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BATON ROUGE – Next!

Chad Lavalais was the first All-Southeastern Conference first team defensive tackle from LSU this decade in 2003. He went in the fifth round of the NFL Draft in 2004.

When Claude Wroten arrived from a junior college later in 2004, he was asked if he could replace Lavalais.

Wroten was a first team All-SEC and an All-American defensive tackle in 2005. He went in the third round of the 2006 draft. Kyle Williams was also a first team All-SEC defensive tackle in 2005 and went in the fifth round of the 2006 draft.

When Glenn Dorsey moved into a regular starting role in 2006, he was asked if he could replace the likes of Wroten and Williams.

Dorsey was a first team All-SEC choice in 2006 and 2007, but that’s toward the back of his trophy case. He was also named All-American both years while taking home the Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi and Lott awards last year before going as the fifth pick of the first round in the last NFL Draft.

It’s Ricky Jean-Francois’ turn now.

“Nobody can replace Glenn Dorsey,” defensive end Tyson Jackson said, “but a guy like Ricky Jean can come in and be the man. I think Ricky Jean will have a great year and follow the long line of tackles we’ve had here.”

Jean-Francois, a junior from Miami, is an inch taller than Dorsey at 6-foot-3 and about 20 pounds lighter at 281. He may not be able to clog the middle and toss linemen around as Dorsey did, but he can run better and can also play defensive end.

“He’s not as heavy,” LSU coach Les Miles said of Jean-Francois. “But I think he’s more angular. I think he may be more athletic, and he plays with great leverage. He’s really a very strong man, so I like both of them.”

Dorsey played hurt a lot last season. Jean-Francois played without a lot of preparation. He played only the last two games of the season because of an academic-related suspension that lasted a year. He was the defensive most valuable player of the national championship game after making six tackles with a half a sack, a stop behind the line, a quarterback hurry and a blocked field goal. He played in 12 games with one start in 2006 and made 27 tackles with three sacks, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal.

the news star
8/7/08