Report card: A
Analysis: LSU was a finalist for some of the nation’s top uncommitted talent heading into National Signing Day, and while the Tigers only pulled in a commitment from one elite prospect, it solidified what was has to be considered a wildly successful recruiting class. LSU’s 2016 class features a pair of five-star prospects in Kristian Fulton and Rashard Lawrence, two players that should see the field as early as next season as true freshmen. The Tigers also padded their depth in the secondary and along the defensive front, adding both interior linemen and edge-rushers. Offensively, LSU wound out securing commitments from four offensive linemen, including Willie Allen, a four-star tackle and the one of the premier prospects at the position nationally. Lastly, LSU landed a quarterback that symbolizes a potential shift in offensive philosophies. Lindsey Scott amassed more than 6,000 yards of offense and 60 touchdowns as a dual-threat passer en route to being named Louisiana’s Mr. Football. He could be the Tigers’ quarterback of the future, particularly if the team should continue to install more spread principles.
Star of the class: Fulton, the 5-star cornerback from Metairie, La., was the highest-rated prospect embedded in LSU’s 2016 class. Fulton should be an instant contributor in the LSU secondary. While the nation’s No. 2 cornerback could have potentially earned a starting position at either Florida or Arkansas, Fulton opted to be part of a dynamic LSU secondary, where even as a rotational player he can have a huge impact as a lockdown corner with ballhawking skills.
Three others that could play next year: Rashard Lawrence, 5-star DE, Monroe, La.; Willie Allen, 4-star OT, River Ridge, La.; Michael Divinity, 4-star LB, Marrero, La.
Biggest surprise: There’s no denying that Lloyd Cushenberry III’s late pledge to LSU on Wednesday was a little unexpected. Cushenberry, a Dutchtown, La., native, was previously committed to South Carolina, but he had also generated interest from Mississippi State. However, after pulling in an offer from LSU late last week, Cushenberry opted to stay home and add a coveted fourth offensive linemen to the class, which was something the coaching staff had been aiming to do for much of the final month of the recruiting season.
The big fish that got away: LSU may have flipped Cushenberry, but it lost out on Erick Fowler. The nation’s No. 7 outside linebacker and Texas native ultimately flipped to the Longhorns at the last minute. Fowler was going to be an immediate contributor for an LSU linebacking corps that will lose two of its three starters from last season. Additionally, LSU could have further bolstered its secondary with Trayvon Mullen, a four-star cornerback out of Florida, who like Fowler committed elsewhere in the final hours. Mullen landed at Clemson instead of LSU, where he, too, could have found his way into the Tigers’ defensive back rotation.
Final rankings: No. 2 in the nation and No. 2 in the SEC via ESPN; No. 4 in the nation and No. 2 in the SEC via 247Sports; No. 4 in the nation and No. 2 in the SEC via Scout; No. 8 in the nation and No. 4 in the SEC via Rivals