We are knocking on the door of National Signing Day, and there is mounting pressure on LSU to keep a hold on the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class.
LSU has already secured a recruiting class deserving of national recognition, but there is still plenty left to be decided on Wednesday when some of the Tigers’ top targets make their decision official.
Here’s a short breakdown of LSU’s recruiting class as it is currently constructed, some of the players already enrolled at the university, the major storylines to follow on signing day and, of course, what we expect to ultimately happen by the end of the day on Wednesday.
LSU class breakdown
Ranking: No. 1 in the nation
Top targets: Kristian Fulton, Trayvon Mullen, Jauan Williams, D’Andre Christmas-Giles, Deontay Anderson
Total projected signees: 28
Names to know
Michael Divinity, LB — One of Louisiana’s most dominant high school linebackers the past two seasons, Divinity is an early enrollee at LSU and expected to be in the mix for one of the starting linebacker spots next to Kendell Beckwith. Divinity is equally as effective in run stoppage as he is dropping back into pass coverage, and he is a dynamite fit for new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s 3-4 defense.
Kristian Fulton, CB — Like Divinity, Fulton has been one of the best ball-hawking cornerbacks in Louisiana each of the past two seasons. Rated as the nation’s No. 2 cornerback, Fulton recorded 11 interceptions in nine games during his junior year, leading to national attention. A long, athletic cornerback, Fulton could vie for immediate playing time in LSU’s secondary and help continue the Tigers’ reputation as “DBU.”
Rashard Lawrence, DT — The lone five-star prospect in LSU’s 2016 recruiting class as it’s currently constructed, Lawrence spent much of the fall as Louisiana’s top-rated prospect. His unique combination of strength and quickness helped lead Neville High School (Monroe, La.) to back-to-back Class 4A state championships. Lawrence committed to LSU over Ohio State after declaring that the Tigers had the best chances of winning a national championship — not only in 2016, but in the years to come. Lawrence should instantly find his way into LSU’s defensive line rotation.
Lindsey Scott, QB — The only quarterback in LSU’s 2016 recruiting class, Scott committed to LSU over the weekend after taking an official visit to Baton Rouge, La. Scott’s commitment to the Tigers could symbolize an eventual shift in philosophies, as both coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told Louisiana’s Mr. Football that they want to cater the offense around Scott’s dual-threat ability. Scott amassed more than 5,000 yards and 60 touchdowns while leading Zachary High School (Zachary, La.) to a Class 5A state title in 2015.
Saivion Smith, CB — Whether LSU can land Fulton or Mullen remains to be seen. Regardless, the Tigers have a talented four-star cornerback enrolled early at the university in Smith. The nation’s No. 5 cornerback, Smith boasts impressive size (6-foot-3, 175 pounds) and instincts. The Florida native will get a chance to practice with the team this spring and seems destined to join the secondary rotation.
Storylines to watch
Which, if any, defensive backs will land with LSU?
LSU has a pair of four-star cornerbacks embedded in its 2016 class in Smith and Andraez Williams, but how many more can the Tigers add by the end of Wednesday? If all goes according to plan, Fulton and Mullen will commit on National Signing Day and give LSU a quartet of new cornerbacks. For a recruiting class that has been so heavily invested at wide receiver, defensive tackle and defensive end, the Tigers could pull off a major heist in terms of potential talent at defensive back.
Will LSU continue to bolster its defensive line?
As it stands today, LSU has three defensive tackles in its 2016 class, including the five-star in Lawrence, and also two four-stars in Edwin Alexander and Glen Logan. LSU remains very heavily involved with Christmas-Giles, a New Orleans native who has quickly garnered national attention after a breakout senior campaign at St. Augustine High School. A commitment from Christmas-Giles puts LSU at four deep at the defensive tackle position alone, which could set the Tigers up at the position for the next several years.
Can the Tigers add another lineman?
LSU has turned its attention to offensive line in the month of January. Even after securing a commitment from four-star prospect Willie Allen, the Tigers began to make a push for four-star tackles Jauan Williams. Cameron flew out to Washington, D.C., to visit to Williams, which was followed weeks later with an in-home stop from Miles and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. With the Tigers set to lose both of their starting tackles from a season ago, they are making a concerted effort to re-stock along the offensive line.
Will any LSU targets wind up surprising?
While LSU is a finalist for many of the top nationally uncommitted prospects, the Tigers are also the dark horse in races for a handful of others. Those prospects include Louisiana cornerback Shyheim Carter, New Orleans defensive tackle Stephon Taylor and Texas safety Deontay Anderson. Carter made an unexpected unofficial visit to LSU early last week before officially visiting Ole Miss over the weekend. A native of Kentwood, La., Carter has maintained strong ties with LSU throughout his recruitment, though he seemingly is favoring Alabama, Ole Miss and Miami. Taylor included LSU in his top five, but chose not to make an official visit there. He is seemingly down to South Carolina, Florida State and Texas. Lastly, Anderson took an official visit to LSU on Jan. 22. His final three is comprised of the Tigers, Ole Miss and Texas. Anderson gave rave reviews of LSU, but has been linked to Ole Miss through much of the process.
Whether one of those prospects has a late change of heart remains to be seen. National Signing Day continually brings out the unexpected.
LSU currently owns the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, but there is still a lot to be decided on Wednesday. LSU is deep at defensive line, wide receiver and found a quarterback.
However, the Tigers could bolster what already looks like a legendary recruiting class by nabbing commitments from Fulton and/or Mullen, making cornerback arguably its biggest strength overall.
It’s conceivable that LSU can earn a commitment from not just one, but both secondary prospects. One may be enough to solidify the Tigers’ status as the top-rated class. Regardless, LSU has hit on all of its positions of need, which should go a long way in fortifying the team’s chances of competing for a national championship as early as next season.
All rankings and ratings according to the 247Sports Composite