Ah, the joys of the Christmas holiday. Stockings stuffed, presents under the tree, mistletoe all around (am I right?) and some last minute shopping to boot. Oh yeah, and our first early signing day of college football. A new holiday tradition is here as teams look to get their class as full as possible early on to focus on a few more players to round it out come February. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how this class may turn out. This isn’t to say everyone is going to sign come next Wednesday, but come February, this is where I want this class to be.
Commits Turned Signees (16)
Chris Curry, Kenan Jones, Zach Sheffer, Badara Traore, Cameron Wire, Damien Lewis, Cole Smith, Jarell Cherry, Dantrieze Scott, Chasen Hines, Dare Rosenthal, Davin Cotton, Dominic Livingston, Nelson Jenkins, Micah Baskerville, Damone Clark
The Skinny: I left off four current commits: Jaray Jenkins, ArDarius Washington, Tae Provens and Travez Moore. I think Jenkins was an early diamond-in-the-rough type that didn’t necessarily plan out the way they wanted, plus he is being replaced in this class by someone mentioned later. ArDarius Washington has shown a lot of interest in TCU and I think the rest of the DB class fills out strongly, causing Washington to look elsewhere. Moore is a grade risk, so it’s unsure of if/when he will join the Tigers. With Provens, I just think Pooka Williams is more explosive and would be better at the role Provens would fill.
The only other two current question marks in this class are Traore and Smith. Badara made a late visit to Tennessee, but even if he doesn’t sign next week, I can see LSU winning out once new o-line coach James Cregg gets to sit down with him and stress his importance at LSU. Same goes for Cole Smith, who has shown interest in home state Mississippi State, where his dad went, once again after the Bulldogs hired a new coach. Smith could be a good actual center for this team and give Cregg someone that he doesn’t have to take from a guard to fill that position.
Recruits to Signees (9)
Justin Rogers, Harold Joiner, Pooka Williams, Terrace Marshall, Justin Watkins, Michael Williams, Kelvin Joseph, Pat Surtain Jr., Anthony Cook
The Skinny: Rogers — I’m always under the mantra of “lose one, add one” when it comes to quarterbacks, and with the loss of Etling and a possible transfer from someone down the depth chart, it becomes paramount. It’s my dream class so give me Rogers, but I’d take anyone like James Foster as well.
Joiner — He has said numerous times that LSU is at the top of his list, but his dad poses a problem in that he wants Harold at Alabama. I think he gives in and Joiner joins this class to replace Darrell Williams and the likely departure of Derrius Guice.
Williams — After an impressive senior season, Pooka provides the electricity that Canada loves to have in his offense, making him great on jet sweeps and passes out of the backfield. Grades may be a problem though.
Marshall — Marshall is making his decision on Wednesday and all signs point to the in-state Tigers. He’s the composite top WR, I think that’s all that needs to be stated.
Williams — Likely a defensive end in college, Michael Williams provides some unique versatility for Aranda after he even played QB in high school.
Watkins — He finally ends this rollercoaster back with the team he started with, giving Canada more weapons in his arsenal.
Joseph — Once an LSU commit, Joseph comes back to the Tigers with a little assist from basketball signee Ja’Vonte Smart (get it, assist? Okay, I’m sorry).
Surtain Jr. — Like Joiner, Surtain Jr. has said numerous times that LSU is his leader, and after the rumor of his dad joining the Florida staff as DB coach was ended with their recent hire, I think that all but spells the end in this story.
Cook — A hard-fought battle where Raymond comes out victorious. I can just see Raymond going into the coaches meeting, arms raised up like Russell Crowe in Gladiator shouting “Are you not entertained?”
Players on the Cusp
James Foster — He is the more likely candidate to be the quarterback in this class with Rogers staying at TCU, but since it’s my dream class, Foster winds up just on the cusp.
JaMarr Chase — The wide receiver just seems destined to go out of state, but with him likely waiting in February, the staff can put a bigger focus on getting him to stay in the boot.
Lawrence Keys III — Unfortunately for Keys, it appears Watkins is higher on the wide receiver board and with both players very identical, it seems to be one or the other.
Glenn Beal — More of a blocking tight end, he may just not be a complete fit for Canada, and with Sheffer in this class, I’m not so sure on having two tight ends here.
Mario Goodrich — A recent offer at defensive back, Goodrich named LSU his leader but he could be a backup plan if one of the three above-mentioned DBs goes elsewhere.
And there you have it, a pre-early signing day dream class. Obviously, some of the commits that I have missing out may wind up signing and others may not, so these classes are always a fluid matter. With this 25-player class, LSU fills a bunch of needs and would be one of the better defensive back classes this school has had. With 2019 expected to be loaded, 2018 stands to be a great year to set the groundwork for the future.