Last season, it was a freshman linebacker in Harold Perkins that took the SEC by storm as he took over games defensively for the Tigers in order to help LSU win the SEC.
With just a couple of linebackers returning, it is an opportunity for LSU to have another breakout standout at the position from a new face. We are not including the jack position players here as they were mentioned with the defensive linemen.
A top candidate to be that new LSU Tiger that stands out at linebacker is a transfer from Oregon State in Omar Speights. At 6’1, 233 pounds, Speights is a tackling machine and was one of the best linebackers in the Pac 12. Making 1st Team All-Pac 12 last season, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native really stuffed the stat sheet.
He finished his college playing career in Corvallis, Oregon with an outstanding 308 total tackles, 25 tackles for loss, five sacks, three interceptions, and three fumble recoveries. Speights is all over the field making plays and he does so while staying patient, seeing the play develop, and then exploding to the ball carrier. When he entered his name in the transfer portal, there were plenty of college football programs that showed interest including SEC West rival Alabama, but in the end, the former Beaver chose to play in Baton Rouge for his final year of eligibility. Just a couple of practices into spring, Speights has already made his presence known and is the other starting linebacker in defensive coordinator Matt House’s 4-2-5 defense besides Perkins.
There is still some spots open for depth and right now, the Tigers signed only two freshmen at linebacker.
The Weeks name is a familiar one at the linebacker position at LSU and there will be another one as Whit Weeks joins his older brother West Weeks. All in all, the Weeks family has great athletic genes as their dad David Weeks was a three year starter on the offensive line for the Georgia Bulldogs. Whit was a big signee for the Tigers coming out of Oconee County High School as one of the top players in the state of Georgia rated as a four star by On3. Playing for the Warriors, Whit helped the team reach the Class 3A semifinals by doing whatever he can for his team.
The 6’3, 217 pound freshman helped the team by seeing action at running back, wide receiver, kick returner, and linebacker. For his senior season, he had 396 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on offense while also having 104 tackles, 19 TFLs, two sacks, and three interceptions on defense. As the first linebacker commit in the 2023 class, Weeks chose the Tigers over Georgia, Oklahoma, Stanford, USC, Tennessee, and others. Weeks is incredibly athletic and is an explosive football player that plays well in space and excels well in coverage.
The other freshman LSU was able to sign at linebacker is Christian Brathwaite. From Cypress Ranch High School in Cypress, Texas, Brathwaite is another versatile linebacker that is incredibly athletic, physical, and already has the size at 225 pounds to be a thumper in the middle of a defense. He plays best when he plays downhill as a run stopper or as a pass rusher. The four star prospect from Texas was a top 10 player at his position in the country. It was his senior season that the green light really went on.
Last season, Brathwaite had 104 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and nine sacks. The late bloomer was a one time commit to Baylor before flipping his commitment to LSU after going on an unofficial visit for the Ole Miss game. It was a crucial pickup for Brian Kelly’s crew as linebacker was a critical position of need for the Tigers. Getting a player like the Cypress, Texas native is big as he has the ability to be an all-around linebacker when all said and done.
Considering that the numbers are still low at linebacker, it will not be surprising if LSU continues to go after some players once the transfer portal opens back up in May.
To read more about the future Tigers, check out the rest of our “Meet LSU’s Latest Additions” articles below. Next up, I will talk about the newest defensive backs to join the Tigers.