Donnie Alexander is ready to follow the same path as Duke Riley and Deion Jones in his senior season.
Alexander, who will be under Dave Aranda’s tutelage for a second-straight season, said he is prepared for what it takes to start at middle linebacker every game in the Southeastern Conference.
“It’s kinda like a big role,” Alexander said, “But coach [Dave] Aranda got me, and Devin [White] prepared for it last year by putting us in those few games last year.”
Both Jones and Riley showed improvements in their senior seasons. Jones went from primary contributor on special teams to being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round.
Riley followed Jones and led LSU with 93 tackles last season and could go high as the third round in the NFL draft.
When asked about the comparison to Jones and Riley, Alexander said he sees the similarities, but the way they play differs.
“I would say they are accurate,” Alexander said. “Just because the things we went through in our careers up until our senior year, but when it is time to play, I think our game will be [kind of] different.”
Alexander primarily played special teams and had a reserve role his first two seasons and started the last two games of LSU’s season, after former linebacker Kendell Beckwith tore his ACL in the second quarter against Florida.
Alexander finished his junior season with 45 total tackles and an interception against Arkansas.
Alexander said both he and freshman linebacker Devin White have been breaking down extra film with Aranda and refining key details in preparation for the 2017 season. The two will be calling the plays on the field for the Tigers’ defense.
Alexander and White were named the starting inside linebackers by coach Ed Orgeron in his first press conference of spring.
The duo will be the most experienced linebackers on the roster sans junior outside linebacker Arden Key.
Despite the young crop of defenders, Alexander remains confident in the defense, which is losing nine starters, headed into 2017.
“I feel like we have good players coming that can step in,” Alexander said. “And be just as good as the players we lost.”
Besides taking over as a starter, Alexander will have the opportunity to teach the next group of linebackers behind him. The Tigers are set to add four-stars Jacob Phillips, Tyler Taylor and Patrick Queen in the summer.
But after three years of waiting on for an opportunity, Alexander is prepared for his new role.
“My play is [going to] show it,” Alexander said. “I have been waiting on it for a minute. So I just have a lot I want to get off my chest.”