Editor’s note: As LSU prepares for what should be a promising 2016 campaign, expectations are sky-high as the team returns 18 starters and the nation’s third-ranked recruiting class.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a closer look at LSU’s 25 most important players who will determine whether this upcoming season will be a success or letdown.
No. 3: Arden Key
The first major move that Dave Aranda made when anointed LSU’s defensive coordinator was to shift Arden Key from defensive end to stand-up outside linebacker in his 3-4 defense.
This fall, we expect to that move pay off.
Key proved to be a relentless pass-rusher a season ago, as the true freshman racked up four sacks over LSU’s final seven games, wowing defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who — by the way — has coached a lot of All-Americans in his career.
The 6-foot-6, 231-pound Atlanta native gave reason to believe that he could become one of the nation’s best when he was named to the Coaches’ SEC All-Freshman Team. Key finished tied for sixth on the team with 41 stops, including 6.5 for loss, to go along with five sacks, nine quarterback hits and a pass defended.
More impressive is the fact that Key didn’t even crack the starting lineup until the Tigers’ fourth game of the season against Eastern Michigan.
The uber-athletic player has spent the entire spring learning to get after opposing quarterbacks from a stand-up position, and also how to drop back in coverage when needed. His tall frame and lateral quickness makes him an ideal candidate to cover tight ends as well as be LSU’s top sack artist.
Key has now gotten a chance to work under both Orgeron and Aranda. After a productive spring, Key is poised to one of the most dynamic players on LSU’s defense in what is the most important positions in the newly implemented scheme.
Coming Thursday: A seasoned leader behind center
- No. 25: Danny Etling
- No. 24: Kristian Fulton, Saivion Smith
- No. 23: Devin White
- No. 22: Tyron Johnson
- No. 21: Rashard Lawrence
- No. 20: Donte Jackson
- No. 19: Colin Jeter
- No. 18: Trent Domingue
- No. 17: Corey Thompson
- No. 16: Kevin Toliver II
- No. 15: William Clapp
- No. 14: Rickey Jefferson
- No. 13: Ethan Pocic
- No. 12: Christian LaCouture
- No. 11: Derrius Guice
- No. 10: Kendell Beckwith
- No. 9: Maea Teuhema
- No. 8 Davon Godchaux
- No. 7: Tre’Davious White
- No. 6: Travin Dural
- No. 5: Jamal Adams
- No. 4: Malachi Dupre
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.