by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Gaining considerable weight & muscle mass just months upon arrival one summer ago, LSU's dedicated second year defensive end Saivion Jones raised his physical bar immediately out of high school, participating in 11 games as a freshman within a loaded, veteran D-Line.
Registering 6 pressures, 2 QB Hits and 3 tackles during limited 2021 reps, Jones grabbed valuable game time as a debutant, although the majority of these snaps were seized by BJ Ojulari or Soni Fonua (after starter All Gaye's hand injury).
When many think of LSU's exciting defensive linemen heading into 2022, the typical names will be heard, Ojulari, Gaye, Smith, Roy, Wingo, Guillory......however, with Landon Jackson, Eric Taylor, Joseph Evans and especially Soni Fonua transferring from the Tigers over the past 10 months (while seniors Neil Farrell Jr & Glen Logan graduated & left for the NFL), Saivion Jones now has a pathway to the field as a pure pass rusher & edge baron.....nothing could be more tailored for his success.
Able to specifically attack the edge without a hand in the ground, Saivion should be frightening within Matt House's Jack LB/DE hybrid system.
In addition, he can also be utilized as a typical DE flanking 2 interior tackles on a 4-3 front, where he has often been deployed.
LSU may be set with Gaye and Ojulari as their fixed starting defensive ends, however second year DEs Saivion Jones and Zavier Carter could make up Matt House's second unit, battling Princeton Malbrue, Quency Wiggins and Desmond Little for those spots.
Throughout Spring ball, Saivion's second at LSU, the young edge rusher improved with some nice under the radar penetration, including a touch sack during the Spring Game.
An athletic machine with a heart of gold, part of a legendary 2019 defense at St James where he was one of the most productive & feared D-linemen in America, I wonder:
Will Saivion's sophomore season become more than another campaign buried within Jamar Cain's supporting cast, lost amid LSU's thick, deep D-Line rotation?
3 or 4 hard earned sacks doesn't seem out of the question for the newly minted 19 year old, though I still believe he could find continuous limelight reps tough to grab among House and Cain's varying fronts.......unless he can adapt quickly to their demands at Jack LB (ability to make tackles in space as much as rushing the passer) as well as supplying interior pressure when stunting.
From my own trip to Louisiana, witnessing Jones' growth during Spring ball, I feel he's fighting for that spot with everything he's made of....
I'm not sure if Saivion Jones will be one of LSU's top D-linemen this season....
Given our veterans in year 3, Jones may not even crack the top 5...
.....but one thing is beyond reproach:
Whether it happens in 2022 or 2023, I have the sense Jones will end his collegiate career as a successful LSU Tiger.....how successful will be up to him.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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