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The Latest With LSU’s 2021 Signing Class

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The early signing period is a little less than two weeks away, where does LSU stand?

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Some of you have been asking PodKatt for the latest with recruiting and now seems like an excellent time to revisit LSU’s 2021 class as we’re 12 days away from the early period of Signing Day. (December 16-18).

The last to pledge verbally to LSU was Pennsylvania safety Derrick Davis Jr. on November 7. LSU’s class hasn’t changed too dramatically, but the Tigers have lost two players in recent days: four-star defensive end Naquan Brown decommited on Thursday and three-star defensive tackle Anthony Hundley decommitted on Tuesday.

Frankly they’re not the most devastating losses for LSU. The Tigers still maintain their No. 3 class ranking and it’s hard not to think that Brown and Hundley’s spots are being opened up for bigger fish in the 2021 class. With Brown and Hundley decommitting that gives LSU 20 recruits.

As of today, the Tigers trail only Alabama and Ohio State. The Tide and Buckeyes have put a pretty good amount of distance between them and LSU and it’s pretty easy to see why: they have multiple five-stars, while LSU only has one—for now at least.

One thing I found interesting when looking at Bama and Ohio State’s commitments is those two have, once again, loaded up on talent on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Alabama has six five-stars, two are offensive tackles, two are defensive linemen; Ohio State has four five-stars, one’s an offensive linemen, the other’s a defensive linemen and the Buckeyes appear set to add another five-star defensive end to their class. LSU, as many have pointed out, only has one offensive linemen in the class. LSU also has three defensive linemen in the class, the highest rated player being Savion Jones who is the No. 168 player overall.

Which brings us to the three biggest players LSU has on their board: defensive end Korey Foreman, No. 1 overall, offensive tackle Tristan Leigh, No. 11 overall, and defensive tackle Maason Smith, now up to No. 18 overall.

Let’s start with Smith as he’s the safest bet of the three to sign with LSU. He’s the state of Louisiana’s best player, and he plays at a position that Ed Orgeron not only coached but needs desperately. Smith plans on committing December 16 and has a final four of Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Miami. You never want to assume anything when it comes to recruiting, but every single person who covers recruiting has Smith signing with LSU.

One of Smith’s best friends in the whole world is Korey Foreman, the No. 1 player in the entire 2021 recruiting class. Foreman and Smith have long maintained that they want to play together at the college level. We hear that a lot but this seems to be a real desire for Foreman and Smith.

Foreman was supposed to be coming into Baton Rouge this weekend, but that trip was called off. He will commit on January 2, the day of this year’s All-American Bowl. It appears as though it’ll come down to either LSU or the hometown USC Trojans and of 247’s four lead experts who are following Foreman’s commitment, two have picked LSU while the other two picked USC.

Speaking of January 2, that’s also the day Tristan Leigh will announce his commitment.

I don’t think there’s any other way to put this: LSU simply has to get Leigh. For a while Leigh committing looked like a matter of when instead of if, and I’ve heard that Leigh was even silently committed to LSU.

Unfortunately that’s changed in light of LSU’s reported failure to investigate sexual assault on campus. Because of that, Oklahoma has pulled even with LSU as the favorite to land Leigh, and may even be slight favorites. Leigh is planning a visit to Norman this weekend.

What might be LSU’s saving grace is Oklahoma’s depth chart along the offensive line has a lot of underclassmen: seven true freshmen, a redshirt freshman and two redshirt sophomores. Either way, expect LSU to put the full court press on Leigh because again this is a must.

I don’t expect LSU to sign all three of Foreman, Leigh and Smith but it’s safe to assume Orgeron will at least get Maason Smith. That would bring LSU back to 21, with four spots left to fill. Ideally one of Leigh or Foreman signs with LSU. Let’s go with Leigh out of necessity. That leaves three spots, where does LSU go to finalize the class?

The popular choice would be Brian Thomas Jr., a four-star wide receiver from Walker. Thomas and Zachary’s Chris Hilton have been battling all year long to be the top wide receiver in Louisiana, and Hilton appears to have just passed Thomas in the latest 247 composite. But Thomas is no slouch, he’s a top-100 overall player and the No. 4 player in the state. Like Maason Smith, Thomas also has 100 percent of crystal balls going to LSU.

If LSU needs a contingency plan for Tristan Leigh, perhaps four-star Savion Byrd from the Dallas area could be someone LSU turns the heat up on. Byrd has an offer from LSU, but SMU and Oklahoma appear to be the favorites for Byrd. Four-star guard Bryce Foster from Katy, Texas also has an LSU offer but that seems to be more of a Sooner-Texas A&M battle.

There are three other players worth keeping an eye out for. Jardin Gilbert, a four-star safety from U-High and top-10 safety got an LSU offer in November. He’ll commit on January 2. Armoni Goodwin, a top-five running back and the No. 78 player overall, decommitted from Auburn on Monday and LSU has been adamant about Goodwin joining Corey Kiner in the class; the Tigers also offered Navonteque Strong, a linebacker from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Strong is a top-15 JUCO prospect but it currently committed to Mississippi State.