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. 17: Corey Thompson
With Dave Aranda now presiding over LSU’s defense, there has been a number of position changes. One that cannot go unnoticed is Corey Thompson’s shift from free safety to outside linebacker.
The move resulted in the 6-foot-2, 221-pound senior going from reserve defensive back to starting 3-4 outside linebacker opposite marquee pass-rusher Arden Key.
Thompson appeared in nine games last season, recording 15 tackles while seeing action in LSU’s nickel and dime packages. It was his first season removed from a knee injury that forced him to miss all of 2014.
The native Texan made the switch due to LSU’s lack of depth at linebacker. Now as an F-linebacker in Aranda’s scheme, Thompson is charged with blitzing, stopping the run and pass coverage, an area that naturally falls in the converted safety’s wheelhouse.
Last year, Key proved to be LSU’s most valuable pass-rusher from the 4-3 defensive end spot. As offenses plot to double-team him to keep him from wreaking havoc in 2016, there will be added opportunities for Thompson to make key defensive plays.
In the Tigers’ new defensive scheme, outside linebacker is arguably the most important position. Naturally, that leaves a lot of responsibility on Thompson’s shoulders as he prepares to play closer to the line of scrimmage and perform as one of Aranda’s most valued chess pieces.
Coming Friday: A lockdown cornerback
- 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
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.