacker, but will really be put to the test this year. It will be intriguing to watch how he performs this year. If he doesn’t perform to expectations, his job can easily be filled by many qualified back-ups.
Lamar Louis saw a large amount of playing time last year, and probably wasn’t ready for it as a true freshman. He started for the first time against South Carolina, due to Kwon Alexander and Luke Muncie being injured. Louis ended the season starting five games with little productivity. He has all the athletic tools, and with a year of much-needed experience under his belt, he should be much improved in 2013.
Tahj Jones has a year of frustration he is ready to unleash on opponents. He missed all but one game last year due to being academically ineligible. Jones was expected to be a big part of the defense last year. He should be one of the top defenders for the Tigers this season. He is extremely quick, exactly what Chavis loves in his defense. Chavis is a defensive genius and will make Jones look incredible this year.
Lamin Barrow was often over shadowed by Kevin Minter last year. He was phenomenal as junior, recording 104 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. This year, without Kevin Minter to steal some of his production and spotlight, Barrow will be one of the top linebackers in all of college football. Yes, he going to terrorize defenses. Expect numbers from Barrow to be even larger than Minter’s were last year. It is going to be quite a show.
Led by the dynamic duo of Barrow and Jones, the LSU linebackers are extremely deep and talented, and will be the force that drives the LSU defense.