LSU’s highly-anticipated football season gets underway March 7 with the start of spring practices.
Each day, SEC Country will take a look at one key position group on the LSU roster and analyze the talent returning, the departures and the new additions while providing expert analysis on the most prominent storylines to keep an eye on.
The spring football preview series will continue weekdays through March 4.
Defensive line coach: Ed Orgeron
Key returners: Davon Godchaux, Christian LaCouture, Arden Key, Lewis Neal
Other returners: Isaiah Washington, Sione Teuhema, Deondre Clark, Tashawn Bower
Newcomers: Glen Logan, Rashard Lawrence, Ed Alexander, Andre Anthony, Caleb Roddy
Outlook: One of the deepest and most talented defensive fronts in the nation, LSU’s front four should represent the heart and soul of the Tigers in 2016.
Back are both tackles Davon Godchaux and Christian LaCouture, as well as both ends, Arden Key and Lewis Neal.
Neal, Godchaux and Key finished as the top three sack artists for the Tigers last season, recording eight, six and five sacks apiece, respectively.
They also finished third, fourth and fifth in tackles for loss, with 9.5, nine and 6.5, respectively.
The starting four defensive linemen started a combined 43 games in 2015 as the unit rounded into form, and the likes of LaCouture and Neal opted to return for their senior seasons in the hopes of accomplishing something special in 2016.
That experience will now be paired with a wealth of incoming freshmen talented, which ranks among the best at the position in the country.
Five-star prospect Rashard Lawrence of Neville High School (Monroe, La.) was the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle. He’s joined by Ed Alexander and Glen Logan, who rated as the Nos. 6 and 17 tackles nationally, per the 247Sports Composite.
Together, they will be key additions to a defensive tackle rotation already headlined by proven SEC players and future NFL talent.
As strong as LSU’s interior line is expected to be, it should be equally as dynamic along the edges.
Neal and Key were among the SEC’s premier sack artists last season, with Neal racking up seven sacks through the first the six games and Key ended the year with 3.5 sacks over the final five.
Those two rushers will be joined by weakside end Andre Anthony and strongside end Caleb Roddy.
Anthony was the nation’s No. 15 prospect at weakside end, while Roddy rated as the No. 19 strongside end. Both could be used at a variety of different positions along the line and potentially as stand-up edge rushers in defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s mix-and-match style of defense.
Here’s a look at our past and upcoming previews:
- Quarterback an area of stability entering 2016
- Heisman Trophy hopeful headlines talented backfield
- Newcomers aim to make instant impact at wide receiver
- Last year’s surprise the clear-cut tight end
- Competition expected along the offensive line
- March 1: Freshmen look to find roles in linebacking corps