What we like so far and where we’d go from here if we were LSU
Biggest take away, good or bad, from the Early Signing Period?
I think the biggest takeaway has to be the cowardly (yeah, I said it) swap by Keanu Koht and then JoJo Earle leaving for Bama. The fact that Koht kept telling people he was signing with LSU then the night before you have a “sudden change of heart” not buying it. Earle, while not at a huge position of need (and flipped Nabers as well), comes off as a guy that is going to haunt us for years to come in a Jaylen Waddle mold.
Well I think it’s generally pretty great, they held the class together, closed on Maason Smith, convinced Chris Hilton to sign early, and added a few other high level guys. Most importantly they really didn’t hemorrhage, and are in good position numerically to fill out the rest of this class with bigger needs.
My takeaway is that this program is doomed. JK. My takeaway is that the sky is indeed not falling on the program and that #thebrand is still strong. This is still a place that the best kids from across the country want to play for. Yesterday also reaffirmed that LSU is a national brand. Last year LSU had two last minute high profile decommitments from areas that are not typical recruiting area. How did the staff respond, by going right back and signing guys in those regions. Don’t get me wrong having a strong Louisiana class, like this year, is always going to be backbone of recruiting strategy but Orgeron has taken the Tigers national and this year continued to show he is capable of doing so.
As for the flips. Yeah, they suck but you know what, good recruiting school gets good recruits. They were both from places LSU already has a strong foothold in and they were not in areas where the Tigers were particularly thin in terms of players committed (minus corner). Flips happen, best not to dwell on it.
It was a good year for the state of Louisiana and, so far at least, Coach O and his staff have done a good job keeping that top talent home. Louisiana has six players in the top 150, four signed with LSU and the other two—Walker High’s Brian Thomas Jr. and St. James’s Saivion Jones—are favored to be Tigers.
It’s also encouraging to me that LSU is starting to cast a wide net and sign elite talent from areas LSU hasn’t usually recruited in. Garrett Dellinger is from Michigan, Corey Kiner was Mr. Football for Ohio, Derrick Davis Jr. is a top-five player from Pennsylvania. And of course LSU is still in the running for Tristan Leigh, from Virginia, and Raesjon Davis and Korey Foreman, both from California.
Alabama recruits nationally. Georgia recruits nationally. Ohio State and Clemson recruit nationally. If LSU wants to keep pace with those programs, they’ll have to keep casting a wide net.
We still got it!
Even in a year full of bad news, LSU pulled down a terrific recruiting class. Yeah, you can complain about some late flips, but the big story is that LSU kept the cupboard stocked and 2020 is looking like one freakish year that we will put in the rearview mirror. It was critical that LSU not only bring in some more talent, but also get some positive news to change the narrative. This class does that.
Comeback starts now, people.
What’s your overall impression of the class so far?
It’s definitely thin at offensive line and cornerback, but both could still be answered with remaining prospects. Outside of that, it’s a very solid class with great skill at each position. The one thing I’d like to do is give HUGE props to Kevin Faulk. After being appointed as the RBs coach in February, Faulk never got a camp environment, never got to have any visitors or visit any recruits, but secured his RB of choice in Kiner, worked Armoni Goodwin enough to get a Signing Day swap after Auburn’s blunder of firing Malzahn when they did, and gave Logan Diggs something to think about, whether he stays at RB or moves to LB.
It’s really really good. It has a lot of great talent at important positions like WR, a potential star QB, the best interior DL in the country, and an elite safety. It needs to be filled out with 2 or more OL but all things considered it’s terrific.
Nothing original but the fact LSU only had one o-line commit entering yesterday is just unacceptable. O-line is one of those positions where you just have to fill up with multiple guys. I also wasn’t too thrilled about how many receivers were signed, but I also understand you get the guys that are available. I think the Navonteque Strong signing makes this a really strong linebacking group. Safety looks loaded as well. The numbers at the moment may not suggest a strong d-line group, but this group could be sneaky good, as much as you can call one of the best players in the country sneaky. I’m also warming up more to the Armoni Goodwin pickup
That while landing Maason Smith and Garret Dellinger is an excellent start, the Tigers need to reinforce both sides of the line of scrimmage. Look at Alabama’s class. Not only is it No. 1, Bama signed the top two offensive tackles, the number one weakside defensive end, the number one center, the second best guard, and the third best defensive tackle. I’m not worried about LSU’s skill position players; I’m not worried about DBU; what I am worried about is LSU’s ability to protect their quarterback, and if they’ll be able to get after Alabama’s.
