The thought of replacing seven starters on the defensive side of the ball is certainly not an easy task for Les Miles and his LSU coaching staff.
However, Saturday's scrimmage proved that LSU should have plenty of talented players to choose from when it comes to finalizing that starting defense.
Taking the scrimmage into account, this is how I see LSU's starting defense shaping up this fall.
Defensive End(s): Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco
Rasco didn't play in Saturday's scrimmage because of an injury, but Hunter did, and he made a big name for himself in the process.
The talented sophomore recorded a game-high eight tackles and two sacks in the spring game. He was a menace off the end and created constant havoc on LSU quarterbacks throughout the day.
Hunter has a picture-perfect body for a defensive end, standing at 6'5" and closing in on 240 pounds. Don't be surprised to see this kid be an All-SEC performer down the road, perhaps even as soon as this season.
Defensive Tackle(s): Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson
While there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the defensive end position heading into the spring, the same can't be said for defensive tackle.
It appears clear that Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson have established themselves as the starting defensive tackles for this LSU football team in 2013.
Johnson and Ferguson both started together for the White team, and both had their bright moments in Saturday's scrimmage. Ferguson recorded seven tackles, one of which was a sack, while Johnson added five tackles of his own, one of which was for a loss.
With these two big bodies in middle of the defensive line, don't expect many teams to be able to run the football successfully against this LSU defensive front.
Middle Linebacker: Lamin Barrow
Sooner than later, Les Miles and this LSU coaching staff is going to realize that D.J. Welter is not the answer at middle linebacker.
Lamin Barrow is.
Barrow has played outside linebacker for this LSU team throughout his career, but he has the size and skill to make the switch if needed. The issue is that he is so good and valuable in pass coverage, but he is also the best tackler on this roster, which should make his move to middle linebacker that much more obvious.
It would be shocking not to see Barrow slotted in that starting middle linebacker spot for the Tigers' season opener against TCU in Cowboys Stadium.
Outside Linebacker(s): Tajh Jones and Kwon Alexander
Jones missed time last season after a suspension, but it looks like everything has been cleared up and he should be back on the field for LSU in 2013.
With that said, Jones is an extremely talented outside 'backer, and should be able to fill in right where he left off.
Assuming Barrow does make the move to middle linebacker, that should push Kwon Alexander to the other starting outside linebacker position, a spot where he started several games at last season as a true freshman.
Add Deion Jones and Lamar Louis into this mix and this outside linebacker group is looking real promising heading into this season.
Cornerback(s): Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins
Welcome to the 'Jalen Show."
Both Mills and Collins sat out Saturday's scrimmage, but both are expected to be healthy for the start of the 2013 season.
Mills and Collins each saw plenty of action last season at cornerback, along with Tharold Simon, who bolted early for the NFL Draft.
Corey Thompson and Dwayne Thomas filled in as the two starting cornerbacks for the White team on Saturday, and both should provide needed depth at that position, especially when this defense goes into nickel packages, which they tend to do often.
Safeties: Craig Loston and Ronald Martin
Mark my words, Craig Loston is going to be an All-SEC performer if he stays healthy this upcoming football season.
The Tigers' senior safety recorded six tackles, had an interception, and added a pass breakup for the White team in Saturday's scrimmage. Loston was making plays all over the field on Saturday, just as he was for parts of last season.
The other safety spot is probably the most "up-for-grabs" position on this defense. Both Ronald Martin and Micah Eugene have playing experience and both are talented enough to take the reigns on this starting role.
Martin didn't play in Saturday's scrimmage, while Eugene recorded two tackles and a pass breakup for the White team.
Both are extremely talented, young players, but in the end, I think Martin's size (6'1", 205 pounds) and skill set give him the edge.
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