Updated: May 24
And here comes #9 in our ultimate 2019 Countdown!
Be Safe Tigers fans and always comment your thoughts below!
(LB / Junior)
-85 total tackles (37 solo), 48 assisted tackles
-12 tackles for loss
-1 fumble recovery
-1 interception (vs ALA)
-National Championship Game MVP (Defensive)
Here we geaux again with yet another cornerstone of the 2019 LSU defense, inside linebacker Patrick Queen taking his spot within the Top 10.
As a versatile, speedy, aggressive, and agile wrecking ball along the LSU front, Queen had multiple responsibilities on any given play: from shoring up the inside with on the prowl brutalities, dropping into coverage, or containing the perimeter on the stretch plays:
Possessing an iron will in his neck-breaking pursuit (running a 4.56 40 yard dash at the NFL Corona-Swap Meet as he tore his hamstring), Patrick could be routinely seen chasing down everyone in sight with criminal intent, usually preventing large gains...
In fact, one could only estimate the amount of yards Queen stopped opponents from amassing due to his cinematic shoe-string tackles or lunging vendetta.
By virtue of his potent, circus freak athleticism, Queen became utilized as a linebacker with a safety's attributes, as well as displaying the carnal rotisserie of a high-flying defensive end on impact.
But he wasn't always supposed to be a defensive assassin...
Once considered "the next Leonard Fournette" among Livonia, Louisiana locals, Queen started at both running back and linebacker, fully capable of trucking down would-be tacklers as a fullback, too whilst amassing 10 touchdowns and 1,487 yards:
In fact, his original position among the 2017 class listed him as an "athlete".
Both Corey Raymond & Dave Aranda made the initial overtures and secured the prized signee back in 2017 out of the clutches of Nebraska, Ole Miss, or A&M... although it took #8 considerable time to iron out a place within LSU's elite squad.
Queen had a suspect, below-par 2018, missing tackles in space or also failing to shed blockers, and he experienced an all-too brief freshman season in 2017, however none of this stopped him.
He went into Orgeron's office, demanding to know what he needed to do in order to get on the field.
"You need to play the run," Orgeron stated, also saying he needed to "be more vocal and spend more time in the film room," advice which the young Queen accepted, taking on the challenge.
But it was at the tail-end of that 2018 season when Patrick recovered and exploded on the biggest stage during the 2019 Fiesta Bowl vs UCF.
As freakish studs such as K'Lavon Chaisson or Kristian Fulton were left out after sustaining injuries earlier in the campaign, linebacker Jacob Phillips earning a 1st half suspension for a harsh targeting penalty, and guys like Greedy Williams prepping for the NFL Draft, Patrick Queen took the opportunity with both hands:
After wrapping up 9 tackles, 7 as a solo artist, 2 TFL, and 1 sack in a commanding performance over Central Florida, we became firmly acquainted with Queen, while this warrior's effort also vaulted him ahead of other linebacking competition aboard LSU's stacked roster.
In 2019, his lone season as a bona fide LSU legend, Queen didn't start until the 4th game of the campaign, replacing an injured Michael Divinity in the linebacking corps and putting in a shift of riptide vengeance vs Utah State to declare his season-long Charles Bronson imitation.
Once #8 became a starter, he seemed to continue an ultimate rise on the biggest of occasions, turning in authoritative showings against all seven top 10 opponents we mercilessly vanquished:
There were moments of abject brilliance from #8:
While facing Top 10 ranked Texas on a hot September night in Austin, none of his 6 tackles were more critical than #8's knockout shot on the Longhorns' second consecutive 4th and goal attempt....forcing McConaughey to commit a Class C Felony in response.
Also on the menu is Queen's delirious sack on Jake Fromm in the SEC title game (watch him nearly get blocked into the ground, only to gather his feet, hold himself upright with his remarkable lower body strength, spin around an UGA lineman, and desecrate Jake Fromm to the point State Farm won't even cover the poor bastard).
One of the more important defensive plays of the season arrived via #8's game-changing first half interception vs Alabama:
When The King folded back into coverage, angled towards the middle right, he hovered over the zone (just like any true ball-hawk would) and baited Tua into the throw. Patrick edged inside, easily beat the social distancing receiver to the ball and returned the INT for 16 yards, setting up another Clyde Edwards-Helaire touchdown, elevating the Tigers from 26-13 to 33-13, and leaving Saban nothing but "Dursley-family crumbs under the stairs" before halftime. The 7 points generated from Queen's turnover (in addition to the other 14 collected via Tigers linebacker Ray Thornton's fumble recovery and a Bama botched punt) supplied LSU with an unassailable lead before halftime, rattling Tua even further, cutting Alabama's offensive game plan to pieces...and.....since the game was decided by 6 points, you could call Queen's interception a game-winner.