Heavy on playmakers. It’s not just that this is a highly rated class, LSU signed guys who put together some serious highlight reels. Sage Ryan, Armoni Goodwin, Garrett Nussmeier, Deion Smith, Chris Hilton… they made big plays. This is not a class full of gritty program guys, this is a class full of blue chip stars who want to dominate ESPN and your twitter newsfeed. LSU needed some ballhawks, and that’s exactly what they signed. That has its downside, as LSU ignored the boring part of recruiting: building the lines and the back end of the roster. There’s not a whole lot of “program guys” in this class, local guys who might be a bit of a reach who will spill blood to wear the purple and gold. I think you need a few of those guys, though Bech is a contender (and while not local, the Brody Miller story on JUCO LB Navonteque Strong has me all-in on that kid). And of course, the lack of offensive linemen is a headline for all the wrong reasons. It’s the biggest hole on the roster, and it went unaddressed.
Of the guys who signed, who’s going to be the best?
I’ll stick to the hometown boy in Garrett Nussmeier. If you watch his highlights and don’t see a skinnier Burrow, I don’t know what to tell you. Give him a chance to get into Moffitt’s weight program and get some coaching from guys like Callaway and I think he’s going to be a star with the moxie he has.
As much as I’d like to say Nussmeier or Smith, I think it’s going to be Sage Ryan. He really is a fantastic player and will get on the field early, seems like the next great LSU safety.
Looking forward to some sexy Peyton Todd punts. Also Sage Ryan and Maason Smith terrorizing people seems fun.
Maason Smith paired with Jaquelin Roy is going to be hell for opposing offenses for the next few years. I can’t wait to see them paired together.
Sage Ryan. He’s Jacoby Stevens, only better (and Stevens was an elite recruit himself). He’s that kind of player that Ed loves, a defender who can play multiple positions and do almost anything on that side of the field. He can hit, he can cover, and he creates big plays. I like any player who among his negative is listed the tendency to play too physical and go for big hits. He’s LaRon Landry with better coverage skills and he’s the next great member of the DBU fraternity.
Who else is out there that you feel LSU has to get?
I would say Tristan Leigh and maybe that door creaked open a little with him waiting until February to sign. If I’m looking at a more realistic option at this point it would be Jordan Moko, and then go out of the way with a grad transfer in Jarrett Horst. I think that’s two plug-and-play guys on the offensive line with a full offseason program in them.
Leigh is OBVIOUSLY guy number 1, but if you can get Jordan Moko I’ll sleep well. You also need to grab a guard from somewhere. I will also say Brian Thomas Jr is a big one too. Elite receiver groups are flat out building offenses right now and open up so much for you. They get open early in progressions, which helps both your QB by keeping things easy and in rhythm, and helps your OL by having the ball out sooner. Not to mention the fact that having a few elite receivers allows you to beef up your protections, as you know one of the 3 guys in a more max protected concept is gonna get open. That helps both the QB and OL. Alabama this year and Minnesota last year oddly enough are great examples of what having multiple stud receivers on the field can do for an offense.
Tristan Leigh, Tristan Leigh, Tristan Leigh. I think Korey Foreman would leave a lot of good feelings around the program but Leigh is an absolute must get. Aside from Leigh and any O-line help in general, another body on the D-line would be a welcome addition.
Tristan Leigh is without a doubt the guy LSU has to sign. I’d also recommend LSU get after Jaeden Roberts, a four-star guard from the Houston area. Roberts, like Armoni Goodwin, was an Auburn commit before their weirdly timed firing of Gus Malzahn. Houston has been kind to LSU over the years, I’d tap into that area again if I were Orgeron.
Also it pains me to say this as a graduate of Denham Springs High but…LSU has gotta get Walker’s Brian Thomas Jr. I know I just said I’m not worried about LSU’s skill positions, but Thomas is the big-bodied receiver that LSU doesn’t have. The Tigers have plenty of guys who can stretch the field vertically, but Thomas can be the guy to get you those tough yards over the middle.
Some of the best news LSU got was when Tristan Leigh decided not to sign with anybody. He was leaning elsewhere so when a kid isn’t supposed to sign with you extends the clock, that’s good news. LSU still desperately wants/needs Leigh in this class. Jaeden Roberts decommitted from Auburn, and he visited LSU. Maybe Orgeron can swoop in and pick up another offensive line recruit there, too.
Saivion Jones was the biggest hard commit who didn’t sign, though its likely because he wants to have the signing ceremony and isn’t a threat to leave. Still, that’s a concern, and LSU can’t lose him after losing their backup plan at the rush end position. But with 19 in and only a few more to sign, I would like to see Orgeron leave a spot or two available for a oline and linebacker transfer when the portal gets going. Get an immediate starter, particularly up front.