Which 2017 LSU recruiting signees can be first-year contributors?
LSU recruiting put the finishing touches on another top-5 class on Wednesday, giving the Tigers more than enough recruits capable of making immediate impacts.
With six recruits already enrolled on campus and even more on their way to join them in Baton Rouge this summer, the question is who will wind up contributing to the LSU football team as early as this upcoming season.
Here’s SEC Country’s analysis.
JaCoby Stevens, 5-star S
LSU has some major holes to fill in its secondary after the departure of Jamal Adams, Rickey Jefferson, Dwayne Thomas and Tre’Davious White, and Stevens is going to be a part of the equation to replace them.
Stevens, the top-ranked safety in the Class of 2017, is a prospect more than capable of stepping into the starting lineup in the opener against BYU. Defensive backs coach Corey Raymond is not usually one to turn to a true freshman for a starting role, but Stevens is the exception.
At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Stevens is an elite player at a position of need. John Battle is the only battle-tested safety returning to LSU in 2017, and with Stevens already enrolled and set to participate in practices this spring, he should be on the same level as his competition by the time fall camp arrives.
Jacob Phillips, 4-star LB
Linebacker was one of the most polarizing positions in this year’s recruiting cycle for LSU. After whiffing on Baton Rouge natives Dylan Moses and Christopher Allen, the Tigers struck gold when they flipped Phillips away from Oklahoma.
At 6-3.5 and 228 pounds, Phillips is already more physically imposing than senior Donnie Alexander, who will compete with him for a starting job next to Devin White.
The U.S. Army All-American linebacker boasts a unique combination of size, strength and athleticism, not to mention natural football instincts. After LSU lost three-fourths of its starting linebackers from a season ago, Phillips will have an easy path to a starting role.
Austin Deculus, 4-star OT
By trade, Deculus is an offensive tackle, and that will be his role at LSU down the road.
However, the Tigers are now without starting center Ethan Pocic and guard Josh Boutte from last year’s offensive line, and are expected to shift William Clapp to center to fill the void.
Both K.J. Malone and Toby Weathersby are returning at left and right tackle, respectively, but Deculus — who feels comfortable playing on the left side of the line — should be in the mix to take over for Clapp at left guard.
At 6-6 and 330 pounds, Deculus has the physical makeup to play right away in the SEC. His run blocking is already a strength, which was shown at the Under Armour All-America Game. At guard, he’ll begin to polish up his pass protection.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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