Minter emerged as LSU's starting middle linebacker a season later, ranking fifth on the team with 61 tackles. He also registered 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. While observers expected Minter to improve in his second season in the middle, few predicted he'd explode as one of the most productive linebackers in the country.
Minter earned consensus First Team All-SEC honors, was named a Butkus Award finalist and received a host of All-American recognition for a breakout junior campaign that saw him nearly double his tackle numbers (111) and actually lead a gifted LSU defense with 13.5 tackles for loss (including three sacks).
Minter's anticipation, penchant for the game-turning play and production against elite competition speaks for itself. However, he'll have to turn around a troubling trend for LSU linebackers in the NFL. Despite frequently churning out all-conference linebackers, few have gone on to enjoy similar distinction in the NFL.
Instinctive and physical, Minter was the most dependable player on an LSU defense chock-full of prospective NFL talent.
Aggressive and shows little regard for his own body, jumping into the pile. Isn't often a textbook hitter but consistently gets his man to the ground in the open field, showing good upper body strength for the drag down tackle. Uses his hands well to strip away at the ball as he is making the tackle.
Times the snap well as a blitzer and closes quickly. Reads the quarterback's eyes nicely when in pass coverage and has a feel for what is happening around him. Enough lateral agility and speed to cover backs. Passionate player with a high-revving motor.
WEAKNESSES: Isn't the physical thumper that some teams prefer in the middle and may lack the sheer athleticism to handle the switch outside vs. NFL speed. Prefers to elude or spin away from blockers rather than physically taking them on and shedding and when he is locked up, Minter struggles to get free.
Wraps his arms around runners' legs for the sure stop but isn't a consistently explosive hitter who'll strike fear into ball-carriers. Has been surrounded by an awful lot of speed in Baton Rouge and does not appear to have elite speed, himself. Can be beaten to the sideline and relies on angles, vision and effort, rather than speed to track down ball-carriers when in pursuit.
COMPARES TO: DeMeco Ryans, MLB, Philadelphia Eagles -- Like Ryans, Minter is slightly undersized and relies on his instincts and reliable tackling ability -- rather than sheer explosiveness -- to accumulate impressive stat-lines.