Like I've said before, one of the things that makes keeping up with recruiting fun is the fact that information is, by rule, kept somewhat secret. Very little solid information is reliably given out by the coaches before Signing Day. That said, sometimes you get a little snippet that helps you put the picture together. In Saturday's Advocate, LSU recruiting coordinator Josh Henson gave us this little tidbit:
The most pressing voids that remain to be filled for LSU’s staff, Henson said, will be on the defensive side with a pair of safeties, two defensive ends along with another linebacker and interior lineman. He also said that the Tigers covet a “big” receiver and could use a fullback.
If we take this at face value, which may be deceptive, here's what we get out of it:
- They're done at running back, which means the Trent Richardson and Christine Michael rumors may be quite overblown.
- He mentions, a "big" receiver, which is almost certainly Bastrop 5-star Reuben Randle. But it also means they must believe they have a receiver in hand, and are planning on taking only two. I've been thinking for a little while they'd stick with two unless a can't-turn-down prospect decides he wants LSU. As for the one they must believe they have in hand, that is probably Kenny Bell, the 4-star from Rayville.
- The "pair of safeties" is something of a mystery. We can guess he's talking about Craig Loston, about whom there has been much buzz lately. The other one? Anyone's guess. Maybe he's talking about Darren Myles?
- The linebacker is almost certainly Barkevious Mingo from West Monroe, which would suggest that unless there's a decommitment coming (which is entirely possible), Chris Williams will be left out.
- The interior lineman is probably Jamarkus McFarland, the 5-star from Lufkin, Texas. Of course, he is far from an LSU lock. If it's not him, it's likely Darrington Sentimore, who needs to get his grades in order.
- The two defensive ends referenced are also something of a mystery. If we get McFarland, it's been speculated that Sentimore could be a defensive end. The second one? It's a mystery. Maybe it's Dyron Dye, but he looks like a long shot to leave the state of Florida to me. Maybe it's Bark Mingo, who has been speculated to grow into the role of a rushing end, which could open a spot for Chris Williams.
- "Could use a fullback"? There's been some speculation on this front that a kid named Toben Opurum out of Plano, Texas could end up a part of this class, but Henson is definitely hedging on that statement there.
- He doesn't say anything about an offensive tackle, which could suggest that Xavier Sua'Filo is a long shot. Hard to say.
One thing I promise you is that Henson's statements are not "just talk". They mean something. In fact, they're directed at the kids in question. While it means something, it's hard to say it means everything. I doubt these numbers are set in stone, but it perhaps suggest who we are targetting.
With 15 reported commitments, and assuming that they're counting Kenny Bell as in, Henson's suggesting we'll go after 8 more, which would give us a total of 24 in this class, which is more than most people have thought we would take.
Of the 9 people I list as being possibles for those 8 slots, I think Mingo, Loston, and Sentimore are highly likely to be members of this class. Williams will be as well if he gets an offer. I think chances are that Reuben Randle ends up choosing LSU, but it's far from certain.
Myles, Dye, McFarland, and Opurum are a lot more questionable. Opurum has made noise that he doesn't want to be a fullback, and he could probably be a running back if he was to look more into schools like Tulsa or U of Houston. If he wants to go to a Texas, LSU, or Oklahoma, he will be a fullback. McFarland, Dye, and Myles are out of state kids who have offers from all over. Any of them could be Tigers (with McFarland probably being the most likely of the 3), but none of them are significantly better than 50-50 shots.
One wonders where the staff will turn if one of the guys they're targeting goes chooses to go elsewhere. If Myles decides on, for example, Georgia Tech, does that mean we go to the next safety on the list? Or do we say, "If we can't have Myles, we'll go after another offensive lineman instead"? Hard to say. We won't know the answer for a while.