Not many schools have cranked out pro prospects on the defensive side of the ball as LSU has, evidenced by the Tigers' 9 selections in last year's NFL Draft. 8 of those draft picks were defensive prospects, and 2013 marked the 7th straight year that an LSU defensive back has been selected, and the 6th consecutive draft where a defensive tackle was chosen. 2014 brings to the forefront a new crop of talented Tigers looking to find their paths into the NFL. One of these players is Linebacker Lamin Barrow, a 5th year Senior who capped a productive career in Baton Rouge with a more than solid showing at the scouting combine in Indianapolis earlier this week.
Lamin Barrow came to LSU from John Ehret High School in Marrero, La on the Westbank of New Orleans. Barrow spent his first college season in 2009 redshirting, honing his skills in the classroom and improving in the weight room under the watchful eye of Defensive Coordinator and Linebacking guru John Chavis. As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Barrow gradually made his way onto the field seeing more playing time week by week and contributing on special teams. He gained invaluable experience learning from the likes of future pros Kelvin Sheppard and Kevin Minter in the Tigers' defense. In his very first game against North Carolina, a game which he started due to an injury to Junior LB Ryan Baker, Barrow recovered a fumble on one of his first snaps on the field.LSU LB Lamin Barrow (18) makes a tackle vs. Florida
Barrow entered 2011 with the opportunity to expand his role on the defense. He once again spent time behind the Tigers' more veteran Linebackers and made his biggest impact on special teams. Barrow continued to get reps at the weakside Linebacker spot while also making the most of extra reps at the other 2 Linebacker positions during practice. 2011 was another step in the right direction for Barrow, as he helped LSU win the Southeastern Conference and earn an appearance in the BCS Championship game. A rising Junior, a much bigger role awaited him in 2012.
Barrow would go on to start all of LSU's 13 games in 2012, posting career highs in tackles, tackles for loss, passes defended and forced fumbles. He also posted 4 double digit tackle games and emerged as a leader on defense for a team looking to replace a spate of talented players who were drafted that spring including Morris Claiborne, Michael Brockers, Ron Brooks and Brandon Taylor. Barrow excelled against both the pro style offenses and spread attacks that the Tigers faced that season. He used the 2012 season to set the stage for his final campaign in purple and gold, and unbeknownst to him at the time, a big honor was waiting in the wings for the rising 5th year senior.
Shortly before the 2013 season began, Head Coach Les Miles and the LSU players bestowed one of the greatest honors in LSU Football upon Barrow, as he was granted the privilege of wearing the famous #18 jersey, a tradition which honors a player who embodies leadership qualities and displays what it means to be a Tiger both on and off the field. He went on to lead the team in tackles and set a career high in sacks. He had a standout performance in the Tigers' September victory over eventual SEC champs and national runners-up Auburn and helped hold a young defense together as the Tigers once again looked to patch the losses of several key contributors from the previous season to the NFL. Barrow parlayed his solid senior campaign into an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he used the valuable time in front of pro coaches and scouts to display his skills and show that he can play any Linebacker position necessary in any scheme.Lamin Barrow (18) and a teammate bring down Johnny Manziel
A good athlete who moves well and has experience dropping into pass coverage in Chavis' multiple defensive looks, Barrow seems a likely 3rd day pick who should be off the board in the 4th or 5th round according to most draft experts. His experience biding time behind veteran players and ability to excel on special teams bodes well as he looks to stick on an NFL roster. Barrow will need to improve his strength and ability to win at the point of attack if he is to become more than just a rotational player at the next level. He showed improved speed by recording an official 40 yard dash time of 4.64 seconds, the 3rd fastest time posted by a Linebacker prospect. Barrow has already added 10 pounds of muscle as he looks to fill out his body in hopes of one day becoming that every down player in the NFL.
After a successful college career at LSU, Lamin Barrow hopes to bring his game to an NFL city in 2014 with productive experience playing in the NCAA's toughest league alongside and against many eventual pros. Barrow looks to become one of the next crop of prospects to represent LSU at the next level, following last year's impressive haul.