LSU Football: The Current State of the Defensive Tackle Room

The Tigers added a new body to the DT room on Wednesday, but what is the current state of the position group?
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Brian Kelly and the LSU football staff secured a commitment from one of the top remaining defensive tackles in the NCAA Transfer Portal on Wednesday evening after Grand Valley State's Jay'Viar Suggs made his announcement.

Suggs became the second defensive lineman to reveal his pledge to the Bayou Bengals during the spring portal window; joining Wisconsin's Gio Paez.

Now, LSU will shift focus to summer workouts with a trio of fresh faces in the defensive tackle room making their way to Baton Rouge with five-star signee Dominick McKinley joining Suggs and Paez.

Here's a look into the current state of the LSU DT Room:

The Veterans: Jacobian Guillory and Jalen Lee

Guillory and Lee handled a majority of LSU's first team reps during spring camp over the last two months where Guillory has been pencilled in as a starter. The fifth-year senior returned to Baton Rouge with an opportunity to take control of this position group and has done so this offseason.

The 6-foot-2, 320-pounder looked the part during camp and quickly became a vocal leader for this defense. He took first team reps throughout camp and didn't skip a beat while in position to replace snaps taken by both Mekhi Wingo and Maason Smith.

When it comes to Lee, the second-year Tiger was lined up next to Guillory for most of camp. The Florida transfer will be in line to take key snaps this offseason with a lack of depth with this position group. At 6-foot-3, 307 pounds, he's lightened up a bit and looked more mobile during spring camp.

It was a battle throughout spring ball for Lee. He was splitting reps with offensive lineman turned defensive lineman Kimo Makane'ole for first team duties and must have a strong offseason in order take impactful snaps this fall.

The Youngsters: De'Myrion Johnson, Shone Washington, Preston Hickey and Ahmad Breaux

Johnson... The true freshman arrived in Baton Rouge this offseason and was thrust into key snaps due to the Tigers' lack of depth. A player who will need time to season his game, Johnson is a defensive tackle who will likely redshirt in Year 1 with the program while he gets acclimated to the college game. Long term, look for the youngster to take strides in the right direction.

Washington... A JUCO transfer, Washington made his way to Death Valley with high hopes. After being previously committed to LSU out of high school, he opted to sign with the Georgia Bulldogs for his freshman campaign before going the JUCO route. Once again on the recruiting scene, Washington became a coveted target for Power Five programs with LSU landing his signature. It'll be intriguing to see the snaps he takes this fall in Death Valley given he may need time to reach that next level.

Hickey... The walk-on took second team snaps during spring camp and was an impressive rotational player for the Tigers when they needed him. Now, with LSU looking to add reinforcements via the NCAA Transfer Portal, we'll monitor where Hickey falls on the depth chart.

Breaux... Early-enrollee Ahmad Breaux has switched positions. After arriving in Baton Rouge as a defensive end, Breaux recently moved to the interior defensive line given the depth issues the program currently has. The freshman currently stands at 6-foot-5, 258 pounds, but will certainly need to put on significant size to make an impact sooner rather than later. Nonetheless, he'll be an intriguing prospect for LSU long term.

The Signee: Dominick McKinley

The five-star freshman will arrive in Death Valley this summer where he will immediately be thrusted into a key role for LSU. Defensive line coach Bo Davis landed a commitment from his guy earlier this year and never looked back after McKinley officially put pen to paper in February. Now, the five-star signee will have all eyes on him this offseason leading into the season opener against USC given he'll be a player who must take snaps.

The Transfer Additions: Jay'Viar Suggs and Gio Paez

Bo Davis and the LSU staff added a pair of defensive tackles via the free agent market this spring with Grand Valley State's Jay'Viar Suggs being the latest to announce his commitment.

Suggs, who had significant interest in the Transfer Portal, chose LSU over a slew of programs including Michigan, USC, Kentucky and Florida State, among others.

The Michigan native will have two seasons of eligibility remaining at LSU after spending five years with Grand Valley State.

Suggs took a redshirt year in his first season with the program with the following season in 2020 being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 6-foot-3, 282-pounder tallied 21 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 5 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble in 2022 with GVSU.

The following season in 2023, Suggs remained consistent after logging 21 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks with 4 pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Suggs has been a consistent contributor at the Division II level, but he's clearly ready to take it up a notch at a Power Four school.

Now, he joins an LSU roster where he will have an opportunity to step right in and earn a starting spot alongside veteran defensive tackle Jacobian Guillory if all goes accordingly.

Suggs is the second transfer portal commitment for the Tigers this spring after the Tigers added Wisconsin defensive tackle Gio Paez weeks ago.

The Wisconsin transfer will make his way down South this summer where he will be a key rotational piece for the Tigers during the 2024 season.

Paez is from Los Angeles, California and redshirted his first season with the Badgers. In year two, he played in just one game, but it counted as the COVID season in 2020. Over the last three seasons, he’s played 32 games and logged 36 tackles.

It was a work in progress this offseason to add depth to the defensive tackle room, but now all focus shifts to offseason workouts where Bo Davis and the LSU staff can develop the talent on the current roster.

With five-star signee Dominick McKinley, Suggs and the current defensive tackles just weeks away from summer ball kicking off, there's significant intrigue into what the defensive line can become.

Look for defensive end Paris Shand and/or Sai'vion Jones to cross-train this summer with the ability to play both inside and out.

Other LSU News:

LSU Football Lands Commitment From Prized Transfer Defensive Tackle Jay'viar Suggs

Report: LSU a "Legit Contender" for Coveted EDGE Tyler Baron

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Zack Nagy


Zack Nagy is the Managing Editor and Publisher of LSU Country, a Sports Illustrated Publication. Nagy has covered Tiger Football, Basketball, Baseball and Recruiting, looking to keep readers updated on anything and everything involving LSU athletics.