I think there is only one way to describe Kevin Steele right now:
While summer doesn't technically start until June 21st, Steele and the staff has heated things up in Baton Rouge. Rahssan Thornton became the FIFTH defensive commit this month to go with offensive lineman Jakori Savage, along with Greedy Williams in the final weekend of May. Thornton may be a composite 3-star recruit but expect to see a fast rise in his rankings. The 6'4", 225-pound defensive end/linebacker hybrid has potential through the roof and actually committed to LSU even before he paid a visit to the Longhorns, who were the biggest competitor for his commitment, in Austin this weekend.
Before we get into the film, here's a fun fact for you. Assuming Thornton, Erick Fowler and Andre Anthony all wind up as linebackers, in the span of a little more than two weeks, Kevin Steele has gotten as many LB commitments (three) as linebackers that are still on the LSU roster that Chavis recruited over his final three YEARS (Kendall Beckwith, Donnie Alexander, Duke Riley). Let that soak in as we go to the footage:
What Thornton Brings To LSU
You can quickly see why Steele became so enamored with this kid. Thornton has a good timing on his burst at the snap and has a quick first step. When you combine those two at the high school level, and almost any level, you are going to spend a lot of time in the backfield. He also does a great job reading running plays with his eyes, even if he is engaged with a lineman, and putting himself in the best position to make a play.
One thing again that has been noticed with the other committed linebackers is his lack of hand usage. A lot of his pressure he gets is just from running past or against his blocker, normally beating them to a spot and gaining that advantage. There are a few instances in the highlight where he does, but it's more prominent that he doesn't. It will work at this level but can get swallowed at the next level, but again, Coach O and Steele have been working on getting pressure and pass-rushing moves so it appears something that can be corrected. He could also stay down a little more and not get too high, which gives blockers at the next level an easier target.
What It Means For LSU
It's scary to think they may still not be done at the linebacker position. There are still guys like Michael Divinity, Keon Joyner and Jeffrey McCullouch to name a few that are still out there. The commitment of Thornton is also an indication of the type and style of linebacker Steele is looking for and it's a stark contrast to what Chavis brought in. Steele likes the height-athleticism combo, something that has become the standard in the SEC as you look across the other teams. With LSU now basically two-thirds of the way full in the 2016 class with 16 commitments now halfway into June, it will give this impressive staff of recruiters more time on filling those last nine or so spots. Make no mistake about it, Kevin Steele is out to prove he belongs here and is doing one hell of a job on the recruiting front.