LSU Football: Linebacking Corps Is Tigers' Strength...However It Plays out

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IApril 24, 2013

Photo from
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Here's a fun question to ponder as spring ball comes to a close throughout college football.

How many teams in the SEC would trade for LSU's second-string linebacker group?

If you're a team like Kentucky, or even Arkansas, would you prefer your current linebacking crew, or a group consisting of Deion Jones, Lamar Louis and Ronnie Feist?

I'm guessing the latter.

Either way, with spring ball in the books and just over four months until the Tigers' season opener against TCU in Cowboys Stadium, two things are for certain on this LSU defensive unit, which is loaded with uncertainties after losing seven starters from last year's team.

This linebacking crew is deep, and they are very, very good.

Because of the depth, there are questions of how this starting unit is going to play out.

After the loss of Kevin Minter to the NFL, the Tigers have played around with several different options at middle linebacker this spring.

Junior D.J. Welter has gotten the majority of reps at middle linebacker, but he has been anything but stable and dosen't fit the role of elite middle linebackers LSU has had in the past. He's not exactly Lionel Turner, Kelvin Shepard or Kevin Minter out on the field.

With that said, don't be surprised to see LSU's top tackler, Lamin Barrow, move over to middle linebacker and take over that starting role before the start of the 2013 season. Welter and Ronnie Feist will provide depth at the position, if that is the case.

On the outside, LSU is absolutely loaded with talent. If Barrow does move inside, look for Tahj Jones and Kwon Alexander to take on the two starting outside linebacker spots.

Jones had a standout sophomore season and then was ruled academically ineligible for the Tigers last season after playing in just one game. He should be in store for a big senior season.

Alexander, on the other hand, came in last year as a freshman and established himself as one of the starters, despite battling injuries throughout the year. Look for him to come back healthy this season and have a breakout sophomore year. He recorded a team-best seven tackles for the Purple Team in Saturday's spring game.

Lamar Louis, Deion Jones and Lorenzo Phillips add outstanding depth to the outside spots, with any of those three being potential starters on just about any other team in college football.

It is no question that linebacker should be a strength of Les Miles' defense in 2013. The only problem here is how to get all of these talented linebackers on the field next season.

Sounds like a pretty good problem for any coach to have.