Against Ole Miss, it seemed John Rhys Plumlee made nearly EVERY dynamic LSU tackler catch air in space...that is except for Patrick Queen:
Dealing with this wiry RPO quarterback's combative speed and Finebaum-vomiting finesse, Queen pulled off 9 total tackles, 5 on Plumlee, yet it wasn't close to enough for Aranda's under fire defense to stuff the freshman.
The Ole Miss quarterback went to town on an LSU defense plagued with injuries, rushing for 212 yards on 21 carries, throwing for 123 more, scoring 4 touchdowns, and left the #1 team's defense searching for their soul.
Among the angry Tigers' voices heard amidst the calamity?
Patrick Queen's smooth, reserved vibe could be noticed calming and sternly directing the younger guys, as well as pumping up his fellow starters, many of them long-time LSU veterans wounded from the constant grind as well as the agony of football's physical toll.
#8, still in good health, led the team by example on the field, perpetuating the foxhole mentality within Coach Orgeron's locker room...running the long, hard yards for his injured teammates.
Then, in the lead-up to the CFP Peach Bowl semifinal vs Oklahoma, the linebacker uttered strong words which would not only prove prophetic, but reach LSU immortality in their hilarity:
"We are gonna dominate them...I'm very confident in what we got,"
Queen said at the podium...no smirking, ho histrionics, no jest.
He wasn't mocking Oklahoma, nor was this time for the linebacker to flex his muscles, turn cocky, and say "hey look at me".....
Queen was merely stating facts...
Following a week and a half of vicious, intolerable whining from Sooners fans "caused" by Queen's bravado, nothing was ever said again about the future NFL star's bold statements in the aftermath of the Peach Bowl's 63,000-28 scoreline.
In Tiger country, his statement of intent will forever be greeted as an indication of championship-winning willingness from the best linebacker in college football:
We wanted it all, and as the Livonia native warned, we weren't geauxing to be stopped by any mortal force.
Even if Oklahoma had Wayne Coyne, Kings of Leon, Buddy Hield, and Barry Switzer on stand-by...they still had no chance.
Sure, all of this orchestrated leadership or above-and-beyond performances were captivating us, but above all, it has to be Queen's masterclass in the CFP National Championship Game which now gives NFL General managers chills down the spine:
Treating us all to an intoxicating linebacking rhapsody, Queen put on a show-stopping demonstration in the Superdome, erasing Clemson's big play screen game, ripping all-world dual threat Travis Etienne at the point of reception or throwing the Louisiana "traitor" into the backfield countless times; He wasn't fooled by Lawrence's RPO action once the Tigers front seven made halftime adjustments, stuffing sure-fire 1st downs or large gains with his massive wingspan, high football IQ, and overwhelming confidence.
As we witnessed through the long TD run of Tee Higgins and the early effectiveness of Trevor Lawrence's RPO set-up, without the range and side to side speed of Patrick Queen in the middle of the field, LSU most likely allow 60-70 more yards on the ground and a surefire Etienne touchdown in the first half (had Queen been unable to make the sideline tackle).
Perhaps without Queen's presence, Clemson have enough time of possession to keep the ball out of Burrow's hands, while Etienne explodes, and the game may turn out a lot closer.
This was a title game in which Travis Etienne ran like a man possessed with all the violent tenacity of a N'damukong Suh stomp, hellbent on sending a message to Louisiana that he "didn't need us" and why he "went to the real Tigers" (as he put it on signing day);
Instead of a career night like the 2018 title game and despite his best efforts, we saw Etienne limited, harassed, and bottled up, Queen, Delpit, Divinity, Chaisson among others prohibiting him from ever gathering steam throughout his 78 rushing / 36 receiving yards and lone touchdown.
In a contest where the most important statistics were unquantified, Queen made the difference.
If we didn't have Patrick Queen's outrageous attention to detail, paying dividends in wins against all seven top 10 opponents, LSU (sporting the Legendary Golden Gawd Joe Burrow, the mercurial Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the greatest receiving corps ever before the Social Distancing Era, and the best coaching staff in college football history leading the greatest team of all time) still don't win a title....
Like a shooting star, Patrick Queen announced himself as the best LSU linebacker of 2019 with his face-deleting mastery, and then poof...he flew away to a deserved spot on an NFL team where the young man can show us all just what he can do on Sundays.
LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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