Yesterday, we met Mike Jeune, the backup weakside linebacker. Today we'll meet the starter, who is already one of the best linebackers in the Big East and has plenty of time to get even better.
#34 LB Devekeyan "DeDe" Lattimore
Redshirt Sophomore, 6'2", 237 lbs.
Stats in 2010: As a redshirt freshman, Lattimore played in all 13 games and started 12. He made a total of 69 tackles, second only to Jacquian Williams, and also added 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. The great Phil Steele named Lattimore to his freshman All-America team. (Steele's ideas should be intriguing to you, and you should like to subscribe to his newsletter.)
Current Position On Depth Chart: DeDe is the starter at weakside linebacker and has one of the safest starting jobs on the team.
How He Came To USF: Lattimore arrived from Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, Georgia, where he played both running back and linebacker. His junior season in 2007 garnered him much of his attention -- he piled up 118 tackles, 18 TFLs, and 12 sacks, and also ran for 631 yards while averaging nearly six yards per carry. Lattimore chose the Bulls in January 2009 over offers from Auburn, Louisville, Michigan, Oklahoma State, and others.
Recruiting Rankings: Rivals gave Lattimore three stars and listed him as the 66th inside linebacker in the class of 2009. They also ranked him as the #71 overall prospect in Georgia. Scout listed DeDe as a strong-side linebacker and ranked him 15th overall at that position, giving him a three-star rating.
Projected Playing Time In 2011: While the coaches have been raving about Jeune all offseason, Lattimore is clearly the starter at the will linebacker spot. Big East Coast Bias's blogger poll (including us) named Lattimore to their preseason All-Big East team, and he may appear on the official preseason team when that list is released during Big East media days this week. Either way, Lattimore should be on the field for most plays and might exceed his freshman numbers.