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Portal SZN: Who Might LSU Target to Supplement the 2020 Signing Class

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Champions Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

25 wins, 1 Fiesta Bowl victory, 1 Peach Bowl victory, 1 SEC Championship, 1 Heisman. 1 National Championship. Largely built on the backs of transfer athletes. Few rules changes so heavily impacted college football as that of the relaxation of terms around transfer athletes in the past several seasons. The model OU flexed to great success with Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts is the new normal across the land, with Georgia more or less openly pushing out a 3-year starter to sign a graduate transfer from Wake Forest. In 2019, the NCAA introduced the transfer portal, enabling athletes the capability to declare their intent to leave their current programs and meet with other schools who may potentially have interest. Thus a new talent acquisition model is born.

Historically, transfers were a healthy gamble. Typically they arrived with some sort of baggage, or needed a return to home due to familial situations. Bud Elliott disregards them in his blue-chip ratio for these reasons. Yes, that means Joe Burrow did not count in LSU’s ratio the past two seasons. The model is changing. Transfers are now commodities. A transfer is no longer a solid role player that can supplement you through depth chart woes for a season. A transfer might send your whole damn program into the next stratosphere.


When LSU struck out on their big swings during the early signing period, the staff needed to reorganize around a new plan to fill out its remaining spots. That first meant revisiting their current prospect board for unsigned talent that could be persuaded, like Dwight McGlothern. It also meant re-prioritizing the running back targets. Coming off a week with heavy early NFL Draft declarations, expect transfers to become the final key piece to completing the 2020 Signing Class. Let’s comb 247’s Transfer Portal site and see what options may intrigue.

QB

Don’t really see the merit here. Maybe if a litany of those juniors returned and you felt there was someone fully formed (a la Jamie Newman) that could propel you back in the SEC Championship race. Let’s put it this way, if the staff signs a QB, Myles Brennan will never play a meaningful down at LSU.

RB

Need wise, it makes sense if you can find a guy with immediate eligibility. Three quality backs return to Baton Rouge next season, but the staff would like an additional body to supplement. Hard to sell any kid on coming fresh to a depth chart with a 5-star on the 3rd string behind two other 4-stars that outplayed him in 2019.

Amir Rasul from FSU fits as a talent. He’s only carried the rock 49 times for 244 yards and a TD in his career. But he’ll have to sit out a year.

Brittain Brown from Duke posted some solid numbers and is immediately eligible. 5.1 YPC on his career and also caught 17 passes. However, injuries limited him the previous two seasons.

Martell Pettaway from WVU rushed for over 1100 yards during his career with the Mountaineers and is also immediately eligible.

WR

LSU’s top two in 2020 will be as good as any in the nation, but the depth chart thereafter is largely unproven. Could be a spot to supplement, especially with losing a pair of WR commitments during the early period.

Justin Shorter from PSU is a former 5-star. Not terribly productive at Penn State, who lacked any exceptional receiving options outside of KJ Hamler. Inclines me to think he didn’t develop to match his recruiting ranking. Joe Brady was the only real connection, so there’s that.

Mykel Jones from OU. Patterson LA kid that picked OU over Bama coming out. LSU never really pursued. Immediately eligible though not super productive over his four years in Norman. Suspect he’ll go lower tier but ties worth mentioning.

Brian Hightower from Miami. Caught a TD in the opener vs. LSU in 2018. Had an LSU offer coming out of HS. Intriguing option.

There’s other names with no ties. I wouldn’t be surprised if they snagged one, but it’s not a must either, especially because Racey McMath, Trey Palmer and Kayshon Boutte are probably better than your options at this point.

TE

The Moss departure leaves LSU a bit thin, but it’s Arik Gilbert time.

OT

Dare Rosenthal is the future at LT, and played a handful of games there last season. Even with Saahdiq Charles declaring, there’s not a compelling enough target to think they’d find an upgrade.

OG

One of the deepest spots on the whole roster. Doubt they go shopping.

OC

Cush leaving means a new starter, but LSU is rich on interior OL right now.

DE

Glen Logan and Neil Farrell Jr. returning means your starters are probably set. There’s a lot of bodies here as well. I’d be surprised, though Isaiah Chambers is an interesting fit with his body type. Don’t forget Michael Williams gets to join the program as an eligible participant this year too.

DT

Michael Thompson from OU is intriguing. Top 100 recruit from 2018 that flirted with LSU. Goes back to the depth issue mentioned above, but previous connection worth mentioning.

ILB

LSU lost both its starting ILBs due to early declarations. Micah Baskerville and Damone Clark both shined at various moments in 2019 and Josh White and Antoine Sampah are on the way, but this is a pot that makes sense to supplement.

Levi Draper from OU. Mostly a STer in Norman but he’s set to grad transfer with two years remaining. Former top 150 prospect with good size. Might be worth kicking the tires, though no previous attachments.

Michael Harris from Auburn. Young transfer, but no immediate eligibility. SE prospect. This would be a futures bet.

Jordan Anthony from Michigan. 4-3 WLB at Michigan, but he’d be an ILB in our scheme. Played at IMG in Florida, but from Maryland originally. No ties, but former top 100ish guy.

OLB

No compelling options, Brooks and Thornton return and you’ve got two highly touted guys coming. Not worth pursuing.

CB

LSU needs to replace one starter, but they’ve got options with Cordale Flott, Jay Ward, Raydarious Jones and incoming freshman Elias Ricks.

S

Some solid players, but LSU’s got a host of bodies back there. Doubt it.

What’s Next?

With the dead period ending Thursday, expect LSU to pick up a full head of steam in recruiting over the final couple of weeks before Old School Signing Day. LB and maybe RB seem the biggest areas that could use some immediate infusion, but with the options available, LSU might be playing the futures market like they did with Thaddeus Moss here. If there’s a talented piece that you think can help you in 2021, 2022... go take him. But the only guy that would majorly excite me on this list is Michael Thompson.