3.7.19 Spring Practice

LSU sophomore safety Grant Delpit (7) participates in spring practice in the LSU Football Facility on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

The LSU Tigers defense will face head on the departures of linebacker Devin White, cornerback Greedy Williams and safety John Battle for the 2019 season.

While the production and leadership from those players will be missed, the Tigers return a solid group of upperclassmen like Kristian Fulton, Breiden Fehoko, Rashard Lawrence and Grant Delpit, who all have the potential to be top players at their positions in the country.

Sophomore K’Lavon Chaisson will also return after missing last season, just adding to the multitude of options LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda will have at his disposal for each position.

Linebackers

Expected Depth Chart:

Buck: K’Lavon Chaisson, Andre Anthony, Travez Moore 

Field: Michael Divinity Jr., Ray Thornton, Jarell Cherry

 Inside Linebackers: Jacob Phillips, Patrick Queen, Micah Baskerville, Damone Clark

As mentioned above, the loss of White will hurt, but the Tigers linebacking corps is in good hands as they return senior Michael Divinity Jr. Divinity played well last season in the absence of sophomore K’Lavon Chaisson, who will also be returning from an ACL tear that he suffered in the Tigers 2018 season opener against Miami.

Chaisson and Divinity Jr. could end up making quite the pass rushing combo, while the junior duo of Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen should slide into the two starting inside linebacker positions after Phillips racked up 87 total tackles and Queen 40 total tackles.

The depth will also be strong with experienced upperclassmen like juniors Andre Anthony and Ray Thornton backing up the outside spots, and sophomores Micah Baskerville and Damone Clark backing up the inside spots.

Cornerbacks

Expected Depth Chart:

  1. Kristian Fulton, SR

  2. Derek Stingley Jr., FR

  3. Kary Vincent Jr., JR

  4. Kelvin Joseph, SO

  5. Raydarious Jones, FR

While corner is another position with a huge hole to fill with the departure of Williams, it should still be one of the stronger positions on the defensive side of the ball with the return of senior Kristian Fulton.

Fulton started opposite Williams in 2018 and while he was targeted a considerable amount because teams didn’t want to test Williams, he performed admirably, with nine pass deflections, a forced fumble and an interception.

As to who will start opposite Fulton, all signs lead to top-5 overall recruit Derek Stingley Jr., who enrolled early in the spring and has made an instant impression on his teammates and coaches, that impression being that he lives up to the hype that surrounded him during his senior season in high school.

Junior Kary Vincent Jr. will be the primary nickel corner while sophomore Kelvin Joseph, who was forced to play safety in 2018 due to injuries, should be the primary backup at the outside corner positions.

Safety

Expected Depth Chart:

  1. Grant Delpit, JR

  2. JaCoby Stevens, JR

  3. Todd Harris Jr., JR

  4. Eric Monroe, JR

  5. Marcel Brooks, FR

  6. Maurice Hampton Jr., FR

Donning the iconic No. 7 jersey for the Tigers, junior Grant Delpit will lead a group of safety’s that includes junior JaCoby Stevens. Stevens played a hybrid safety/linebacker position that Aranda has used in recent years that can have him on the line of scrimmage as a rusher/run-stopper, or playing a typical safety role in coverage.

Junior Todd Harris Jr. is an experienced backup who will most likely be the primary backup, but incoming freshmen Marcel Brooks and Maurice Hampton Jr. were two of the top recruits for the Tigers, and may push Harris for playing time. Both Brooks and Hampton Jr. should contribute on special teams regardless.

Defensive Line

Expected Depth Chart:

Nose Tackle: Breiden Fehoko, Siaki Ika, Tyler Shelvin 

Defensive End: Rashard Lawrence, Glen Logan, Neil Farrell Jr., Nelson Jenkins III, Justin Thomas

The defensive line may be the strongest position in terms of veteran leadership for the defensive unit as a whole, with Rashard Lawrence and Breiden Fehoko being two of the three seniors on the defense.

Fehoko will start at the nose, while Lawrence and junior Glen Logan will be the two starting ends. Expect highly touted freshman Siaki Ika to rotate in for Fehoko, and juniors Neil Farrell Jr. and Justin Thomas along with freshman Nelson Jenkins III to rotate in at the end position.

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