When Devin White won the 2018 Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker, Ed Orgeron had to have been one of the least surprised by his star defender’s latest national honor.

Having been coaching in college football for many decades all around the nation, Coach O has seen some elite linebacking play from his players. According to the LSU head coach, White stacks up with the best he’s ever seen. While that’s praise you often hear from some coaches, it means that much more considering some of the players Orgeron has been around during his coaching career.

Here is what Coach O had to say when asked about White winning the Butkus Award during his Tuesday Fiesta Bowl press conference.

“Very happy for him, and for our team,” Orgeron said. “Devin is one that wants to win a championship. He said that, wants to win for Louisiana. He was not interested in individual awards. The way they did it was first class and his team was very excited for him.”

If you were unaware, Orgeron experienced coaching future NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis during his days at Miami and six-time All-Pro, former Butkus Winner and two-time All-American Patrick Willis during his days at Ole Miss.

Coach O says White matches up with both of those all-time players.

“In my opinion, he’s the best linebackers in the country,” Orgeron noted. “I’ve been a part of Ray Lewis, I’ve been a part of Patrick Willis, and he’s right in that group. No question, one of the best I’ve ever been a part of, as far as a middle linebacker and I still think he’s going to get better. I think he’s going to have a tremendous pro career.”

That’s a bold claim but coming from a coach that’s seen them all in action during their college days, there may not be a better judge of their talents than Orgeron.

Finally, Coach O credited White for finishing out the season, something cornerback Greedy Williams will not do.

“(White) could have opted to not play,” Coach O continued. “He has not told me if he’s declaring. He has done what he should do and finish with his team.”