LSU claims to be DBU but LBU may also apply

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Deion Jones
Former LSU linebacker Deion Jones has been a defensive star for the Atlanta Falcons (Photo: Stephen Lew).

LSU has staked a claim to the moniker DBU by producing many NFL defensive backs, but the Tigers are making a case for being mentioned among the schools that lay claim to being LBU, too.

The 2020 NFL draft include a trio of LSU linebackers – K’Lavon Chaisson (first round, Jaguars), Patrick Queen (first round, Ravens), Jacob Phillips (third round, Browns). Michael Divinty signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. That totals 42 former LSU linebacker who have made it to the National Football League.

The pipeline began in 1951 when LSU’s Joe Reid was grabbed in the 13th round by the Los Angeles Rams. Reid, now 91 years old, was a 6-foot-3, 225 pounder who played in 22 NFL games with the Rams and Dallas Texans.

There are many other prominent former Purple and Gold clad linebackers to make the league, and many attained high standards in the NFL. Here are just a few.

A.J. Duhe was an All-SEC starting defensive lineman for four seasons (1973-’76) before he was converted to outside linebacker by Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator, Bill Arnsparger. A first round pick in 1977, Duhe went onto become the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. He played in 108 NFL contests, earning Pro Bowl recognition in 1984.

In the 1982 AFC title game against the Jets, Duhe intercepted Richard Todd three times. His last one resulted in a 35 yard return for a touchdown that locked up Miami’s trip to the Super Bowl.

Ken Bordelon, a Brother Martin product, was first team All-SEC 1st in 1975 as a defensive end who recorded 21 tackles for loss that season, the second most in a single season in LSU history. Converted to outside linebacker, Bordelon (6-4, 238) played seven seasons for the New Orleans Saints (1976-’82), participating in 82 NFL games.

Shawn Burks paced LSU in tackles for three consecutive seasons. (1983, ’84 and ’85) and remains fifth in program history with 336 career stops. He earned All-SEC designation in both ’84 and ’85 before going on to play for the Washington Redskins.

Dennis Gaubatz was the second LSU linebacker ever to make it to the NFL. Drafted by the Lions in the eighth round of the 1963 draft, he played seven seasons in 95 games.

Bo Harris spent six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals following a stellar career at LSU where he was second team All-SEC team in 1973. A third round pick by Cincinnati in ’75, he played in 108 NFL games.

Michael Brooks, a Ruston High alum, was a 1985 All-American who recorded 18 sacks at LSU. A third round pick by Denver in 1977, Brooks spent 10 seasons in NFL with the Broncos, Giants and Lions. A 1992 Pro Bowler, Brooks tallied 1,016 career tackles in 138 contests. His 38 tackles for loss are fifth all time at LSU.

Roy “Moonie” Winston was a 1961 All-American at offensive guard who played 15 seasons (191 games) as a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. Now 79 years old, Winston played in four Super Bowls.

Warren Capone, twice All-American at LSU (1972-’73), totaled 141 stops for the Tigers. He played for the Cowboys, Saints and Buccaneers. He blocked a punt in Super Bowl X for Dallas against Pittsburgh.

Ron Sancho, a two-time All-SEC linebacker (1987,’88) is still second in Tiger history with 23 career sacks and 37 tackles for loss. The Archbishop Shaw alum played in the NFL with Broncos and Chiefs.

Eric Hill, a 6-2, 265-pound thumper, was the first round choice of the then-Phoenix Cardinals in 1989. He played 11 seasons with the Cards, Rams and Chargers.

Bradie James, a 2002 All-American, holds the single season record at LSU with 154 tackles in 2002. After making 418 stops for the Tigers, he was a fourth round pick of the Cowboys in 2003. James spent 10 years in the NFL, producing 821 tackles and leading the Cowboys in tackles for six consecutive seasons (the longest such streak in franchise history).

Kelvin Sheppard was a member of the 2007 LSU BCS National Champions, leaving Baton Rouge with 311 career tackles inclding 26 for loss. The 2010 All-SEC standout then played eight seasons in NFL recording 429 stops in 107 contests. Now retired, Sheppard was recently named LSU’s Director of Player Development.

Kendell Beckwith was All-SEC in 2016. Now entering his fourth NFL campaign with Buccaneers, the East Feliciana alum backs up another former LSU standout at inside linebacker (more on him below).

Perry Riley, part of the 2007 LSU National Championship squad, played seven seasons in the NFL with the Redskins and Raiders. In 90 games, he produced 502 tackles.

Kevin Minter, 2012 All American, had 15 tackles for loss as a senior in Tigertown and 130 total tackles in 2012. Pickedin the second round by the Cardinals in ’13, he is entering his eighth season with 91 games and 297 tackles under his belt. Tiger fans fondly recall his 20 tackles in game against Florida in 2012.

Kwon Alexander made 2014 All-SEC after he recorded 92 tackles. A Pro Bowler in 2017, he is entering his sixth pro campaign as a starter for the 49ers. Alexander has career 414 tackles.

Deion Jones starred at Jesuit before emerging as a senior at LSU. The second round pick of the Falcons runs a sub-4.4 forty. His speed and athleticism earned him a spot in the 2017 Pro Bowl. He has 414 tackles in the NFL thus far.

Devin White, the latest in the string of outstanding LSU linebackers to make the NFL, was the Butkus Award recipient in 2018. The two-time team captain paced the SEC with 133 tackles. White left LSU following his junior season with 286 tackles and 29 tackles for loss to his credit. White dazzled enough to become a No. 5 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2019 draft. He displayed his explosiveness with a 91-yard fumble recovery and return for a touchdown against the Falcons in last year’s season finale.

If you’re enough impressed by the list, you can support LSU as LBU.

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Rene Nadeau


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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