BATON ROUGE, La. — With preseason All-American Arden Key out rehabbing his offseason shoulder surgery, LSU doesn’t have any experience returning at outside linebacker for its season opener against BYU Saturday.
And that unit took another hit this week.
Redshirt freshman Andre Anthony sustained an injury setback in practice this week, leading LSU coach Ed Orgeron to rule him out for the Tigers’ opener in his Thursday press conference. Without Anthony, LSU’s only options at outside linebacker are redshirt freshman Ray Thornton and true freshman K’Lavon Chaisson, neither of whom have ever played a college snap.
Orgeron was not willing to divulge who will start at outside linebacker as he doesn’t know yet. Orgeron said he’ll likely make this decision right before the game begins Saturday based off how Chaisson and Thornton look in pregame warmups.
A former 4-star recruit out of Killeen, Texas, Thornton is thought of as LSU’s best option as a run stopper on the outside. Despite this, at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds, Thornton is LSU’s smallest option as an edge rusher.
Chaisson, on the other hand, is a pass rush specialist. At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Chaisson was listed as the No. 4 weakside defensive end prospect in the nation for the recruiting class of 2017 and was the prize addition for LSU on National Signing Day. Teammates and coaches have raved about Chaisson’s natural pass rushing skills, but admitted he needs to grow more disciplined against the run.
Had Anthony been in the mix, he likely would’ve been the just right in between Thornton’s and Chaisson’s extremes. A New Orleans native who attended Edna Karr High School, missing this game in New Orleans in particular must be especially disappointing for Anthony.
Check back to SEC Country all weekend for more updates pertaining to injury reports, outside linebackers and all things LSU football as it prepares for its season opener versus BYU. The game Saturday night is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.