Projecting LSU’s 2018 depth chart: Defense

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting , with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss how LSU’s 2018 signees will factor into the defensive depth chart ahead of spring practices.

Projecting LSU’s defensive depth chart 

LSU notched another top-15 recruiting class in 2018, but how many of the incoming signees will secure a role on defense ahead of the season?

Nine of the aforementioned signees are already on campus, preparing for spring practices, which get underway in March. The rest will join them in Baton Rouge in June ahead of fall camp. That’s when the real battles begin.

Let’s examine the Tigers’ projected depth chart on defense, including where the newly minted signees fit.

Field (F) linebacker

  • Michael Divinity Jr., 6-foot-2, 239 pounds, junior
  • Ray Thornton, 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, redshirt sophomore

Skinny: Divinity saw an influx of snaps with Corey Thompson out of the lineup last season. The 2016 All-American is finally in line to seize a starting role as the Field linebacker.

Defensive end

  • Rashard Lawrence, 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, junior
  • Glen Logan, 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, redshirt sophomore

Skinny: Lawrence emerged as the defensive leader in 2017 and is the lone starter returning to LSU’s defensive line this spring. He will play an integral role directing this new-look group.

Nose tackle

  • Ed Alexander, 6-foot-3, 339 pounds, junior
  • Tyler Shelvin, 6-foot-3, 378 pounds, redshirt freshman

Skinny: After being a valuable contributor for his first two seasons in Baton Rouge, it’s finally Alexander’s time to take control of the starting nose tackle role. He should be spelled by Shelvin, who’s coming off an academic redshirt season and will earn critical snaps.

Defensive end

  • Breiden Fehoko, 6-foot-3, 298 pounds, junior
  • Neil Farrell, 6-foot-4, 287 pounds, sophomore

Skinny: Gone are Christian LaCouture and Frank Herron. In their place is Fehoko, a highly touted Texas Tech transfer, and Farrell, one of the top prospects from the 2017 signing class.

Bench (B) linebacker

  • K’Lavon Chaisson, 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, sophomore
  • Andre Anthony, 6-foot-5, 242 pounds, redshirt sophomore

OR

  • Ray Thornton, 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, redshirt sophomore

Skinny: Marquee pass rusher Arden Key is off to the NFL draft, leaving Chaisson to headline what should be a Bench linebacker committee heading into 2018. Chaisson is the top edge rusher of the group and saw plenty of action during his freshman year. Thornton, a top run defender, and Anthony, who battled injury all of last season, also should be a part of this committee.

Middle linebacker

  • Tyler Taylor, 6-foot-2, 238 pounds, sophomore

OR

  • Jacob Phillips, 6-foot-3, 237 pounds, sophomore
  • Micah Baskerville, 6-foot-2, 227 pounds, freshman

Skinny: Taylor was defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s top pick among the freshman linebackers last season, but Jacob Phillips emerged down the stretch and was a playmaker in LSU’s bowl game against Notre Dame. These two highly regarded sophomores should make for one of the best camp battles opposite of Devin White.

Rover

  • Devin White, 6-foot-1, 248 pounds, junior
  • Patrick Queen, 6-foot-1, 238 pounds, sophomore

Skinny: White is another one of the most valuable, experienced players returning to LSU’s defense. The quarterback of the unit, White will be counted on again to mentor the young additions and lead by example.

Nickel

  • Kary Vincent Jr., 5-foot-10, 182 pounds, sophomore

Skinny: Vincent saw most of his action during the early part of the 2017 season before Donte Jackson became the most-used nickel. Vincent should take over those snaps into next season as a versatile option that can play multiple positions in the secondary.

Cornerback

  • Kristian Fulton, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, junior

OR

Skinny: Another one of the marquee position battles will be at cornerback opposite Greedy Williams. Fulton did not play last season but is primed for a breakout season. Most likely, there will be a committee outside at corner much like in 2017 with Williams, Jackson and Kevin Toliver.

Strong safety

  • John Battle, 6-foot-3, 201 pounds, senior
  • JaCoby Stevens, 6-foot-2, 216 pounds, sophomore

Skinny: Battle opted to return for one last go-round at LSU. Injuries had him in and out of the lineup for parts of last season, but he’ll be counted on to be the veteran of this young secondary in 2018. Expect Stevens, the former 5-star prospect, to push him for playing time and easily nab the job down the line.

Free safety

  • Grant Delpit, 6-foot-3, 201 pounds, sophomore
  • Eric Monroe, 6-foot, 197 pounds, redshirt sophomore

Skinny: Delpit was an effective first-year starter in LSU’s secondary a year ago. He should reclaim that job again heading into 2018, but will have to hold off Monroe. The sophomore was first off the bench for both Delpit and Battle last season and made tremendous strides in the process.

Cornerback

  • Greedy Williams, 6-foot-2, 182 pounds, redshirt sophomore
  • Jontre Kirklin, 6-foot, 173 pounds, sophomore

Skinny: Williams has a stranglehold on one of the starting cornerback jobs this season after a breakout freshman campaign. Behind him, expect Kirklin to push for snaps.

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here .

The post Projecting LSU’s 2018 depth chart: Defense appeared first on SEC Country.

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