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Early Signing Day 2019: Gambles, Lies & Valuing What You Have

Top 5 Ain’t Too Bad.

SEC Championship - Georgia v LSU Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

There’s a unique aspect to the human condition whereby we are continually re-defining the bar of our own standards of acceptance. You get a job and then you must get a new one with better pay or benefits or title. You buy a house and then you must buy a new one to get an extra bedroom or office or bigger yard. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the desire for better. It’s that exact feeling that often pushes humanity forward toward it’s greatest achievements. Edison didn’t look at controlled fires or natural lighting and think, “You know what? We’re good. This is enough.”

But that same emotion sits two ticks away from the all-consuming covetousness that ultimately detracts from happiness. To focus on what one wants is to ignore what one has. Those who live in the focus of wants do not experience the joy of satisfaction.

Jermaine Burton & Rakim Jarrett Lied

LSU’s pair of highly touted receiver recruits strung our coaching staff along for months, only to pull the plug at the midnight hour. There’s no moral judgments here, as our staff pretty flexibly exercised the verbal nature of offers this year, revoking offers previously made to Major Burns, Jalen Lee, Darin Turner, and others. It sucks for it to go down in the manner in which it did, but this is the risk LSU takes in pushing all their chips in on big-time national recruits.

From a business decision standpoint, maybe Jarrett and Burton received strong ass offers, but these seem like family decisions to me. Jarrett is staying close to home, obviously and Burton’s mother is re-locating back to Georgia, which keeps Jermaine closer. I won’t fault any kid for their decision, but I imagine it will be painful for Burton in particular to go to an offense where he spends 55 percent of his snaps run blocking and racks up about a third of the production as Kayshon Boutte does in the LSU offense he could have also played in. That may sound stark but look at George Pickens vs. JaMarr Chase this season:

Pickens: 37 catches, 552 yards, 7 TDs
Chase: 73 catches, 1,498 yards, 18 TDs

No One Knows on Jordan Burch

It was re-iterated pretty well throughout that Burch kept things close to the vest, so there’s no reason to believe now that anyone suddenly has any idea what will happen next. For those that missed it, Burch picked South Carolina Wednesday, but as of press time still hasn’t signed his letter of intent. He’s got until Friday to do so, but most are speculating this will drag out until February. Georgia people believe they are in it. LSU people believe they are in it. South Carolina people believe they are still going to land him. Count on nothing here.

LSU’s early signing day didn’t go as planned. It’s easier to fixate on what-could-have-beens but it’s more productive to talk about needs. Back in October I wrote about where the class sat in a needs vs. commits perspective. Now that 19 pieces are firmly in place, let’s re-visit to see where things stand moving forward.

LSU Recruiting Class

Player Position Star Ranking 247 Composite Ranking 247 Composite Rating Signed?
Player Position Star Ranking 247 Composite Ranking 247 Composite Rating Signed?
Max Johnson QB 4 252 0.9097 Y
TJ Finley QB 3 492 0.8784 Y
Kayshon Boutte WR 4 40 0.9795 Y
Koy Moore WR 4 297 0.9007 Y
Arik Gilbet TE 5 9 0.9956 Y
Kole Taylor TE 3 417 0.885 Y
Marcus Dumervil OT 4 7 0.9561 Y
CamRon Jackson OT 3 647 0.8682 N
Marlon Martinez OG 3 451 0.8817 Y
Xavier Hill OG 3 471 0.8797 Y
Jacquelin Roy DL 4 49 0.9764 Y
Jacobian Guillory DL 4 147 0.9348 Y
Eric Taylor DL 4 279 0.9047 Y
Ali Gaye DL 3 27 (JUCO) 0.8756 Y
Phillip Webb EDGE 4 42 0.9794 Y
B.J. Ojulari EDGE 4 130 0.941 Y
Antoine Sampah ILB 4 64 0.9695 Y
Josh White ILB 4 138 0.9388 Y
Elias Ricks CB 5 12 0.9952 Y
Jordan Toles S 4 91 0.9589 Y

QB - 2 signees, 0 spots remaining

Both commits signed. No surprises here. T.J. Finley is already on campus going through bowl prep with the team.

