Editor's Note: Kris had this all ready for y'all because he is PSYCHIC - Billy
LSU added their 12th commitment for the Class of 2014 on Friday when Florida defensive back John Battle committed to the Tigers. Battle fits in nicely in what should end up being a loaded defensive backs class for LSU.
Battle brings some nice versatility to the table, and the big thing that sticks out to me when watching his highlights is his range. The kid can cover some serious ground and has excellent man coverage skills. In fact, Rivals lists Battle as a cornerback, even though he'll almost certainly play safety at LSU. He's also got some long arms, which are always an advantage for defensive backs. In a division that now features spread offenses which often utilize three and four receiver sets such as Texas A&M and Ole Miss, I'll take a safety who can cover over a big hitter that is more comfortable in the box.
But Battle is no slouch against the run. He's got nice size, listed at either 6'1" or 6'2" and weighing 180. He looks like a guy that can easily fill out some more and ultimately play at closer to 190 or 200 pounds. He's certainly not afraid to stick his nose into a pile or to deliver a big hit. He looks to be a sure tackler, but that's always tough to ascertain when all you see are his highlights. He's very aggressive, but seems to take excellent angles to the ball carrier. Excuse the cliche but he "plays fast." He's a guy that may need a year to get comfortable while adding some bulk.
My biggest question with Battle is his speed. He looks to be more of a 4.6 guy than a 4.4 guy, and that's usually fine for a safety. But will the range displayed on his highlights suddenly disappear on a field with receivers who are just as fast as him, if not faster? What is his actual speed and will it be a liability at the SEC level?
In style, he's more of a Ronald Martin than an Eric Reid, Craig Steltz,or Criag Loston.
What does this mean for LSU's class? As mentioned above, LSU has a stellar DB class in the making, and it could be heavy on safeties. LSU is of course chasing Neville's Hootie Jones, who will headline this group of safeties if he does indeed choose LSU. But commitment Devin Voorhies could very well play safety as well. While recruited as a cornerback, some think that commitment Ed Paris could outgrow the position and ultimately slide over to safety, too. LSU is then also recruiting Michael Johnson, who is hoping to earn an offer at camp in a few weeks.
Here is a link to a scouting report on Battle by SB Nation's Bud Elliott
Common sense indicates that Battle's commitment may kill any chances of Johnson earning an offer, but that's apparently not the case. LSU is going to give Johnson a real hard look at camp, and he could still end up in this class. That would mean that Battle, Johnson and (hopefully) Jones are the safeties. Paris starts his career at corner, while Voorhies is still coming on board as an athlete who could possibly play receiver. If Voorhies does play receiver, that mucks up the numbers at receiver, but that's an entirely different conversation. But that's IF LSU decides to pull the trigger on Johnson, and that's certainly not a given. The next few weeks will bring some clarity to it all.
The recruiting services all agree that Battle is a three star prospect. Here is how each service ranks Battle:
247: #56 S, 3 stars
Rivals: #34 CB, 3 stars
Scout: #60 S, 3 stars
ESPN: #27 S, 3 stars
Despite those pedestrian rankings, Battle sports quite the list of offers which includes Florida State, Louisville, USC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin and others.
Credit Corey Raymond for doing the bulk of recruiting for Battle. Raymond continues to do a nice job recruiting both the state of Florida and defensive backs.
John Battle (2014) 6'2 195lbs Hallandale High (via GADA FOOTBALLVILLETV)