If there was ever any doubt that LSU was going to lean heavily on that huge 2012 linebacker class this fall, it's gone now. The Tigers signed a truckload of young linebackers last winter -- six to be exact -- to account for a big loss of depth at the position. Partially due to their talent and partially because of LSU's enormous injury history this season, those youngsters are putting their time in.
Five of the six have found regular playing time through the first half of the season, with only Trey Granier failing to find his way to the stat sheet. Kwon Alexander, last year's top-ranked LSU commit, started two games in place of missing starter Luke Muncie before breaking his ankle against Florida. Fellow freshman Lamar Louis started in his classmate's place this last weekend and chalked up two tackles.
Even if veteran Kevin Minter departs early for the NFL draft this winter, the Tigers appear to have stockpiled plenty of talent at linebacker. But the mission continues for more talent, as evidenced by the fact that LSU's first pickup for 2014 was a linebacker.
Here's a look at the prospects for the position next year:
Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood): Daub's commitment to LSU in July came as a bit of surprise, considering the geography. So it's not a huge surprise to hear the 6-foot-3, 227-pound linebacker recently said he'd like to open his recruitment up while still remaining committed to the Tigers. Daub projects as one of the top linebackers in next year's class, and LSU will have to fight off all the usual recruiting juggernauts if it expects to keep him.
As is often the case in recruiting, the Tigers have extended a multitude of offers to out-of-state prospects. Several high profile prospects -- all three of them on the ESPN Watch List for 2014 -- have already received LSU offers in hopes of sparking early interest.
Cameron Hampton (Dallas, Texas/Carter): Hampton figures to be a name to watch in 2014, if his offer sheet is any indicator. The 6-foot-2 outside linebacker already holds offers from Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and West Virginia, in addition to LSU.
Tre Williams (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul's Episcopal): A similar story, except in a state that's traditionally much harder to pull players from. Williams, a fellow 6-foot-2 outside linebacker, already holds offers from both in-state powers Alabama and Auburn, as well as Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss and Southern Cal. The Tigers have had some success signing players from nearby Mobile in the past -- former standouts JaMarcus Russell and Chevis Jackson come to mind. But it hasn't been as easy since the Crimson Tide's recent return to prominence. However, Alexander was one of the state's top players last year and signed with LSU.
Zac Whitley (Houston/North Shore): No LSU offer as of yet, but Whitley has been offered by home-state powers Texas and Texas A&M. The Houston area has become a stomping ground for LSU recruiting, and the Tigers surely are going to have something to say to him in what is surely going to become some hotly contested recruiting territory.
And of course, two players to keep an eye on in-state:
Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian): Young is currently starring for an absolutely dominant Curtis team in the New Orleans area. Young is currently fourth in tackles for an undefeated Patriots squad with 41 total -- most among nonseniors. The 6-foot-1 junior doesn't hold an offer from the Tigers as of yet, but he'll be one to watch in a loaded Curtis program.
RaeJuan Marbley (Destrehan, La./Destrehan): Marbley said in August that he had yet to receive any offers after a bit of a low-key summer. That will probably change when schools get hold of his junior tape, as Marbley is racking up tackles and sacks for the Wildcats from both the defensive end and linebacker positions. Marbley recently earned New Orleans metro area Player of the Week honors for a nine-tackle, four-sack performance.