RB - 0 signees, 1 spot remaining

No commits and no known signees. Zachary Evans remains mysterious, and there’s an off-chance he went ahead and signed with LSU yesterday but the announcement is withheld until his moment at the Under Armour All-American bowl. Other players could come into the mix here if Evans chooses another program.

WR - 2 signees, 0 spots remaining

Four spots were earmarked but that could well be more about the quality of player available than actual need here. Now that LSU’s got two in the hat, do they still go after two more? There’s rumors that Malachi Wideman, a top-150 FSU commit, may be a target. Top 100 guys Gary Bryant Jr. and Xzavier Henderson will be targeted. California and Florida natives, respectively, may not have previously considered LSU but now become options after LSU’s stellar offensive season. Depending on numbers, I think LSU adds at least one. There’s a really nice crop of guys in the state next season, headlined by Chris Hilton, Sage Ryan and Brian Thomas Jr.

TE - 2 signees, 0 spots remaining

Both of LSU’s commits signed. Both are legitimate receiving threats. Gilbert may be a paradigm-shifting type of player, which alleviates some need at the receiver position.

OT - 1 signee, 1-2 spots remaining

Dumervil was an outstanding get out of Florida and CamRon Jackson remains committed while he works through trying to get academically eligible. Ty’kieast Crawford may come into play, but he’s similarly battling grades issues.

OG/OC - 2 signees, 0 or 1 spot remaining

Martinez is in the hat. The name to watch here is Sedrick Van Pran. The Georgia commit didn’t sign this week and he’s at least taking calls from the LSU staff. Georgia losing Sam Pittman is a positive development for LSU, though it remains to be seen if it’s enough for the Tigers to sway him.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oops, forgot Hill here.

DL - 4 signees, 2 spots remaining

Four guys signed. LSU is still chasing Burch and will until that reaches a state of finality. McKinnley Jackson is the other top target remaining. There’s other names here that may emerge, but the focus will be on trying to close out with those two.

EDGE - 2 signees, 0 spots remaining

The staff flipped Ojulari and then pulled Webb on Wednesday. That’s as good of a set of edge rushers as you will find in the country. No more targets here.

ILB - 2 signees, 0 or 1 spot remaining

Sampah and White are absolute studs in the middle and both signed. Edgerrin Cooper is a guy the staff flirted with, but he may not have a spot. There’s not a real need here, but if the staff feels they are striking out elsewhere, I could see a scenario where he becomes next man up.

CB - 1 signee, 0-1 spot remaining

LSU’s huge haul last year really mitigates the need for a big class here. Ricks is the lone signee, but he’s a special one. LSU might still be in the hunt for a nickel, though.

S - 1 signee, 1 spot remaining

Jordan Toles, even as a top 100 prospect, is one of the most overlooked players in this class. He’s going to be a stud. LSU’s need for a second safety remains after Malcolm Greene expectedly flipped to Clemson. My guess is that 3-star Donovan Kaufman, a Vanderbilt commit, may become the chief target.

Strong Finish

Departing juniors will also weigh on this. If I had to guess, LSU will add a safety, defensive lineman and a couple offensive linemen. That leaves two open spots, which they might then use on the transfer market. There’s some good options out there. Maybe a guy like D’Eriq King is intriguing if you think he’s a better option than Myles on a team returning a ton? Maybe Justin Shorter fills that receiver void?

LSU’s gonna finish with a top five class that hit every single position with at least one player. There’s no logical way to be upset with that. This is a star-studded group that also meets needs. Don’t get caught up in the fact that it didn’t become an all-time class. That’s living in wants. Live in the haves. It’s where happiness rests.