LSU’s Welter holding own at middle linebacker
By Lisa Soileaux
As of mid-August, the middle linebacker position for the LSU Tigers was still up for grabs. Local interest, you ask?
That position was filled by D.J. Welter, a 2010 graduate of Notre Dame who resides northwest of Rayne near the Mire community.
At graduation, Welter was noticed nationally, ranked as a top prospect at outside linebacker. But until reports came out of spring practice, his name was not mentioned much prior to the start of the 2013 season.
Redshirted as a true freshman in 2010, he played in seven games with no starts in the 2011 season while seeing some playing time on special teams and as a reserve linebacker.
During his sophomore (2012) year, Welter played in just one game after being ruled ineligible for academic reasons prior to the season-opener against North Texas. During that long season, he practiced with the team, but was unable to participate in games.
“I never gave in,” stated Welter during that dark part of his early playing career with the Tigers. “I knew I had to work hard and give my best everyday, regardless if I was playing or not.”
He was declared eligible to play last December when he filled in for a cramping Kevin Miter when the Tigers met Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He turned in two tackles and never looked back.
All that hard work and extra workouts by Welter during the off season, in addition to an outstanding performance during the team’s spring practice, he was named starting middle linebacker for the start of the 2013 season and has held on to that position.
All that hard work has seen Welter earn the Veteran Most Improved Award following spring practice last April, and he hasn’t let up since.
“It’s so intense and always a constant fight to keep your staring position,” stated Welter when speaking of his new starting roll for the Tigers. “I’m just trying to hold on to my starting position by minimizing mistakes, executing the plays called, and make the big plays when they come my way.”
Welter replaces 2012 All-American and second-round draft pick Kevin Minter at middle linebacker, some big shoes to fill.
“Kevin (Minter) left some big shoes to fill and I’m trying my hardest to help my teammates,” Welter concluded.
Welter is 2010 graduate of Notre Dame High School of Acadia Parish in Crowley, helping the Pios to a 3-A state championship in 2009 after finishing runner-up in 2008.
He is the second of four children of Frederick “Fritz” and Tremayne Welter of Rayne. He is continuing his major at LSU in business.