The LSU Tigers saw a mass exodus on their defense following the 2012 season for the NFL Draft, particularly across their front seven. Five of the top six tacklers among defensive linemen are gone and so is the team’s leading tackler, Kevin Minter. That will open the door for a lot of fresh faces in 2013, but the Tigers will lean on the little experience they have coming back and ask linebacker Lamin Barrow to be a leader next fall.
Barrow was one of the better defenders in LSU’s front seven already last season. He finished second on the team in tackles with 104 and fifth in tackles for loss with 7.5 while adding five quarterback hurries, five pass break ups and a forced fumble. He was a fantastic combination with Minter as a 1-2 punch at linebacker of one of the toughest defenses in the SEC.
Now he will have to take over the defense on his own. Barrow will likely be asked to improve his ability to disrupt offenses with three of the top five LSU defenders in tackles for loss playing in the NFL next season. There will also be added pressure for him to turn some of his QB hurries into sacks as the Tigers try and replace production of their top five sack-artists from 2012.
Les Miles will call on the senior linebacker to step his game up in 2013 to lead the Tigers as they get a lot of new players acclimated to their starting roles. There’s no doubting the amount of talent that will be on the field for LSU’s defense next season, but they will need the senior leadership of Barrow to remain one of the best defenses in the SEC and college football in general.