BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Four LSU linebackers have been named to the Butkus Award Watch List. The quartet of Tigers is the most from any school in the US.
The candidates are sophomore K’Lavon Chaisson, senior Michael Divinity, junior Jacob Phillips, and junior Patrick Queen.
Chaisson suffered a season-ending injury in last year’s opener against Miami. In that game, he had five tackles and a sack. LSU reported Chaisson is fully recovered and will be at full strength when training camp starts next week. At 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds, Chaisson is explosive on the outside with tremendous quickness and a great first step to get around the edge.
Divinity recorded 5.0 sacks last season to lead the team in that category. He also had 54 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss, which was good enough to rank him No. 2 for the Tigers. He had an interception against Mississippi State and returned a fumble 58 yards for a touchdown against Texas A&M. The 6-foot-2, 238-pound middle linebacker is known for his mental and physical toughness.
Phillips is LSU’s top returning tackler from 2018. He registered 87 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss. He also returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown in the win over Miami. Phillips was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the win over the Hurricanes. The 6-foot-4, 229-pounder also recorded a sack against Rice. Phillips is regarded as a hard-hitting pure athlete who makes plays all over the field. He will be looked up to have a bigger role this season with the departure of Devin White, last year’s Butkus Award winner, who was selected No. 5 overall by the Tampa Bay Bucs in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Queen had 40 tackles in 2018 and saved his best for last. He led the Tigers with nine tackles and a sack in the win over UCF in the Fiesta Bowl. His first career start was against Alabama. In that contest, he recorded nine tackles, including two tackles for loss. At 6-foot-2 and 232 pounds, Queen is versatile, with a combination of speed and physicality. He is good against the run and the pass.
The Butkus Award is presented annually to the best linebacker in college football.