LSU normally plays only three, sometimes just two linebackers at a time, and the Tigers lost the reigning Butkus Award winner when Devin White was the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Bucs.
But the Tigers still had four linebackers who on Monday were named to this year's watch list for the award, which is presented annually to the nation's best linebacker.
It was the most by any school in the country. The Tigers being considered are sophomore K'Lavon Chaisson, senior Michael Divinity and juniors Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen.
Also Monday, safety Grant Delpit named the watch list for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation's best defensive back. Delpit had already been named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which goes to college football's best defensive player.
Chaisson, a sophomore, was considered the Tigers' best pass rusher entering last season, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter of the opening game against Miami.
Phillips is LSU's top returning tackler with 87, including 5.5 for loss. He also returned an interception for a score in the season opener.Divinity had 54 tackles last season and the led the team in sacks with 10.5 stops for losses. He had a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown against Texas A&M.
Queen had 40 tackles last season and had perhaps his best game in the Fiesta Bowl win over Central Florida with nine tackles and a sack.
Delpit, who led the SEC with five interceptions last year, was also just the ninth player in LSU history to be named All-American unanimously.
White was the first LSU player ever to win the Butkus Award. The Tigers have had two previous Thorpe Award winners — Patrick Peterson (2010) and Morris Claiborne (2011).
LSU players on watch lists
Davey O'Brien Award — Joe Burrow.
Maxwell Award — Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Bednarik Award — Grant Delpit, Kristian Fulton.
Biletnikoff Award — Justin Jefferson.
Rimington Trophy — Lloyd Cushenberry.
Butkus Award — Jim Thorpe Award — Grant Delpit.
Butkus Award — K'Lavon Chaisson, Michael Divinity, Patrick Queen, Jacob Phillips.