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Taking Stock: Where Does LSU’s 2017 Recruiting Class Stand?

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Missouri v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

This past weekend, LSU hosted a slew of top flight recruits on unofficial visits. Undoubtedly, the electric crowd and atmosphere made a good impression as the Tigers looked to keep interest alive, despite not hosting any official visits until the final decision is made on the new coaching staff. Undergoing a coaching search tends to put most teams behind the 8-ball in recruiting. LSU has already lost Dylan Moses and Stephen Guidry to the cycle. Orgeron, Austin Thomas and staff, though, have largely kept together a strong class. LSU somehow remains in the top 5:

Most of the commitments seem firm in their pledges, though it’s worth keep an eye on a guy like Austin Deculus, who seemed none to pleased with the news of Miles’ firing. LSU’s class has 19 commitments in the fold, assuming none decommit:

This leaves room for roughly 6 more additional players. Let’s take a look at each position right now.

QB (2)

Commits: Myles Brennan, Lowell Narcisse

Targets: None

Brennan, you’re probably aware, is breaking Mississippi state high school records right and left. Narcisse sadly tore his ACL and will miss his senior season. Brennan is ranked the 180th player in the nation and Narcisse is 224th. They are quite different prospects and there seems to be a lot of hope for Brennan to be an immediate impact player. I’m not sure that’s the case for a guy who is 6’3” and 180.

Still, two good QBs are nice to have in the fold. The staff won’t pursue another unless they lose a commitment.

RB (2)

Commits: Clyde-Edwards Helaire, Tory Carter

Targets: Cam Akers

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the diminutive back with deceptive power and Tory Carter is our FB take in this class. I like Edwards-Helaire game a lot. I’m ambivalent on Carter and we haven’t had much success with recruited fullbacks. LSU remains in heavy pursuit of Mississippi RB Cam Akers.

WR (2)

Commits: Jhamon Aubson, Mannie Netherly

Targets: Devonta Smith, Stephen Guidry, Al’dontre Davis

Ausbon and Netherly are big-framed kids with a lot of upside. Ausbon is already 217 pounds and looks college ready. He could be an early contributor. He’s a big, physical , athletic WR. Netherly is a bit more fleet of foot and needs to put on some weight. Still, he’s a determined runner with the ball in his hands and could have impact in the return game.

The real target to watch is Devonta Smith. He’s long been considered a heavy Alabama lean and remains 100% predicted there on the crystal ball. Yet, he pushed his August commitment date and now seems to be giving LSU serious consideration. He’s not the biggest cat around, but evaluators raved about his natural instincts and ability to catch the ball at the Opening.

TE (0)

Targets: None

Doesn’t seem like the staff will take a TE in this class.

OL (4)

Commits: Edward Ingram, Saahdiq Charles, Austin Deculus, Seth Stewart,

Targets: Adrian Ealy

Deculus is really the one to worry about. If he decides he’s not comfortable with the next hire, we will be without a bonafide stud OL recruit. That said, Ingram and Charles are both very quality players. Stewart is a big-bodied project OT. Ealy is still out there and the staff can probably nab him if they lean hard. Question is, do they want to? They may be content with these four, assuming they all stick.

DL (4)

Commits: Tyler Shelvin, Neil Farrell, Justin Thomas, Aaron Moffitt

Targets: K’Lavon Chaisson, Marvin Wilson, Isaiah Buggs

This is an interesting group because there’s not a lot of sizzle here. All four commits are more workmanlike space eating type of players. This is recruiting building blocks for a 30 front.

The big fish are Chaisson, who apparently Aranda is very high on and Marvin Wilson. Wilson was once considered an LSU lean but his light may be dimming. Still, he’s close friends with Tyler Shelvin and if Orgeron gets the nod, I’m certain he’ll make a push. Buggs is more depth for the 30 front, though I do like his skillset.

LB (1)

Commits: Patrick Queen

Targets: Christopher Allen

Chaisson would probably be more of a OLB/edge type player, and could be considered here. Queen looks like a future ILB for Aranda. Allen has long been crystal balled to LSU but some recent action has him to Alabama, even from our own insider, Shea Dixon. That’s tough news, because we could use his skillset. Not a lot at the LB position after striking out on Dylan Moses.

This is one position I could see some late push offers going around on. Aranda is once again making hay with his LBs and you have to think the recruits will follow soon.

DB (4)

Commits: Jontre Kirklin, JaCoby Stephens, Grant Delpit, Kary Vincent

Targets: Todd Harris

Kirklin could be a WR, but I’m penciling him at CB for now. Stephens is your heir apparent to Jamal Adams, though Delpit could find his way into playing time as well. Vincent is another scrappy, tough CB to throw into the mix. Overall, a very strong group here. Todd Harris would be phenomenal additional depth.

K/P (0)

As of now there doesn’t seem to be any intention of taking a specialist, but that can always change.

What’s Next?

The target lists look thin right now. I think that’s largely a function of the coaching uncertainty. Right now, Orgeron seems mostly focused on keeping things together. If LSU can hold on to these 19, they are going to finish with a top 10ish class. That’s pretty damned good for a coaching change year. Georgia, last year, got the 8th spot after firing their coach. So it is possible to keep things together.

I would suspect we start seeing those interest levels rise after we announce our next coach. The major benefit to firing Miles early is that Alleva can conduct his search in the midst of the season. If we don’t get in our own way, we should be able to announce a coach very shortly after the regular season concludes. From there, the coach must assemble his staff and get rolling on recruiting. By not taking OVs, Orgeron is putting whoever is hired in position to build a strong close. It’s an interesting strategy, because having recruits on campus for OVs during gamedays is a wildly successful pitch most years. Yet, I can’t argue with the logic. It’s doing a service to whoever gets the job. Overall, we have the making of a very good class, but miles to go before we sleep.