It’s just about five weeks until National Signing Day, which means recruiting season is just about to spike as schools look to fill the final needs of their classes before Feb. 3.
LSU remains in the mix for a number of big-time prospects at an array of positions, and that’s partly because the Tigers have a handful of needs up and down their roster.
With a number of current players set to graduate and others potentially declaring for the 2016 NFL Draft, and some positions not being addressed in their current recruiting class, several needs remain apparent.
Here are the four biggest needs that still remain in LSU’s recruiting class:
The most important and most scrutinized position, LSU’s quarterback gets as much attention as perhaps any in the country.
Brandon Harris will be a junior next season, and Danny Etling, Anthony Jennings and Justin McMillan will be the only other quarterbacks under scholarship.
Sure, that sounds like a pretty steep depth chart. But ask yourself this: if Harris continues to hold onto the starting job, who’s next?
LSU lost top recruit Feleipe Franks to rival Florida. Even before that, LSU swung and missed on former Louisiana quarterback Shea Patterson, who’s locked in to Ole Miss despite playing most of his high school football just three and a half hours away.
Looking ahead, LSU already lost 2017 in-state prospects Lowell Narcisse and Keytaon Thompson to Auburn and Mississippi State, respectively.
LSU is not in the mix for many of the top quarterback prospects, and most are already committed elsewhere.
However, LSU is reportedly trying to sign another quarterback to its 2016 class, and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has spoken to unranked pro-style quarterback Anthony Russo of Archbishop Wood High School (Warminster, Pa.), who’s a Rutgers pledge. Additionally, LSU is making a push for Dwayne Haskins of Bullis High School (Potomac, Md.), who’s committed to Maryland.
It seems as if LSU is trying to gain a quarterback for its 2016 class. The biggest obstacle at this point is a lack of options.
LSU fans know all too well that coach Les Miles and Cameron want to pound the rock with Leonard Fournette.
If that philosophy is going to hold true, the Bayou Bengals need to continue to bolster their offensive line, which is set to lose longtime starting right tackle Vadal Alexander. Additionally, left tackle Jerald Hawkins is a top candidate to declare for the NFL draft.
That leaves an inexperienced crew of Jevonte Diamond, Toby Weathersby and George Brown Jr. to man the tackle spots.
LSU has one offensive tackle commit in its current class — 3-star prospect Jakori Savage. However, the Tigers remain in the hunt for a number of prospects who could earn early playing time.
Four-star tackle Willie Allen of John Curtis Christian School (New Orleans) is the top uncommitted tackle in the nation, and has his choice of SEC schools. Four-star tackle Jean Delance of North Mesquite (Mesquite, Texas) also placed LSU in his top three this week. LSU is also a likely finalist for 4-star tackle Scott Lashley of West Point High School (West Point, Miss.).
LSU is clearly making tackle a priority given the expected turnover at the position in 2016. Securing a commitment from another tackle will be absolutely critical to this year’s class.
Much like offensive tackle, linebacker is and should be a point of emphasis for LSU in this recruiting class.
LSU is set to lose its SAM and WILL linebackers Lamar Louis and Deion Jones, and could also lose MIKE backer Kendell Beckwith Jr. to the NFL draft.
As it stands today, LSU has only one commitment from an outside linebacker — Ereck Fowler. However, the Tigers are in the running for some of the best remaining players at the position, giving them a higher likelihood of winding up with a loaded class should things fall the right way.
LSU cracked the top three for 4-star Alabama standout Ben Davis, but is behind both Alabama and UGA. New Orleans’ Michael Divinity was committed to LSU for months, but de-committed earlier this month due to a strong push from Texas A&M. LSU remains one of Divinity’s top two choices.
Four-star Alabama product Lyndell Wilson, the top outside backer in the country, will consider LSU, but the Tigers face stark competition from ‘Bama, Florida and UGA, among others.
LSU could fare better with 4-star North Carolina outside linebacker Keion Joyner and 4-star inside linebacker Rahshaun Smith of IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.).
Being in the race for these top-tier backers is a positive; securing commitments from them will be essential.
Always a hallmark of LSU’s recruiting classes, the Tigers have commitments from four defensive backs thus far, including two corners.
Junior Tre’Davious White is another starter who’s in the discussion to declare for the draft, and despite a wealth of talent at the position remaining on the depth chart LSU would be wise to continue stockpiling the top talent across the nation instead of allowing them to go to rival schools.
No. 2 cornerback Saivion Smith of IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and 4-star Louisiana corner Andraez Williams are cemented into LSU’s 2016 recruiting class. Still, the Tigers remain strong contenders for three of the top uncommitted corners in the nation.
Four-star Florida cornerback Trayvon Mullen, 4-star New Orleans cornerback Kristian Fulton and 4-star Louisiana cornerback Shyheim Carter are all on LSU’s wish list over the final five weeks.
LSU’s biggest competition for Mullen comes from Florida State and Clemson, and the official visit to Baton Rouge, La. could seal the deal. Fulton has his choice of SEC schools, including Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M, among others. LSU may or may not receive an official visit from the in-state star, but that may not matter as he’s taken a handful of unofficial visits to LSU. Carter, another Louisiana native, unofficially visited LSU twice this fall, but the Tigers may be too far behind the likes of Alabama, UGA and Ole Miss to land the in-state prospect.
Mullen, the highest-rated of the three, may ultimately wind up committing to the Tigers, though it’s hard to completely rule out a commitment from Fulton.