August 09, 2016

LSU defensive lineman Christian LaCouture will miss the entire season because of a knee injury that occurred in a recent practice, a person familiar with the situation said.

The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Tuesday because LSU has not publicly discussed the full extent of the injury, said LaCouture tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Sunday.

LaCouture, a senior, has started 23 games for the Tigers. He was expected to play primarily at end, but also has played the interior line spots.

He could potentially return in 2017 if he applies for, and receives, a medical redshirt for this season.

LSU was expected to have 18 starters returning this season. That number now drops to 17 - and to eight on defense.

LaCouture's injury provides a number of versatile defensive linemen an opportunity to compete for more snaps.

Tashawn Bower and Frank Herron are among returning Tigers with experience at defensive end.

New LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda also has experimented with playing 299-pound junior defensive tackle Davon Godchaux at end, and could opt for more of those looks should nose tackle Travonte Valentine, who recently returned to LSU after initial difficulty gaining eligibility, pan out on the interior.

LSU has only confirmed that Valentine, who spent last season at junior college, has been cleared to practice. Whether the 6-foot-4, 356-pound sophomore is cleared to play remains in question, but the Tigers still have several weeks to sort that out.

LSU opens its season on Sept. 3 against Wisconsin, which is hosting the game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

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