There was some confusion yesterday about Part 1 of Part 2. It was supposed to be posted automatically at 1:00pm, but it ended up posting itself at 6:30am, which was the original plan. I had called an audible to talk about the Finebaum Treachery, and wanted the bigger post to come out later that day. Instead, I must have not told it to change the post time until it was too late. So, if you missed the post about the skill players and defensive backs we're still hoping to sign, please go back and check it out.
Also, I apologize for the confusing and unattractive formatting for these posts. I'm still learning how to do HTML.
This series preparing you, the casual fan, for this upcoming recruiting weekend closes with a look at some of the more likely linemen and linebackers to ultimately give their commitment to LSU. This is where LSU's recruiting class could go from very good to outstanding. The linebackers and defensive tackles looking at us are particularly well-regarded.
Right now, our offensive line recruiting appears to be almost finished, but our defensive line recruiting has barely begun. When it shakes out, we may have not only the best defensive line class in the country, but we may lap the field. Let's take a look:
Louisiana kid Chris Davenport is rated by Rivals as the #2 defensive tackle in the country. He is a 5-star, rated as the #18 overall player at any position, and the #1 "Most Athletic" defensive tackle. Davenport is out of Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Louisiana. He has not given his commitment yet, but everyone expects he will go for LSU when he finally pulls the trigger. At 6'4" and over 315#, Davenport is a big blocker-eater who specializes in piling up the line of scrimmage and occupying blockers. He's one of the most polished recruits around, and he figures to play early and often wherever he goes. As for his character, we all know that football players aren't choir boys. Except Davenport. He really is a choir boy. I'm not using a metaphor. He sings in the school choir. Academics appear to be in order as well. This is the kind of player you build a defense around.
Did I mention that Chris Davenport was the #2 rated defensive tackle on Rivals? Well, guess who #1 is looking at real hard too. This is Jamarkus McFarland, and the second I heard his name I thought, "He has to go to LSU with a name like Jamarkus McFarland." He's the #1 rated defensive tackle in the country according to Rivals. He's the #2 overall player regardless of position. He's out of Lufkin, Texas, and he is also looking hard at UT-Austin. A lot of people say we have a better than 50-50 shot at McFarland, but that it is far from certain he'll sign with the Tigers. If you're wondering how he'd mesh with Davenport, stop worrying. They're two different types of defensive tackle. McFarland is a little smaller at 6'3" and 280#, and plays more of a quick slashing style. He and Davenport would complement each other perfectly. McFarland is also an extremely interesting story. He is an excellent student whose coach says of his academic abilities, "If he never played another down of football, he'd still be successful." But guess what? He's playing football anyway. He's got a great head on his shoulders and whoever ends up with his signature should love him.
Just in case you weren't spoiled by two 5-star defensive tackles with great character and superior academics, this 4-star combo end/tackle may be the best of the bunch. Darrington Sentimore from Destrehan (same school that gave us Jordan Jefferson) is a freakish athlete. At 265#, he runs the 40 yard dash in 4.6 seconds. He has defensive tackle size and middle linebacker speed. He also really loves LSU. The only thing holding him back is his academics, and as soon as he shows he has that in order, he'll have an offer from LSU. He could have a long way to go, however. If we land McFarland and Davenport as well, Sentimore appears to be a natural to move to a defensive end position, where he could play a Tyson Jackson-like role. He impresses everyone who sees him play, and he claims to have about 35 offers, but not one from LSU yet. Just get those academics in order and LSU will take care of you. It would not be at all surprising if LSU landed all three of these defensive linemen.
Yet another freakish athlete looking hard at LSU is linebacker Jon Bostic of Wellington High School in Palm Beach Central, Florida. He looks like a dominant linebacker who could also be a dominant running back if he wanted to be. He's fast. He's quick. He's explosive. He's a terrific prospect as an outside linebacker, which is a position where we don't yet have a commitment. He's also likely not leaving the state of Florida. But maybe. The coaches certainly haven't given up on him and seem to think they have a decent chance of convincing him to come to LSU.
Of all the linebacker prospects we have committed or who may one day commit, Barkevious Mingo not only has the best name hands down, he also probably has the highest upside. Another (say it with me now) freakish athlete, he has long arms and great speed. At 6'5" and about 210#, there is some thought he could grow into a Dwight Freeney-like pass rushing defensive end rather than a linebacker. Whatever. As long as he's on the field. Mingo plays at one of the true LSU feeder schools, West Monroe High School in West Monroe, Louisiana. He was a part of that television show that was shot there. He is raw, having not played much football in his life. He has only played football for a year or two, so there is much room to improve here. The athleticism and ability are there, but he needs to be coached up. He's at a good program to get that coaching, and he is widely expected to commit to LSU at some point, perhaps some point very very soon.
LSU sure is recruiting the State of Texas this year, and we may get a linebacker out of Texas again this year, after getting Kyle Prater out of Texas last year. This year we are looking hard at linebacker Chris Williams out of Abilene, Texas. Chris is listed at 6'0" and 230#, but I understand he is probably giving himself a couple of extra inches and some pounds, and there's the rub with Mr. Williams. People believe he's short for a linebacker, which would hurt him in trying to cover the big tight ends and receivers in the pass patterns. Other than that, he looks like a super prospect, and surely there have been some great short linebackers, like the late great Sam Mills. Chris is a 4-star, and he definitely looks like he can play. He is quick and difficult to block. He drives through ball carriers, but also can make an ankle tackle when he needs to. I'm not sure what it means that his videos have so many ankle tackles on them. I've never seen a linebacker's videos like that. Don't get me wrong, though. He also lays the wood a lot. He reminds me a lot actually of Chad Jones, and I don't think I can fully explain why.
It is true that Texas has not offered him, and neither has LSU for that matter. I think we may be waiting to see what Jon Bostic does. Other very good programs have offered him, and he claims to have LSU as a favorite if they ever offer. I will say that if LSU is turning this kid away, recruiting must be going very very well indeed. He'll make some team very happy.
The last recruit this series will look at is Provo, Utah offensive lineman Xavier Su'a Filo. He's a strong, run-blocking offensive lineman. Of course, LSU already has 5 offensive linemen committed (counting Downs, not counting Brockers), with one likely to decommit. Les Miles has a history of signing big offensive line classes, and this will be no exception, even though we may not be able to sign a full class of 25 signees this year due to scholarship numbers. Su'a Filo is a very interesting story. He's a Mormon in Utah who is being recruited by offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, who is also a Mormon and who has strong ties to Utah, having been head coach at BYU. If Su'a Filo comes to LSU, he may leave after his freshman year and go on a 2-year mission, after which he would return without having lost any eligibility. As such, while he could be a 2009 signee, it may be 2012 before he really begins his career at LSU. The mission is not a definite thing at this point, but he may really be an investment in the deep future rather than the immediate future.
That's all for this series. I did not include everyone who looks like he could conceivably sign with LSU. That list would have been entirely too long. These are the guys I think are pretty decent bets. Not all of them will sign with us, obviously, but I think most if not all of our future signees will come from among the players profiled in the last two days.