LSU needs to add true edge rushers to its roster with the move to the 4-3 defense. Landon Jackson was a great step in the right direction to accomplish that goal.
Finding 6-foot-6, 240-pound defensive ends that can run will never truly be easy. That’s why LSU fans should be ecstatic that the purple and gold will be bringing in Landon Jackson, DE, Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove.
Not only does Jackson excel at getting after the quarterback, he’s a gifted athlete in space. Jackson lines up at inside linebacker, outside linebacker, and defensive end. He’s capable of dropping into coverage to take away the flat, and he’s also good at coming up in run support after dropping into coverage.
Signing Jackson allows LSU more flexibility with the rest of its front seven recruiting. Yes, the Tigers still need another pass rusher and/or strong side defensive end, but Jackson is a difference maker. He really fits what coach Ed Orgeron wants to do with his newly installed 4-3 scheme.
Here’s a look at Jackson’s instincts and athleticism as he chases down the running back.
Notice how Jackson backed off the offensive tackle. It’s a quick reset from Jackson; he could have kept coming around the end. Instead, Jackson retraces his steps and locks onto the running back, then speeds towards the ball carrier and makes the tackle. This is the type of play one should expect from a pro player. Well done.
The following play is another selfless play. Not many defensive ends play well in space. Jackson proved to be an exception to the rule. He’s capable of running laterally and making a play.
Notice how Jackson carefully broke down into a football position before making the tackle. That’s a natural trait that will serve him well while playing in Death Valley.
This third clip is a traditional speed rush. Watch Jackson’s first two steps, and the explosiveness that comes with them. It’s hard to go faster as a 6-foot-6 defensive end. Next, Jackson uses a hand swipe to disengage from the offensive tackle.
Jackson finalized the play by making the tackle. That was the easy part. Easily defeating the offensive lineman was the key. Athleticism, technique and effort all rolled into one to allow for Jackson to make a play in the opponent’s backfield.
Overall, Jackson is the type of player every college coach desires. Long, athletic, quick, instinctive and plays hard. LSU landed a really good defensive end for its future defenses. Here’s a look at Jackson’s Hudl page, as he did not yet release a junior highlight video.