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2013 Blitz: #31 D.J. Welter

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Will D.J. Welter replace Kevin Minter in the middle in 2013?

LSU is 28 days away from the start of fall camp and Geaux247 continues to take a look at the returning veterans to get you to the beginning of camp.

Today, we take a look at junior linebacker D.J. Welter .

#31 D.J. Welter

Coming out of High School: There was never a question on if D.J. Welter would commit to LSU.

The question was when would the Tigers offer the three-star linebacker out of Notre Dame-Crowley.

Les Miles made that offer on a Thursday morning and 12 days later Welter and his family made the drive over to Baton Rouge to finalize things with a handshake in early March.

Northwestern (Big 10) also offered early on, and others would have followed suit had it now been known that Welter was all LSU.

The Tigers liked what they saw in the 6-foot, 220-pounder early on as he recorded 108 tackles as a sophomore.

Welter, who was a three-year starter for the Pios, racked up 128 tackles as a junior and capped his career off with 143 stops as a senior including two straight LSWA Class 3A All-State awards.

LSU Career: Welter made more news last summer when he was forced to miss the 2012 regular season campaign due to an academic suspension than he had the previous two years.

As expected, Welter redshirted in 2010 so he could get bigger and stronger.

The following season, John Chavis played him in seven games and he totaled five tackles including a career-high three against Ole Miss.

The 2012 season wasn’t a complete wash as Welter played in the season finale against Clemson and logged a pair of stops.

Some speculated that he was a prime candidate to transfer to a smaller in-state school during the spring or summer due to LSU’s depth at linebacker. However, Welter did the opposite.

What we expect to see in 2013: One of the biggest surprises to come out of the spring was Welter getting a chance to replace Kevin Minter at Mike linebacker.

What was more surprising to many was the fact that Welter ended the spring as the starter when most expected Lamin Barrow to slide over to the middle and one of the high-profile sophomore linebackers to start alongside Barrow and Tahj Jones.

Sources tell us that Welter made a strong impression on Chavis during the 2012 season when he was relegated to scout team duty while serving his suspension.

Rather than close up shop and sit around and sulk over the hand he was dealt, Welter did the opposite and was a total team player. He used that time to his advantage in the weight room and also in the film room. And it has paid off as he is noticeably bigger and playing with a purpose.

Les Miles recognized Welter with an award for outstanding performance in LSU’s off-season program when the spring wrapped up, along with notice for players who made the most improvement during spring drills.

While he was able to exit the spring with a hold on the starting spot in the middle, sources tell us that the competition is far from over as Chavis will continue to monitor his linebackers in fall camp in an effort to get the best combination on the field.

Kwon Alexander, Lamar Louis and Deion Jones are pushing for playing time, and all three will play in 2013.

Alexander is more athletic than Welter and is able to play sideline-to-sideline. He also made a strong case in the spring game when he led the Purple squad with seven tackles, while Welter was in on just two for the White team.

At some point in the coming months, some feel like Barrow will slide over to the middle because Alexander is too good and too much of a playmaker to keep on the sideline. Others feel that Alexander will slide into the Mike.

I’m in agreement that either of those scenarios seems logical. But, after seeing Welter go through a summer workout, he isn’t going to sit idle and lose his spot without a fight.

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