While LSU did lose a pair of veteran defensive linemen with the departures of Rashard Lawrence and Breidon Fehoko, the Tigers reload with an abundance of talent at the position, specifically from a handful of highly-touted incoming freshmen.
Baton Rouge native and four-star DE Jaquelin Roy, four-star DT Jacobian Guillory out of Alexandria and four-star DT Eric Taylor highlight a stacked signing class in the trenches.
Head coach Ed Orgeron has said before that Roy will likely find his way into the rotation in 2020, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the same from Guillory, and possibly even Taylor.
“At nose tackle, I think we have one of the best tandems in the country,” Orgeron said in an interview with 104.5 ESPN’s Off The Bench in May. “Tyler Shelvin had a great year, Apu Ika, and then Jacobian Guillory, one of the best nose tackles in the country [for his class].”
Four-star Marietta (Ga.) native BJ Ojulari works into the picture as well as LSU’s weak-side defensive end and a prospect the coaching staff has raved about. During the virtual Coaches Caravan in May, new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini said Ojulari is someone who he can tell is going to be special and Orgeron is equally bullish about his potential.
“He's just so athletic," Orgeron said back in March. "Today in pass rush, he had two wins against the first team. He came up and under. He's very strong. He's very mature. Great student. Making straight As. Hard worker. He just has all the makings of being a great end. He's perfect for the 4-3."
So with Roy, Guillory, Taylor and Ojulari stepping on campus, they’ll join senior Glen Logan, sophomore Apu Ika, and junior Tyler Shelvin, as perhaps LSU’s most productive linemen in 2019.
Immediately after LSU got trounced by Alabama in 2018, Orgeron famously stated that he had to recruit better up front and in the trenches. Now, heading into 2020, the Tigers are absolutely stacked on the defensive line, and might field one of their deepest lines in recent memory.
That type of depth made the transition to a 4-3 defense even easier. Orgeron wants a disruptive, scrappy defensive front and he feels the players he has returning give LSU a shot at that.
“That’s why we went back to the 4-3 [defense],” Orgeron told 104.5 ESPN’. “We thought we had the talent. I think this will be a great group and it’s already helped in recruiting.”
With LSU’s secondary looking locked and loaded, and now the linebacker position solidified with Jabril Cox and Damone Clark, the defensive line is just the final piece to the puzzle for the Tigers to get back to their vintage, attack-style ways of defense under Pelini heading into 2020.
“I do believe this is one of the most talented defenses we’ve had,” Orgeron said at his National Signing Day availability in March. “I believe the 4-3 attacking defense fits our personnel as good as we’ve seen.”