LSU Football Update: Major Burns tabbed as early choice for Tigers’ Defensive STAR position, plus Football Recruiting news

LSU safety Major Burns (8), who led the team in tackles in 2023 moved to STAR position.

Defensive STAR

Last season, LSU football had one of the worst defenses in school history.

New defensive coordinator Blake Baker is looking to fix the unit by bringing an entirely new position to LSU.

The Star position is a defensive back that plays close to the line of scrimmage and has the responsibilities of an outside linebacker and a nickel corner. Baker’s defenses utilize the Star to help cover slot receivers and play underneath zones.

“The Star gives you a lot more versatility in your defensive structure,” Brian Kelly said. “A guy that can play man coverage, a guy that can blitz, a guy that can play zone coverage, a really good tackler, athletic in space. Also, a guy that’s rugged enough that if you put a tight end, he can handle himself at the line of scrimmage.”

LSU safety Major Burns is making the switch to that position this spring. He spent last season as a more traditional deep safety for an LSU defense that struggled mightily. Burns led the team in tackles, but also struggled at times with missed tackles like much of the LSU defense did last season.

Ryan Yaites and Austin Ausberry were backups to Burns at the Star position during Saturday’s practice.

“We felt like Major [Burns] really fit that role in terms of the star,” Kelly said. “He’s closer to the football and he has those skills that we’re looking for.”

With Burns playing closer to the line of scrimmage LSU has an opening in the defensive backfield that junior Sage Ryan has filled. Ryan made multiple big plays for the LSU defense on Saturday and recorded three interceptions. All three came against starting quarterback Garrett Nussmeier.

“Sage obviously is a guy that we moved around all over trying to find a spot for him,” Kelly said. “He’s got speed, he’s got athleticism. Obviously, that was a position that needed some depth, and he provides that experience that we were lacking at that position.”

Ryan played next to Texas A&M transfer Jardin Gilbert. Gilbert was a starter for the Aggies last season before a shoulder injury ended his junior campaign in the second game of the season.

Javien Toviano and Ashton Stamps played at corner for the LSU defense while Zy Alexander remains out as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered las season. Jyaire Brown and PJ Woodland took second-team reps for the defense at corner.

Recruiting news

LSU extended an offer to five-star wide receiver Dallas Wilson this weekend. Wilson is the nation’s No. 4 wide receiver in the nation and No. 22 overall player according to 247 Sports.

Wilson is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound wideout from Florida where he attends Tampa Bay Tech High School. As a sophomore he caught 40 passes for 875 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is currently committed to Oregon.

LSU also hosted four-star defensive lineman Kevin Oatis during its spring practice this weekend. Oatis plays for Hattiesburg High School in Mississippi and is the No. 20 defensive lineman in the country and the No. 8 player in Mississippi. He plays defensive tackle; a position LSU is trying to add depth to.

He currently has offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, USC and Arkansas. He’ll make official visits to those schools later this summer.

Oatis got to watch LSU’s practice and meet defensive line coach Bo Davis as well as new defensive coordinator Blake Baker. Davis started recruiting Oatis during his time with Texas.

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Will Nickel

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