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Better Know a Freshman: Landon Jackson

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Tigers hope they found the next stud DE

Last year the Tigers line was a solid but unspectacular group, with veterans adding stability while younger players showing some flashes of brilliance. On a defense that was rather underwhelming the defensive line play was not horrible. However, not horrible and solid are not the ways LSU wants the defensive line to be recognized. The Tiger line needs to be an elite unit. One of the players that can hopefully raise that bar is Landon Jackson

The Story

At one point Jackson was a top-50 prospect and although he eventually ended up as a top-150 prospect, he was still one of the most highly sought after players in the country, being named a Pre-season MaxPreps second team All-American as a senior. Jackson never had any other commitments and in spring of 2020, he made it official with LSU and signed on as an early enrollee in January of 2021. Jackson finished as the 125th overall prospect, 8th best defensive end, and 19th best player in Texas.

The Numbers

The Film

Scouting Report by Gabe Brooks of 247

“Elite height. Enormous frame with a ton of space to add bulk to already impressive build. Put together like a college hybrid edge. Has played variety of spots for perennial Texas 4A D-II state title contender, including off-ball LB, standing edge, and traditional end. Also ample snaps at tight end, especially as a senior. Provided outstanding defensive production and the occasional big-play splash on offense when healthy. Frame potential suggests possibility to fit multiple positions in varying schemes. Flashes quick get-off with terrific closing speed in pursuit. Dangerous from the backside. Fairly fluid as a rusher, bends pretty well relative to height/length, and runs the arc naturally. Arrives with a purpose and can provide the big hit. Comes from a strong 4A TXHSFB program with ample big-game experience. High-cut and struggles maintaining pad leverage at times. Natural arc-runner but must become more violent at point of attack and add nuance to pass-rush arsenal. Heavier, physical linemen can get inside his length and neutralize his athleticism. Playmaking drive sometimes runs him out of plays. Durability is a concern; suffered two significant season-ending injuries: ACL as a sophomore and ankle as a senior. Long-term positional home is somewhat of a question mark given unique play style/frame potential combo. Raw but naturally gifted, toolsy defensive end with a very high ceiling. Could become impact defensive end/edge player at the high-major level. Owns long-term NFL Draft potential with a ceiling in the top half.”

The Future

Jackson is the kind of defensive end prospect that Orgeron likely loves. Tall with room to add bulk (his 247 page has him at 240 and LSU has him at 259). He is a pass rush first defensive end, a good one at that, who has the requisite bulk to potentially be a force in the run game.

However, parts of his scouting report read as a player who is used to dominating at the high school level without much need to refine his technique. He isn’t the first player to have that assessment but it is still something that needs to be worked on. The injury history is another suspect area.

Good news is that Jackson likely won’t be asked to take on a big responsibility early. Between Ali Gaye, BJ Ojulari, Neil Farrell and others Jackson shouldn’t feel rushed to play early on but obviously the coaching staff will want to see what he has.

High end: Takes significant snaps as a freshman, is a multi-year starter, first round draft pick

Low end: Injuries and lack of development leave him as a situational player

Realistic: Is a starter by junior year and competes for All-SEC recognition