The LSU Tigers are the defending national champions of college football. When their defense was decimated by the Mississippi State Bulldogs last weekend in their home and season opener inside Tiger Stadium, it got some attention.
For a school with such a proud tradition, who touts themselves as "DB U" for the number of defensive backs they put into the NFL, the thought of their defense allowing 638 yards passing in a single game sounds like blasphemy. However, it happened, and this defense is now left with more questions than answers entering the second week of the season.
Enter the Vanderbilt Commodores and an offense starting a true freshman quarterback along with an unproven offensive line. It seems like the perfect recipe for this bunch of Tigers to get healthy against.
Like their counterparts on offense, the LSU defense was stripped bare following last seasons run to the title. Only five starters returned this season with two on the defensive line and three in the secondary.
Who are the leaders for the Tigers entering Saturday?
Junior defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin originally opted-out of this season because of concerns over COVID-19 but returned just days before the start of the season. His 6'3" 346-pound frame is a welcome addition in the middle of this line.
Senior Siaki Ika joins Shelvin inside, and at 6'4" 354-pounds, the tandem should be well fitted to clogging up the middle this season. Glen Logan also returns at tackle and brings starting experience and his 6'4" 309 pounds to the interior.
They are joined up front by defensive ends TK McClendon (6'5" 263 junior) and 6'5" 256-pound junior Justin Thomas, who
All three starting backers are new this season with sophomore Marcel Brooks, an undersized sophomore at 6'2" 200, handling one outside spot while senior Jabril Coz (6'3" 229) will start at the other outside spot. Damone Clark gets the nod in the middle and brings his 6'3" 239 along with him.
It's an athletic and physically gifted group, but very lite on experience.
Derek Stingley Jr., (6'1" 190)an All-American last season as a freshman, returns and is one of the best in the nation at corner. He will pair with sophomore Cordale Flott (6'2" 160) to give the Tigers long, athletic players outside.
Senior JaCoby Stevens 6'1' 228)(returns at strong safety where he will start for the third consecutive season. Todd Harris Jr. (5'11' 190) will begin the season at free safety ahead of last seasons starter at that position in Kary Vincent Jr.