Ed Orgeron and Co. just put a bow on a second consecutive top-15 recruiting class.
LSU’s 2018 signing class emphasized keeping Louisiana’s best prospects in-state. More specifically, 11 of the top-20 prospects in the state landed in Baton Rouge, while the rest of the class featured some national flavor.
Nine members of the class already have enrolled on campus; the rest will follow suit in June to prepare for fall camp.
SEC Country broke down which members of the Tigers 2018 signing class will be all-conference and national award recipients, not to mention a couple of future Heisman Trophy candidates.
Micah Baskerville, LB: The U.S. Army All-American linebacker is one of the more versatile prospects in the state and will be mentored closely by Devin White for the Rover position. While it likely will be difficult for Baskerville to climb the depth chart as a freshman, he will be a force on special teams and a candidate for a starting position by 2019. He is a force against the run with great sideline-to-sideline speed and is deceptively effective in pass coverage.
Badara Traore, OT: Traore has the true build of an NFL tackle, something LSU has lacked for several seasons. First-year offensive line coach James Cregg will have a chance to refine his technique just as he did with former first-round pick Tyron Smith at Southern Cal. The nation’s top-ranked junior college tackle, Traore will have a chance to earn a starting spot right away.
Jarell Cherry, DE/OLB: Cherry plays with a mean streak. He aggressively pursues the quarterback and takes good angles. As he adds strength and works with both Orgeron and new defensive line coach Dennis Johnson on his technique, he should be a force coming off the edge. Expect him to eventually succeed K’Lavon Chaisson as the Tigers’ Bench linebacker.
Dare Rosenthal, DL: Rosenthal very well could be the next great offensive tackle for LSU, but he’ll first take snaps one defense. At 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds, he could see reps both inside and outside, where he already possesses the strength to give offensive linemen headaches. Rosenthal needs to refine his technique, but his size and power will make for easy mismatches.
Damone Clark, LB: Clark spent part of his high school career at safety before shifting to linebacker. He could play either inside or at the Field-LB spot, where he can split time rushing the passer and dropping back into coverage. A naturally gifted athlete, Clark will be another contributor in LSU’s loaded linebacking corps and should carve out a role on special teams right away.
Dantrieze Scott, DE/OLB: The most overlooked member of the Tigers 2018 signing class, the versatile Scott is incredibly gifted as a pure edge rusher. While he’ll need some time to add some muscle, Scott’s quick hips and ability to bend or bully offensive tackles will be a sight to see. He will be a double-digit sack artist in due time.
Kelvin Joseph, DB: Joseph has long been the top defensive back in Louisiana, earning all-state honors at cornerback and safety. He’ll begin his LSU career at nickel safety but should see snaps across the secondary. He’s a hard hitter and physical at the point of attack. Eventually, expect Joseph to have a Jamal Adams-like role as an enforcer against the run, a turnover machine and return specialist.
Terrace Marshall Jr., WR: Expect Marshall to be an immediate contributor in LSU’s new-look passing game designed by Steve Ensminger. His 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame paired with crisp route-running and soft hands will make for a reliable to-go receiver for whomever takes snaps behind center in 2018 and beyond. Marshall not only can be a possession receiver, but he can emerge as one of the better big-play threats in the nation.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR: LSU reeled in an impressive four-receiver haul, but Chase ultimately may be the best of the bunch. Often overlooked, Chase is a big play waiting to happen. He is explosive and can be used in several ways. The most accurate comp for the 4-star prospect is Odell Beckham Jr., another New Orleans native, because of his X-factor ability. Chase should thrive as an athlete that can be used out of the backfield, on screen passes, on slants and fades down the field. Essentially, put the ball in his hands and let Chase do the rest.