By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Well...he's certainly playing like he is...
The 2019 champion is making a rampant statement, flying all over the field like a madman since he missed Spring camp. Due to academic eligibility, Micah was forced to sit out the Spring practices; instead of sending his name down the pecking order, #23 is making up for lost time with some brutal intent on the gridiron.
For example, Baskerville was suspect in coverage last year, but already through fall camp has produced a few batted passes (one leading to a Lloyd Cole INT) and at least two confirmed interceptions to his own name, both arriving this past week....the culmination being a pick six during Saturday's scrimmage, as former LSU DB / Guaranty Media CEO & 104.5 boss Gordy Rush told us.
Sensing an open path to the field, the longtime Tigers veteran returned to campus in June like a man on a mission.
Sure, Baskerville was one of the bright spots along LSU's much criticized 2020 linebackers unit, but even he displayed similar mistakes due to the scattershot "scheme" from former embattled DC Bo Pelini; Micah was run down by Najee Harris for the second year in a row, #23 unable to pull off a meaningful solo stop on one of the best backs in college football history....no shame in that.
However, from the early scouting of his fall camp adventures, Micah is forging a path to the starting linebacker unit, desecrating ball carriers, clogging short passing lanes, taking smarter angles on the tackle...the Blake Baker favorite has established himself as a hungry force within his linebacker room, as well as showing signs of becoming a vocal leader.
Grabbing 55 total tackles, 30 solo stops (3 games of 10+ tackles & 4 outings with 5+ as a solo artist), 4.5 TFLs and a brilliant forced fumble (inside the red zone vs A&M), all over just 8 appearances in 2020, Baskerville has proven he can play SEC football at a higher level;
Since he arrived at LSU, Micah has had to watch many other linebackers take the mantle and ascend to the highest echelon at the position: Devin White, Patrick Queen, Jacob Phillips, Jabril Cox....
Now, as LSU prepare for a 12 game schedule, he must take his game to a previously unseen stratosphere, for both LSU's sake as well as his own.
PROJECTIONS: He's been described to me as "relentless" and that he "wants it more", showing out on most reps this preseason.
Micah was always a solid linebacker, but now this Tiger is making plays, recalling his special teams heroics from 2019, his outrageous performance vs A&M or Ole Miss to end the 2020 season.
In a 5 man rotation of Clark, Strong, Jones Jr, Small and Baskerville, LSU's linebackers should prove formidable, especially with talent pushing them from behind (Sampah & White).
Of those options, defensive coordinator Daronte Jones and LBs Coach Blake Baker will pick the 2-4 best linebackers who can do it all on every snap....I feel Baskerville has played himself into that discussion.
#23 is a tackling machine, only behind Jacoby Stevens, Damone Clark and Jabril Cox for the 2020 team lead;
In a season where Daronte Jones' Tigers defense need the fundamentals more than anything, I feel Micah will be trusted with plenty of 1st team reps, and could end up right in the top tier again as one of LSU's most high volume tacklers....simply because of his violent abilities in forcing ball carriers to the ground,
88 TACKLES, 5.5 TFLs, 1 Sack, 1 INT,
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
SHOUTOUTS: ADIESEL & MICHAEL