Unlike last year, the drama on National Signing Day went in LSU's favor. LSU did not suffer any last minute defections from their highly ranked Class of 2013, despite some stressful moments over the last week. In fact, they even added a top notch defensive end this morning that was not expected when New Jersey's Tashawn Bower chose LSU over Florida and Auburn.
This class can be considered nothing but an enormous success. Some of the numbers outlined below will really quantify just how good it is. But it's more than just a collection of great prospects. The class really filled some needs.
After signing just one defensive lineman a year ago and then losing several early to the NFL, LSU had a big-time need in this class to replenish the roster. LSU needed numbers, but they also needed some guys that could contribute right away. Well, LSU signed three defensive tackles and four defensive ends, including a five star at each spot. That's not including Kendell Beckwith and Melvin Jones, who may both end up on the defensive line one day. Mission accomplished.
LSU whiffed on quarterback recruiting last year when Gunner Kiel bolted for Notre Dame and Jeremy Liggins did not qualify. They needed a high quality quarterback in this class. So they went and signed two of the nation's best. Either Hayden Rettig or Anthony Jennings would qualify as the best high school quarterback prospect LSU has signed since Ryan Perriloux. For LSU to land both in the class? It's a coup.
A play making tight-end? Check.
A blocking tight-end to help mitigate the losses of Chase Clement and Nic Jacobs? Check.
You always need to replenish the stock along the offensive line. LSU nabbed a nationally ranked player at tackle, guard and center and also nabbed a JUCO guard to lend depth immediately.
Stud cornerback to continue "DBU" tradition? Check.
WR with size that can contribute right away? LSU got that too, pending some academic progress from Quantavious Leslie.
The one area LSU may have missed was another elite receiver from the high school ranks. But if Leslie can get qualified and hold things down, the Class of 2014 in the state of Louisiana looks loaded with elite receiver talent.
What's also impressive is that LSU's staff was able to recruit all over the country to put this class together. The state of Louisiana did not have a banner year for talent (though it wasn't horrible), so it was a necessity that they have success out of state. Again...mission accomplished. A Top 100 offensive tackle from Illinois, a Top 100 QB from California, a nationally ranked QB from Georgia, two defensive linemen from North Carolina, a defensive tackle from Florida, a five star defensive end from Tennessee and a four star from New Jersey. Time will tell how this class stacks up among LSU's best, but there is no question that this was the best job of out of state recruiting that I've ever seen from LSU.
It's possible that LSU is not done yet. Arizona defensive back Priest Willis has postponed signing with a school until Friday, reportedly so that his mother could be there for the event. On Tuesday, it was reported that Willis was having some second thoughts about UCLA and could be reconsidering LSU. However, those rumors got put to bed a bit today when Willis reaffirmed his commitment to UCLA. I wouldn't expect LSU to be able to flip Willis, but nothing is final until he puts pen to paper. I suspect Les Miles and Corey Raymond will be on the phone to Willis between now and Friday.
Here is a breakdown of prospects signed from each state:
LA - 12
FL - 3
NC - 2
GA - 2
MS - 2 (JUCOs)
IL - 1
NE - 1
TN - 1
HI - 1
CA - 1
NJ - 1
Here is a breakout of how each of the recruiting sites ranked the players in LSU's class:
|QB Anthony Jennings||4 stars, #145||4 stars||4 stars, #221||4 stars, #297|
|QB Hayden Rettig||4 stars, #73||4 stars, #172||4 stars, #217||4 stars, #230|
|WR John Diarse||4 stars, #232||4 stars, #164||4 stars, #223||4 stars, #197|
|WR Quantavious Leslie||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars|
|WR Kevin Spears||4 stars||3 stars||4 stars, #297||3 stars|
|WR Avery Johnson||3 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars|
|TE Desean Smith||4 stars, #68||4 stars, #133||4 stars, #141||4 stars, #241|
|TE Logan Stokes||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars|
|OL Ethan Pocic||4 stars, #50||4 stars, #72||4 stars, #94||4 stars, #59|
|OL Josh Boutte||4 stars, #116||4 stars, #111||3 stars||4 stars, #162|
|OL Andy Dodd||4 stars||4 stars, #241||4 stars, #208||3 stars|
|OL KJ Malone||3 stars||3 stars||4 stars||3 stars|
|OL Fehoko Fanaika||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars|
|DT Greg Gilmore||4 stars, #246||4 stars, #59||4 stars, #83||5 stars, #35|
|DT Maquedius Bain||3 stars||3 stars||4 stars, #130||4 stars|
|DT Christian LaCouture||3 stars||4 stars||3 stars||4 stars, #128|
|DE Frank Herron||5 stars, #23||4 stars, #75||4 stars, #292||4 stars, #66|
|DE Michael Patterson||3 stars||4 stars||3 stars||3 stars|
|DE Lewis Neal||3 stars||3 stars||4 stars||3 stars|
|LB Kendell Beckwith||4 stars, #92||4 stars, #68||4 stars, #41||4 stars, #138|
|LB Melvin Jones||3 stars||4 stars, #171||3 stars||4 stars, #176|
|LB Duke Riley||3 stars||3 stars||4 stars||3 stars|
|CB Tre'Davious White||5 stars, #18||5 stars, #9||4 stars, #186||4 stars, #58|
|CB Rashard Robinson||4 stars||4 stars, #118||3 stars||3 stars|
|DB Rickey Jefferson||4 stars, #205||4 stars||4 stars, #204||4 stars, #193|
|ATH Jeryl Brazil||4 stars, #193||4 stars, #143||4 stars, #60||4 stars, #194|
|DE Tashawn Bower||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars, #132||4 stars, #182|
5 stars - 2
4 stars - 15
3 stars - 10
Top 100 - 6
Top 250 - 12
5 stars - 1
4 stars - 19
3 stars - 7
Top 100 - 5
Top 247 - 13
5 stars - 0
4 stars - 20
3 stars - 7
Top 100 - 4
Top 300 - 15
5 stars - 1
4 stars - 17
3 stars - 9
Top 100 - 4
Top 300 - 15
Here is another way to look at those numbers:
# of players ranked 4 stars or better by at least one recruiting service: 25
# of players nationally ranked by at least one recruiting service: 19
# of players ranked in the Top 100 by at least one recruiting service: 8
Only a pair of junior college players (Stokes and Fanaika) did not receive a four star rating from at least one of the recruiting sites. That means that every single high school prospect signed can claim they are a four star prospect.
If you compare these numbers to the two previous classes at LSU, you'll realize just how good and just how deep this class is.
# of players ranked 4 stars or better by at least one recruiting service: 16
# of players nationally ranked by at least one recruiting service: 15
# of players ranked in the Top 100 by at least one recruiting service: 4
# of players ranked 4 stars or better by at least one recruiting service: 13
# of players nationally ranked by at least one recruiting service: 11
# of players ranked in the Top 100 by at least one recruiting service: 6
Remember that LSU's 2011 class was heralded as one of their best hauls ever. That class was very top heavy with some elite prospects such as La'El Collins, Anthony Johnson, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Hilliard, Odell Beckham and others. But it wasn't nearly as deep as this year's group.
Lastly, here is my take on the Top-10 players in the class:
My Top-10 Players In Class:
1. Tre'Davious White
2. Frank Herron
3. Ethan Pocic
4. Anthony Jennings
5. Kendell Beckwith
6. Hayden Rettig
7. Greg Gilmore
8. Maquedius Bain
9. John Diarse
10. Desean Smith