When LSU struck out on a couple of key DL recruits on National Signing Day 2017, it was clear they were still in the market for additional talent for the position. Losing Davon Godchaux to the NFL, Marvin Wilson to FSU and Phidarian Mathis to Alabama especially left Coach Orgeron in need of another player that could fill in at the 3-tech or 5-tech in Aranda’s defense in the near future. Breiden Fehoko will have to sit out this season due to transfer rules, but he should be a starter by 2018.
Rashard Lawrence started to come into his own by the end of the 2016 season and he will likely assume one spot on the DL in 2017 and beyond. Ed Alexander is the NT of the future. That leaves a lot of questions to begin answering in 2017. Yes, if Tyler Shelvin comes in in-shape he will factor and should going forward. Glen Logan will be completing his RS season and he too should see the field. Aaron Moffitt, Justin Thomas and Neil Farrell are all players that are more than likely to RS, though Thomas was an EE and that could help his case. Beyond that, the DL depth for 2018 and beyond isn’t as shaped as the coaching staff would likely prefer.
The grand idea here is that playing time is available, especially in a starting capacity. Or, to put it in better terms: the staff was still looking for upgrades to an already strong position. Breiden Fehoko is just that.
Fehoko is a former top 50 prospect and Under Armour All-American that stands at 6’3”, 290. He’s a guy that could bench press 185 40 times as a Sr. in HS. He’s bear strong. If you’ve ever spent time in any type of strength and conditioning training, you’ll run across guys that are just naturally strong, even if they’ve never so much as lifted a weight. Fehoko is gifted in that way. But he doesn’t play like a beefy rock.
Fehoko, at his best, is a disruptor. This is a guy that will make plays in the backfield. You can see the way his ability to penetrate impacts the defense, even when he’s not able to cash the checks on his own. Check out the play at 2:04, where he completely disrupts the OL, forces the QB to move out of the pocket and then throw back across his body, almost leading to an interception. The play at 2:21 will show you he’s not just a one-dimensional pass rusher who doesn’t give effort in the run game, though. He stacks up blockers and swallows RBs behind the LoS with solid consistency. He registered 7.5 TFL in 20 games at Texas Tech. That’s playing in a defense where he was likely one of the 3 most talented players by a long shot. It’s easy to envision those numbers going up when he’s playing alongside fellow All-Americans in a more competent scheme. He’s really got a keen sense of timing snaps, that should further help him.
If there’s any bummer here it’s that we have to wait a year before Fehoko takes the field. I feel confident he could start on the 2017 DL and that unit is more crowded than what LSU will feature in 2018. This guy is a true heir apparent to Davon Godchaux and really at his best when allowed to attack and get up the field. I imagine Jenkins and Orgeron will relish in turning him loose. He and Rashard Lawrence could prove to be a pretty dynamite pass-rushing duo as down linemen.
Fehoko makes a ton of sense for LSU and LSU makes a ton of sense for Fehoko. This is a dynamite pick-up that should really bolster a DL that needs more proven depth in 2018.