LSU’s defensive line has been the talk of the offseason. From the departures of Mekhi Wingo, Maason Smith, and Jordan Jefferson, to the hiring of Bo Davis, and most recently, the signing of five-star prospect Dominick McKinley, LSU fans have been enamored with the progress being made in that area of the depth chart.
Heck, I’ve even written extensively about the importance of the defensive line in today’s college football landscape. Now, it’s up to Brian Kelly and his new staff to continue fixing those concern, starting with the incoming freshmen.
“I love our young players,” Kelly said. “Gabe Reliford, obviously. We talked about McKinley. Certainly, De’Myrion Johnson. I mean, we’ve got young, talented players. Ahmad Breaux. We’re gonna be in a really good situation. We’ve got edge players. That to me is an area that we’re going to have to get more depth in the inside, the interior, in the shade, the 3-technique. We’re going to continue to look at where we can continue to grow there. We’re still recruiting and we’ll continue to do that. We have the spring portal that we’ll address as well. There aren’t any transfer opportunities within the SEC, but there are opportunities in the spring outside the SEC.
“So, we’re vigilant. We’re on it. We know where we need to continue to build depth and we like the guys we have on campus, so we know where we need to continue to grow.”
Currently, the defensive tackle position includes Jacobian Guillory, Jalen Lee, JUCO transfer Shone Washington, and the aforementioned freshmen McKinley and Johnson. There’s potential to move some of the fringe players on the edge to the inside, like Paris Shand and Gabriel Reliford, and it’s clear Kelly and his defensive staff are exhausting all of their options to build the depth up front.
“We’ve looked at a couple of [offensive] guys that we’re going to probably move [to defense],” Kelly said. “I don’t want to announce them right now, but we’re certainly going to move a couple of guys over to the defensive side of the ball to create a more competitive situation for us, especially when we’re talking about O-line going against the defensive line, so we want to create that. I think you’ll be prepared to see some movement there. I’d like to get these guys a little bit more time moving around, and we get into some of our OTA work later in the month, and then we’ll get a chance to see them move, and then we’ll be able to know for sure that they can handle the change in position, but yes, you can expect some movement there.”
Who could potentially make that flip for LSU? Fans have speculated maybe Kimo Makaneole or signee Joseph Cryer? There aren’t a lot of options, so we’ll see what decisions are made.
Ultimately, Bo Davis knows this is going to be a project, regardless of who they add at this point on the interior of his defensive line. Off the edge, players like Saivion Jones, Dashawn Womack, Bradyn Swinson and Jaxon Howard are exciting players with some juice, but holding down the inside will be the focal point of this offseason in Blake Baker’s new defense.