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Christian Lacouture Set To Play Hybrid LB/DE Role At Nebraska

The big lineman made a surprise appearance at 7on7 Saturday.

It's not entirely unusual to see hulking linemen out at the summer 7on7 events reserved for the skill position players. However, said hulking linemen are normally of the offensive variety and only out there to snap the ball for their quarterback.

2013 College Station (TX) A&M Consolidated defensive lineman Christian Lacouture was out in his hometown on Saturday and he wasn't there to snap the ball. The 6-5, 265-pounder was out there to work at tight end and catch passes. Intent on working on his hands, Lacouture showed that he has the ability to become an effective red zone threat for the Tigers this fall when he works as a situational tight end, a position he played only briefly last year.

For a big guy, Lacouture looked good catching the ball:

While it was clearly difficult for a player of his mass to get in and out of breaks, he did evidence solid hands and even did a good job of attacking the football and catching it away from his body. He even showed some strong athleticism for his size leaping (sort of) and catching a touchdown pass while falling.

While there have been some questions about where he will end up, Lacouture is going to play on the defensive side of the ball in college. The big defensive lineman said that the Nebraska coaches want him to play a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role that would at times use him dropping into coverage in the multiple 'Husker fronts from a two-point stance.

It's something of an unusual position for someone with the size of Lacouture -- he's a few biscuits away from being a defensive tackle. However, he does have experience at the position after playing there as a sophomore at Odessa (TX) Permian, where he played before making the move to College Station.

After playing defensive tackle as a junior, Lacouture will play some defensive end and also spend some time in that hybrid role for A&M Consolidated, which will provide further experience there.

In preparation for the move, he indicated that's he's been working with a former NFL player five days a week on his footwork to maintain his weight and to work on his change-of-direction skills that would be necessary to play the position.

Besides selling him on the tradition of the program, the Nebraska coaches also sold Lacouture on the potential of early time. The fact that he will graduate early from high school to go through spring practice next year bodes well for those efforts to get on the field as a freshman.

Here's the scouting report on Lacouture when in pads:

Several of the services categorize Lacouture as a defensive end, but at 6-5 and 260 pounds, with plenty of room for growth, Lacouture will almost certainly grow into a defensive tackle when he gets into the weight program at Nebraska. However, Nebraska recruited him as a 3-4 defensive end and outside linebacker. On the field, his motor consistently runs hot, which allows him to run down plays some defensive linemen would not be able to make.

While not a superlative athlete, Lacouture has solid quickness, both off the ball and laterally and does show evidence of pass-rushing moves, including a swim move and a rip move -- he's fairly advanced there for someone of his age. And despite being considered a defensive end prospect by some, he has played inside in high school, so he may have a steeper learning curve at the position than some high school defensive ends who have to slide down to defensive tackle in college.

My take: For his size, Lacouture moves really well and benefits from not carrying any bad weight around his midsection. Still, it's hard to see him staying at the hybrid linebacker role because he's already so big -- which makes it difficult to change direction -- and looks like to eventually end up north of 280 pounds.

For more on Huskers football, visit Nebraska blog Corn Nation, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.