2021 LSU Football By Position: Defensive line

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Ali Gaye
Ali Gaye celebrates during the first half of a game between LSU and Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.

The biggest question mark for 2021 is how significant an impact will defensive coordinator Daronte Jones and linebackers coach Blake Baker make when it comes to scheme.

The projection is for the Tigers to start with a 4-3 base look with some variables.

Defensive line coach Andre Carter also arrives to tutor this position after 13 seasons in the NFL as a player and five more as a coach. Following the return of the starters up front, this spot promises to be one of LSU’s strengths.

DE Ali Gaye (6-6-267, Sr.)

Some didn’t even know who he was when the ’20 campaign began but Gaye soon made a name for himself and seriously considered a jump to the NFL for ’21. His return could prove to be immense for LSU’s pass rush. He tallied 32 stops, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 5 QB hurries. Last year’s experience will be invaluable for his continued developement.

DE Andre Anthony (6-3, 255, Sr.)

Another player who seemed lost in the rotation prior to 2020, Anthony vowed to make a mark entering last fall and did just that with 24 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and a team-leading 5.5 sacks. His return will also be a major boost to the rotation. He has proven he can be a force off the edge.

DE B.J. Ojulari (6-2, 230, Soph.)

A four-star prospect in the 2020 class, he totaled 16 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 3 pressures last season. A designated rusher who silenced skeptics who said that LSU couldn’t replace 2019 freshman Marcel Brooks, who transferred to TCU, Ojulari could eventually hear his name called in the first round of the NFL Draft.

DE Saivion Jones (6-6, 245, Fr.)

A 2021 4 star signee from St. James, Jones reminds me most of Danielle Hunter, the ex-LSU and current Vikings standout, at the same stage of his career. Saivion may be a step ahead as a true freshman. He possesses tremendous skills, poised to be an elite pass rusher. He’s too talented not to see the field this season.

DE Landon Jackson (6-6, 240, Fr.)

Another four-star 2021 signee, his addition gives the staff a glut of talented pass rushers.

DE Bryce Langston (6-3, 270, Fr.)

The four-star signee out of Ocala, Fla. was ticketed to the Florida Gators before the Tigers flipped him. He has the ability to make an immediate splash. He can over power blockers, disengages quickly and plays with leverage and an explosive first step.

DE Jarrell Cherry (6-3, 265, Jr.)

Cherry has been biding his time. Is this the year for him?? Not having 2020 spring drills impeded his progress. He brings power to the edge as evidenced by a 425 lbs. bench press.

DE Desmond Little (6-5, 218, Fr.)

A redshirt last season, he has a track background and frame that is somewhat reminiscent of KeKe Mingo. He runs a 11.16 hundred meters and 23.3 200 meters. Might be a situational pass rusher or hybrid who sees linebacker snaps.

DT Neil Farrell (6-4, 300, Sr.)

A late arrival in 2020 after originally deciding to skip the season, Farrell has NFL talent. He chipped in with 25 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack in ’20.

DT Glen Logan (6-3, 330, Sr.)

In eight games last fall, he had 17 stops. The former Destrehan Wildcat has surprising quickness for his size. Like Farrell, his return makes the position for the Tigers one of the strongest in the SEC.

DT Jaquelin Roy (6-4, 302, So.)

A four-star signee last year, he played nine contests last season and contributed 18 stops, 4 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. A late season push showed what type of future he has. The game seemed to slow down for Roy. It will be tough to keep him out of the lineup even with experienced veterans ahead of him currently.

DT Joseph Evans (6-1, 319, So.)

With 13 tackles last season, one of the hardest workers on the squad finally found a home (it appears). Evans bounced from defensive tackle to center and back again. He has had time to work on his craft defensively. He may be one of the more overlooked players on the roster.

DT Maason Smith (6-5, 316, Fr.)

He did not come to LSU to sit. The five-star signee this year is another immensely talented player who just needs to grasp the speed of the SEC. You will witness his talent shine. Glen Dorsey started three games as a true freshman. Maason Smith could match or exceed that number.

DT Jacobian Guillory (6-2, 344)

His true freshman season last fall was quiet since he rarely saw the field. But rarely do first year defensive lineman, much less in a disjointed year like 2020. He is on course to make his mark. Spring drills will be very important in his development. He has unmatched power (740 lbs. squat and 625 lbs. dead lift).

DT Eric Taylor (6-4, 313, Fr.)

Another four-star 2020 signee, the Trussville, Ala. should greatly benefit from full spring drills this year. He will get on board with the new staff. I expect him to open eyes this spring.

DT Soni Fonua (6-3, 268, Sr.)

In seven games last season, he made seven stops. He has been a role player but could fill a number of spots. Fonua will get a long look by new staff. Maybe similar to where Andre Anthony was at this time last year, don’t be surprised if new coaches provide him new opportunities to play.

Click here for LSU roster analysis by position for 2021.

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Rene Nadeau

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

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