Post 2015 National Signing Day, we identified linebacker as the single biggest need for the 2016 signing class. The coaches struck fast, securing the commitment of New Orleans McDonogh 35 athlete Clifford Chattman.
Chattman is a 6'5", 185 pound prospect, that's currently a composite 4-star on 247. Chattman picked LSU over offers from Florida State, Georgia, Arizona and Mississippi State, among others.
Chattman is obviously a lanky prospect at this point. He will need to add mass at the next level, but his broad frame should allow for plenty of growth. His coach says as much:
"When I came to McDonogh 35 two years ago, I had been coaching on the collegiate level, and I arrived here and he was playing free safety," McCloud said. "I told him that you can get rich playing outside linebacker. He has the ball skills and athleticism of a free safety, and I see that as more of an asset. He's got broad shoulders, and he can actually put on some weight.
"Once he gets into a system where he is lifting and the training table comes in, he can put on 20 pounds easily. He plays every sport and runs the 200-meters and 400-meters in track. There's really no time for us to sit him down and pack weight on him. But once he gets to the college level, he could grow into a great outside linebacker."
Frame wise, he may remind you of Barkevious Mingo, who was a similarly skinny prospect that dabbled at LB and S in HS before ultimately winding up as a pass-rushing DE at LSU and an OLB in the NFL. Chattman's future likely isn't DE, but as an OLB. If Steele elects to continue to utilize his OLBs as pass rushers, he could slot nicely in Steele's defense. Let's take a look at the tape:
You can easily see how light he is on tape. He's certainly got tons of length, but he'll need to add a lot of additional bulk before he's a collegiate-level LB. I do, however, think LB suits him perfectly. Despite not carrying a ton of mass at this point, he's a very physical player that is not afraid to stick his nose in and tackle somebody. He's strong in pursuit, but when he comes to tackle, he brings people down. He's got solid tackling technique at this age, as well. He almost always sinks his hips and explodes through his target, while bringing his arms to wrap up. His long arms also allow him to pull down ball carriers at a distance.
He looks to be a pretty fluid athlete. In HS, they match him up outside as a CB, at times. And he plays some deep safety. He doesn't look terribly awkward having to turn and run, and in a couple cases showed a really strong ability to break on a ball and cause a break-up. If he's able to keep that agility as he adds muscle, he could be a lethal OLB.
Chattman is a great first LB to add to the 2016 class. His commitment brings LSU up to six total commits, and they are now ranked 6th nationally in the 247 Composite Team Rankings. There's a great chance for LSU to contend for the no. 1 class in America this season.