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LSU National Signing Class 2015 Analysis

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Did LSU meet their needs with the 2015 signing class?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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Another signing day has come and gone. Another top 5 class is in the books for LSU. It is, in fact, the first time in LSU history that the coaches have secured back-to-back top 5 signing classes. That's a remarkable accomplishment. Recruiting in Baton Rouge is as good as it has ever been. Last year's class was maybe the best in school history. Next year's class will rival it in quality. To sandwich a top 5 effort between those is simply remarkable. LSU is in prime position to make a tremendous run at the college football playoff. And not just once, but multiple times, perhaps starting this season.

Let's go position by position and see what the staff did.

Quarterback

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Justin McMillan 6'1" 177 3

The angst here is palpable. Many folks wanted LSU to go to the well to find a JUCO QB to supplant the current situation. Others are still holding out hope for a graduate transfer such as Braxton Miller or Everett Golson. The latter, we are still in wait and see mode. As for the former, I disagree with the strategy. I'm not even sold on the graduate transfer route, either. To me, the solution to LSU's QB problem is already on campus: Brandon Harris. It's about getting him ready.

Back to McMillan, he's more of a development prospect. Here's Les talking on him:

Les Miles has high praise for QB Justin McMillan but hopes he won't need to use him in 2015.

A video posted by Cody Worsham (@cworsh4) on

More on McMillan from Miles.

A video posted by Cody Worsham (@cworsh4) on

The staff seems to think he's a gamer. The kid's moxie is what I would also note. He tweeted this out yesterday:

There's something to be said for that. Miles said "hopefully we don't have to use him" in regard to next year. I think safest bet is the McMillan takes a redshirt and busts his ass to get better. I'm not ruling out the possibility of him ever becoming LSU's starting QB. We had a sign in my HS football locker room that said hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. McMillan is probably more talented than he's credited, too.

Would I have preferred the staff land a more highly regarded prospect? Yes. But it's okay to snag a developmental guy. There are more top tier QBs waiting in the wings for next year's class. To me, it's a step in the right direction that we are heading toward singing a QB in every class.

Need: MET

Running Back

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Derrius Guice 5'10.5" 213 4 star
Nick Brossette 6'0" 214 4 star
David Ducre 5'11" 234 4 star
Lanard Fournette 5'10" 185 3 star

Stacked. LSU needed RB depth in a bad way, and got it big time through four signees. Currently LSU features only two scholarship players in the backfield: Leonard Fournette and Darrel Williams. Fournette is sure to get the lion's share of carries in 2015. But LSU is searching for a fullback, and loves to spread the workload. It's not all that unfeasible that all four of these backs could have a role in 2015.

Ducre is listed on the roster as a FB, and you have to think he'll be first in line to get a shot at the job, though I think his talents will allow him more versatility. Guice is the most explosive of the group, but he's also thickly built to run between the tackles. Brossette can do a little bit of everything. Fournette is a "small" back by comparison, though in time he'll likely play at 5'11", 200 pounds, so not too small at all.

Overall, the staff crushed the need here. LSU's backfield depth chart is looking much more friendly heading into the future, now.

Need: MET

Wide Receiver

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Jazz Ferguson 6'5" 214 4 star
Brandon Martin 6'4" 214 3 star
Tyron Johnson 6'2" 192 4 star
Derrick Dillon 5'11" 174 4 star

Adam Henry has been aggressive in adding size to his corps of receivers, and this year's class is no exception. Ferguson and Martin are both huge WRs. Johnson has better than average size. Dillon sits just under 6 feet, but makes up for it in his pure explosiveness. LSU's current depth chart is currently pretty loaded, with young guys like John Diarse, Malachi Dupre, and Trey Quinn. For that reason, there's not an express "need" there. That said, if LSU ventures into more 3/4 WR sets, you need bodies to run that type of offense.

Ferguson is a big target, but raw. A RS year could go a long way to adding muscle to his frame and refining his skills. Johnson is a guy that I think will play right away. He's a very natural wideout to go along with his immense athletic tools. Dillon is a burner that could contribute in the return game, so I wouldn't rule out his contributions, either. Martin has an uphill climb to qualify. If he does get into school, he could certainly be a factor in 2015. He may have the most upside of anyone in this class.

LSU's receiving corps will be exceptionally young, again, in 2015, but loaded with talent.

Need: MET

Tight End

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Hanner Shipley 6'5" 284 3 star
Bry'Kiethon Mouton 6'1" 250 3 star
Foster Moreau 6'5" 237 4 star

LSU's current tight end depth chart runs four deep: Dillon Gordon, Colin Jeter, Desean Smith and Jacory Washington. Gordon and Jeter are more endline blockers. Smith and Washington have good pass catching upside. The number of two-tight end sets LSU runs means it's likely LSU will go to the tight-end well most every year.

Shipley is your extra blocker, with potential to play offensive line. Mouton is more of an H-back, that could even find his home at fullback. Moreau has some athleticism to him. Of the three, I really like Mouton the most.

Need: MET

Offensive Line

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Maea Teuhema 6'4" 323 4 star
Chidi Valentine-Okeke 6'6" 315 5 star
Adrian Magee 6'5" 366 3 star
George Brown 6'6" 273 3 star
Toby Weathersby 6'5" 303 4 star

Following Jeff Grimes hire, folks took him to task for the lackluster close to the 2014 offensive line signing class, and the struggles of the OL in early 2014. He answered his critics resoundingly. The line play improved as the season progressed, and he closed out the 2015 signing class with a massive haul of blockers.

Valentine-Okeke was the shocking commit, and credit to Corey Raymond for the work there as Valentine-Okeke's lead recruiter. Magee and Brown are lower rated, but both prospects Grimes likes a lot. Teuhema can possibly crack the starting lineup in 2015. Ditto for Weathersby, who I liken to La'El Collins. LSU pulled the top two offensive line prospects in the state of Texas for 2015. That's no small accomplishment. Tremendous effort and close here.

