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Battle’s Return Lends Experience to Defense

How the senior safety impacts LSU’s depth chart for the coming spring

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Notre Dame vs Louisiana State Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

With the news that John Battle will be returning for his senior year

LSU now has five true returning starters on defense this spring. That said, there’s still a solid amount of experience here.

Spring Football Depth Chart - Defense

Position No. 1 No. 2 No. 3
Position No. 1 No. 2 No. 3
DE Breiden Fehoko (Jr.) Glenn Logan (So.) Neil Farrell (So.)
NT Ed Alexander (Jr.) Tyler Shelvin (RS - Fr.)
DE Rashard Lawrence (Jr.) Justin Thomas (RS-Fr.) Davin Cotton (Fr.)
Buck-LB K'Lavon Chaisson (So.) Ray Thornton (So.) Andre Anthony (So.) - OR - Travez Moore (Jr.)
Mack-LB Devin White (Jr.) Micah Baskerville (Fr.) Layton Garnett (So.)
Rover-LB Tyler Taylor (So.) - OR - Jacob Phillips (So.) Patrick Queen (So.)
Field-LB Michael Divinity (Jr.)
CB Andraez "Greedy" Williams (So.) Jontre Kirklin (So.)
CB Kristian Fulton (So.) Mannie Netherly (So.)
NB Kary Vincent (So.)
SS John Battle (Sr.) Eric Monroe (So.) Cameron Lewis (So.)
FS Grant Delpitt (So.) Jacoby Stevens (So.) - OR - Todd Harris (So.) - OR - Ed Paris (Sr.)
P Zach Von Rosenberg (So.) - OR - Josh Growden (Jr.)
K Connor Culp (So.) - OR - Jack Gonsoulin (So.)
LS Blake Ferguson (Jr.)
Returning starters in bold.

For this spring, there’s going to be some reshuffling, and maybe even some experimentation with different positions.

Despite the inexperience, LSU will have bonafide stars at each level in defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence, linebacker Devin White and cornerback Greedy Williams. And besides the two safeties, there’s a host of young veterans that have time in the system and on the field, even if they weren’t starters: Tyler Taylor, Jacob Phillips, K’Lavon Chaisson, Ray Thornton, Kary Vincent, Eric Monroe, Ed Alexander and Michael Divinity.

It’s Divinity’s de facto Field Linebacker position that may see some reshuffling. Divinity has seen his share of time in subbing in for Corey Thompson last year, but didn’t exactly stand out. With Taylor, Phillips, Patrick Queen and Micah Baskerville backlogged in the middle, one of them could maybe work there — or, perhaps the uber-talented Jacoby Stevens, who is a bigger safety but seems stuck behind Battle, Delpit and Monroe. He could easily play at 225 or so and help serve as a hybrid player, although he might struggle setting the edge in the running game.

Kristian Fulton is another player returning from a suspension/redshirt season, that will have a chance to make a statement this spring before some stud recruits arrive.