For LSU, the DBU moniker is as impressive as it is long, and, with the current talent on hand, the Tiger tradition of producing stellar professional defensive backs looks as if it’ll continue.
With Jalen Mills being a senior and Tre’Davious White a draft-eligible junior, the pair seem prime and ready to join Corey Webster, Patrick Peterson, and Eric Reid among the many other former Tiger defensive backs who went on to play in the NFL.
Projected professionals lie all across the 2015 defensive back depth chart, including one player who has yet to take a single snap.
True freshman Kevin Toliver II was rated as one of the best prospects coming out of Trinity Christian High School in Jacksonville, Fla., this past year. For a while he was considered the best, but ultimately finished as the No. 8 composite player in the country and second best corner in the 2015 signing class according to 247Sports.
But perhaps the most impressive thing about Toliver is his early commitment to LSU and that it never wavered. Toliver committed to LSU on November 4, 2012, which was his sophomore year of high school.
“Growing up I wanted to be a part of LSU and DBU,” Tolliver said. “Watching them growing up, I just knew once I got that offer I was going to come here.”
For the rest of his high school career, Toliver took his fair share of official and unofficial visits to several universities, but never considered going elsewhere.
“I was locked ever since I committed,” Tolliver said.
With the opposite starting cornerback job open due to Jalen Collins’ early departure to the NFL and Rashard Robinson’s departure from the program, Toliver and sophomore Ed Paris are competing to be the Tiger’s No. 2 corner behind Tre’Davious White.
Despite gunning for a starting job with Paris, Toliver doesn’t think it’s a competition because of the ample availability of playing time for both players.
“I don’t think it’s really a competition,” Toliver said. “We both know we’re going to get playing time and it’s going to be a really good rotation of playing time and we’ll both make plays.”
From an experience standpoint, Toliver is not a vast disadvantage to Paris. Toliver enrolled on campus in January and was able to partake in all spring football activities. Toliver even recorded an interception in LSU’s spring game.
“(Enrolling early) has been a big help,” Toliver said. “Learning the playbook was my main goal and coming in early and getting adjusted to Coach Steele.”
Toliver is a physical corner. Listed at 6-foot-2, Toliver uses his long arms to jam wide receivers at the line. His 192 pound stature should allow him to hold his own with some of the bigger wide receivers in the SEC like Ole Miss’s Laquon Treadwell and Auburn’s Duke Williams.
“I think I can check them,” Toliver said. “I just have to listen to my coaches, take it game by game and watch a lot of film.”
For all the publicity and pride the football program puts into DBU, Toliver was surprised at how seriously older players like Mills, White and Jamal Adams place into the tradition.
“I knew this was DBU, but I didn’t know they took it this serious,” Toliver said. “They really took it seriously, and I respect that and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
With as many great former Tiger defensive backs playing in the NFL, one would expect that Toliver would have a player he would like to emulate or model his game after. But that’s not the case.
“I don’t want to be the next anyone,” Toliver said. “I want to be the only Kevin Toliver.”