With the 2019 class in the rearview mirror, the staff will turn their focus to 2020 because as we all know: recruiting never stops. Even though we’re in February, LSU currently sits at second in the nation with nine commits, trailing...well, I don’t even need to see who it is. There is however, a good opportunity to take first place, and with a big recruiter already in this class, things are already trending in a good direction. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who can fill out the 2020 class and who will find, as Steve Lattimer said in The Program, their place at the table.
LSU has brought in a QB in each of the last three years still on the roster: Peter Parrish, Joe Burrow and Myles Brennan, who should be much more appreciated than he is with the slew of backup QBs transferring recently. The Tigers jumped in early, nabbing two QBs for 2020 in the in-state Finley and the son of former NFL QB Brad Johnson. That doesn’t mean Ensminger and the staff have stopped as emergency plans are sometimes needed. Uiagalelei is probably one of the best QBs to come out in a number of years, and Elias Ricks, who will be mentioned often throughout this article, will be doing his part. Haynes King, a Texas recruit, was recently offered and could be a more realistic backup option at the time if one of the two commits looked elsewhere.
LSU comes off one of its best hauls at the position in school history, nabbing top-10 running backs John Emery and Tyrion Davis. In the SEC though, you need a good stable of thoroughbreds to get through the season, which means Tommie Robinson never stops recruiting and he has good options. The Warren Easton recruit and top-15 back Clayton is the most likely player to join this class. The Tigers have been on Texas recruit Evans for a long time, and North Shore has been kind in recent years, but they will face stiff competition from the Aggies. Milton, a California recruit, recently arrived on the map because of (this will be a reoccurring theme in 2020) his friendship with Elias Ricks.
LSU built upon an excellent 2018 class by adding North Louisiana recruits Trey Palmer and Devonta Lee in 2019 as they approached a loaded 2020 class. Turner, a top-15 WR, and Abrams-Draine are out of state commits from Tennessee and Alabama respectively, while Boutte comes out of New Iberia. They will add two more at most (unless one of the two out-of-staters leave), and Moore, the Rummel product who recently de-committed from USC, is next in line. Jarrett and Burton are both on the coaches radar due to...yep, Ricks again. The final four are all in-state guys that may have to earn a spot on the camp circuit (Douglas is likely Florida bound however).
Tight end has been a weird position for LSU the past couple of years. The Tigers brought in JUCO recruit T.K. McClendon last year and NC State transfer and oft-injured Thaddeus Moss the previous year, but it remains to be seen what comes of the position in this offense. Dyson is a top-20 TE out of Hammond and would likely be added to this class. Redman comes out of California if the staff goes heavy with its West Coast flavor.
Commits: Courtland Ford
LSU added five offensive linemen in 2019, but James Cregg is still looking to develop his own identity for his line. Ford comes out of the DFW metroplex in Texas, an area that LSU once heavily recruited, so it is nice to see them continue to tap that resource. Raym, a guard out of Oklahoma, has received a lot of recent attention from LSU. Merriweather-Lewis and Dumervil are both Florida recruits. Van Pran is the top lineman from Louisiana and is teammates with Ashaad Clayton.
The miss of Sopsher still stings and makes this 2020 class of the utmost importance. LSU addressed their depth at nose tackle with the addition of Siaki Ika, so the primary focus will be on finding those 3-4 defensive ends. The Tigers already have two with Roy and Jackson. Branard Wright, a top-five tackle from Dallas Carter, will likely be the third recruit at the spot. McKinnley Jackson, who was once an LSU commit before coaches with a bias to a certain SEC school interfered, still has heavy interest in the Tigers, and Guillory, who is getting heavy interest from the Aggies, are both options as nose tackles. Dorbah is more of a 3-4 outside linebacker, but is listed as an end, so thus his addition to the list.
LSU has had no problem in the linebacker department since the arrival of Dave Aranda, and 2019 was no different as the Tigers brought in Marcel Brooks, Donte Starks, Kendall McCallum and Desmond Little. The 2020 class will probably see a heavy emphasis on the pass-rushing variety, and it starts with the Washington D.C. and top-15 overall recruit Sherman, who holds a friendship with...yeah, Ricks once again. Navarrette, a California recruit, recently visited and came away with an offer to cap off his weekend that sent LSU way up his list. This is a position that hasn’t seen many players jump to the front, but options lie in inside linebacker Flowe out of California, Georgia recruit Walker and current UTSA commit and Helen Cox product Burrle.
Commits: Elias Ricks
While the moniker of DBU was originated before the arrival of Corey Raymond, he has only strengthened the hold of the nickname despite challenges to the throne from Florida, Alabama and any other school that likes to say otherwise. When one big name leaves, another one joins the fray to fill those shoes. The 2019 class was no different as the haul may be recognized as one of the best at LSU with Derek Stingley, Raydar Jones, Jay Ward, Cordale Flott and the hopeful addition of Maurice Hampton if he can get past the allure of MLB.
Raymond started 2020 with a boom of epic proportions with the addition of California recruit, No. 1 cornerback and top-10 overall recruit Elias Ricks. If you ever wanted a clone of Patrick Peterson, Ricks would fit that bill, not just in talent but his recruiting impact, as he has brought LSU to the top of recruit’s lists that the Tigers would normally not even be in the conversation to get. McGlothern, a top-five corner from the DFW metroplex, almost has a sibling-esque rivalry with Ricks with the two going back and forth on social media as to who would wear the vaunted No. 7 at LSU. Cavazos, a recent de-commit from Ohio State, has had Ricks in his ear and is very open to playing with him and Stingley. Joel Williams is the top-rated defensive back recruit in Louisiana, while Burns recently committed to Texas A&M but things could change with an LSU push.
Recruits of Note: ?
LSU added kicker Cade York, ranked No. 2 by Kohl’s Kicking, to replace Cole Tracy and Buford long snapper Quentin Skinner, who will take over for Blake Ferguson after the 2019 season, in the 2019 class so those two spots are accounted for going forward. Zack Von Rosenberg, who averaged 45.7 yards per punt last year, will be a junior so LSU is good there, and York averaged 48 yards in high school so he could possibly double up later on down the road. The Tigers could look to a punter, but even then, it’d probably be in a walk-on role.
This is obviously a very preliminary list, really just an outlook, of what the 2020 class is shaping up to be. Obviously, once camping season gets under way and the staff hits the film room to break down the 2020 class, more offers will go out and other names may rise up the board. Another successful season in Baton Rouge could spell out another top-five class and make a run for that No. 1 spot.