Updated: Sep 16, 2019
Written By: Kelechi Anozie
If LSU's secondary represents the heart of the defense, their stable of linebackers is arguably the soul of the unit.
There is no denying the depth of talent that comprises this defensive unit. For the most part, the attention centered around All-American safety Grand Delpit, and standout cornerback Kristian Fulton. Yet this year's linebacking unit is the most diverse and the most talent unit in college football.
When linebacker Michael Divinity Jr. announced his decision to return for his senior season in January, it was clear that he had only one idea in mind, winning a national championship. Noted for his versatility, Divinity Jr. established himself as one of the most productive linebackers on the outside as well as inside. With leadership being a necessary part to this unit, Divinity Jr.'s return ensured them they would have a leader during their quest to the national championship.
Junior linebacker Jacob Phillips comes into this season with high expectations, as pundits had him picked as a potential breakout star this upcoming season. After two seasons under the mentorship of Butkus Award winner and this year's this year's fifth overall pick Devin White, Phillips could now be the centerpiece of coordinator Dave Aranda's defense.
Junior Patrick Queen proved he was more than capable making contributions in big games, as was the situation last season against Alabama, where he filled in for White who was serving a one-half suspension. In 13 games, he contributed 40 total tackles and a sack. Noted for his speed, Queen could see increased minutes as depth as an outside linebacker.
Junior K'Lavon Chaisson is arguably the most intriguing talent of the entire linebacking unit. In the only game he played last season against the Miami Hurricanes in week one, Chaisson was a disruptive force, contributing five total tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack in their victory. Coming back from a season-ending ACL injury, a healthy Chaisson will be looking to pick up where he left off.
From top to bottom, LSU's linebacking unit carries the variety of talent few units in the nation own. Even with White's departure, LSU continues to replenish their linebacker roster with high-quality depth. As this traditions continues, LSU is transforming into this generation's "linebacker U".