Need: MET

Defensive Line

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Arden Key 6'6" 215 4 star
Isaiah Washington 6'4" 225 5 star

LSU's current defensive end depth chart is woefully thin. Only Tashawn Bower returns with significant experience. Sione Teuhema, Deondre Clark and Lewis Neal have played, but rarely in meaningful moments. Adding a couple DEs stood out as high priority in this class. Things looked bleak after Chavis left for Texas A&M, but Orgeron did a great job hitting the ground running and winning over Arden Key and family. Key might be the single most important recruit in this entire class. While he could use some time to add bulk, he may be forced to contribute in 2015. Washington is more blue collar, but he's got good size, and could also factor into the rotation.

The staff struck out at defensive tackle, but the current depth chart is pretty deep and next year will be a banner year in state for defensive tackles, including former LSU commit Ed Alexander.

I'll say this one was unmet. Key is a huge, huge pickup, but adding one more body here would have made a big difference in future roster building.

Need: UNMET

Linebacker

Zero commits. The staff unquestionably struck out here. A late push with Leo Lewis proved unfruitful, as he opted to stay in state and head to Mississippi State, after things pointed to him heading to LSU. LSU tried with Malik Jefferson and Sh'mar Kilby-Lane, but both blue chippers opted to stay in state. Early in the process they pursued Keaton Anderson, but he elected to go to Alabama.

This is the biggest hole in the class, no question. The staff didn't pursue in-state linebacker Arthur McGinnis, who wound up signing with OU. Why? I'm not sure. But they had plenty of opportunities to evaluate him and passed each time.

2016 looks promising, though. 5-star stud Keion Joyner has LSU as his favorite and would be a major get. 4-star Michael Divinity plays just up the road at John Ehret, a typical LSU stronghold. They've also extended offer to three other outside linebackers.

The staff must hit the LB position hard in 2016, adding maybe up to six bodies. If Kendell Beckwith elects to leave early after next season, LSU would enter 2016 with only Duke Riley, Clifton Garrett and Donnie Alexander as scholarship LBs. The other option here is position shifts. Devin Voorhies, a 6'2", 208 pound player who played safety this year seems like a natural fit. I would be surprised if that move didn't happen in the Spring. A player like Sione Teuhema could possibly, also, though I think he may be be deployed coming off the edge as an end.

Need: UNMET

Cornerback

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Kevin Toliver II 6'2" 192 5 star
Donte Jackson 5'11" 168 5 star
Xavier Lewis 6'0" 186 4 star

Potentially the best cornerback class LSU has ever signed. I mean that, on signing day, not down the road. Toliver is a big, punishing corner and an early enrollee that has a shot to be LSU's 2nd CB in 2015. Jackson needs to add some bulk, but he's so skilled he should contribute immediately. Miles yesterday alluded to Jackson seeing action in the return game and on offense. His future is likely as a lockdown corner, but I think the staff can allow him to grow into that role while utilizing his talents in other ways. Lewis is a guy I think could ultimately project to safety, which Miles also alluded to yesterday. I love his instincts and toughness.

Tre'Davious White will man one corner spot, while Dwayne Thomas, Ed Paris and Russell Gage all return will multiple years of eligibility. There's plenty depth here.

This is as good as it gets. Three guys with starter potential, two guys with All-American ability.

Need: MET

Safety

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Jeremy Cutrer 6'3" 162 3

Cutrer's listed weight is surprising to me, considering his height. He's a long prospect that's generally been listed as a safety. However, there's been some talk of him possibly moving to corner. That would make more sense considering his light frame. Cutrer is thin, but he's not afraid to mix it up. He's a physical player that can really deliver a pop. He's not a burner, but his long frame allows him to cover a lot of ground and his long arms help in pass break ups.

If you take a look at his JUCO film, Cutrer flashes the fluidity and ability to swivel his hips and turn and run as a corner. I could see him becoming a corner while Lewis moves into a safety role.

The safety depth chart is currently pretty loaded. Jamal Adams will be a starter the next two seasons. Rickey Jefferson will continue to provide valuable snaps. Jalen Mills will likely continue to play at Safety for 2015. Corey Thompson will return, as well. Then you have John Battle waiting in the wings. If Voorhies sticks, that's yet another player. The staff will need to add another safety or two in 2016, but taking just one this year is just fine.

Need: MET

Specialists

Name Height Weight Composite Star Rating
Blake Ferguson, LS 6'3" 217 2 star
Josh Growden, P 6'2" 190 2 star

After 2015, LSU would need a new long snapper, so to have a year for him to groom himself under his younger brother, should ensure us eight straight years of Ferguson snapping.

Keehn will graduate after this season, leaving LSU with a need for another punter. Domingue will have another year of eligibility, while Kyle Pfau punted in high school. Bringing in an extra leg should benefit the group. Growden is a punter all the way, and could step into the role in 2016, giving us the possibility for eight straight seasons of Aussie punters.

Need: MET

Summary

This is a great class. LSU locked up seven of the top 10 players in state for the 6th consecutive year. They locked down back-to-back top 5 classes for the first time in school history. They added valuable pieces at almost every key position of need. They nailed every position on offense, with the exception of possibly QB, though I'm less concerned with adding another body there considering we should be on the verge of having a guy who will start for the next two to three seasons.

Defensively, the class could have been stronger. The secondary haul is loaded. Arden Key is a great piece. But the unit needed another body or two on the DL, and definitely needed at least one LB. Miles acknowledged as much in his press conference.

These are championship pieces that will help LSU both in 2015 and for the next four years.