The LSU Tigers may end up with the top-ranked 2016 recruiting class, currently rated No. 2 by Rivals, but 5- and 4-star high school talent can never replace maturity, leadership, and experience. On Monday, LSU head coach Les Miles announced two of his defensive stars from the 2015 season will be returning, linebacker Kendell Beckwith and cornerback Tre’Davious White, making those targets the Tigers’ biggest recruiting win thus far.
When the 2016 season kicks off, Beckwith will be putting a stamp on a four-year career that has gotten better and better as his time on the field has increased. The Clinton (La.) area native played in 12 games as a freshman but did not get his first start until his sophomore season in 2014 becoming LSU’s starting middle linebacker during the backstretch of the season. With seven consecutive starts under his belt, he entered his junior season with high expectations and delivered, becoming a semifinalist for both the Butkus Award and Bednarik Award after posting 84 tackles (second on the team), 10 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
White has lived up to his Class of 2013 hype as a 5-star recruit earning Freshman All-SEC honors in 2013 after starting 11 of 13 games. In 2014, White became a cornerstone of the Tigers' defense and started all 13 games. LSU put more responsibilities on White’s plate in '14 and this past season, adding punt returner to his resume. The former Green Oaks High School star out of Shreveport was fifth on the team in tackles in 2015 with 44 to go along with seven passes defended and seven pass breakups. White has two career punt returns for a touchdown as well as 126 tackles, 19 pass breakups and four interceptions.
Miles released a statement oozing with excitement about the return of White and Beckwith after the LSU team has endured four consecutive seasons of top underclassmen heading off to the NFL early. “This is a windfall for us. For the first time, we return a big senior class," Miles said. "Anytime that you have a senior-dominated team, you recognize that you are going to play with leaders and guys always play their best year of football when they are most mature.”
Miles addressed all the positives of his defensive leaders returning adding, “This is a great decision for all of these guys. They are going to get their college degree and they will all improve their (NFL) draft position. This is a great day for LSU and our program.”
LSU starts the 2016 season on Sept. 3 with a neutral-site game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., against the Big Ten's Wisconsin Badgers.
— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManInLA.