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Some Thoughts on the 2021 Recruiting Class and the Future at Quarterback

LSU had a big week on the recruiting trail last week, but what comes next?

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

LSU had a very good week last week on the recruiting trail.

The Tigers picked up three commitments from three-four star players out of three different states. It started on Wednesday when Naquan Brown, a defensive end/outside linebacker from Virginia, pulled the trigger. Chris Hilton, a top wide receiver from down the road in Zachary committed on July 3, and Keanu Koht, another pass rusher from Florida followed Hilton’s lead and committed the next day.

While it was a good week for LSU, it wasn’t a picture perfect week. Caleb Williams, the top quarterback in the 2021 class picked Oklahoma over LSU and the hometown Maryland Terps. Williams was long thought to be an Oklahoma lean and who could blame him? The last three years Lincoln Riley has had three quarterbacks make it to New York for the Heisman ceremony, two win and then get picked first overall in the draft. Plus, Williams was never able to make a visit to Baton Rouge and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon with the NCAA extending its dead period through August 31st.

But look at the silver lining with LSU’s recruiting efforts of Caleb Williams. When was the last time the Tigers were being considered by the No. 1 quarterback in America, especially by a kid who lives in D.C.? This is the Joe Burrow ripple effect, suddenly LSU can sell elite quarterbacks on winning Heismans and championships and being picked first because Burrow did it.

And, oh by the way, LSU already has a quarterback commitment in hand, from four-star Garrett Nussmeier out of Flower Mound, Texas. Nussmeier spent the past few days impressing at the Elite 11 Camp outside of Nashville, finishing sixth overall. Nussmeier is a top-10 pro-style quarterback prospect and has been at the forefront recruiting other kids to LSU’s 2021 class.

After a decade of mediocre at best quarterback play, it’s hard not to be excited by the direction the LSU quarterback room is trending. We’re still waiting of course to see what Myles Brennan can be as a starter, but what about life after Brennan in either 2022 or ‘23? The staff loves freshman Max Johnson. There’s also tantalizing tools with TJ Finley. Then the Tigers seem set to add Nussmeier to the 2021 roster, Walker Howard, a top-100 prospect in 2022, and have already offered top 2023 quarterback prospect Zachary High’s Eli Holstein, son of former Tiger punter Scott Holstein.

Speaking of LSU legacies, there’s also Jai Eugene Jr. looming in the 2023 class. Eugene Jr. looks to be one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in his class. And what about Newman High’s Arch Manning? Sure it seems like a long shot that a Manning will play quarterback at LSU, but Coach O seems to be turning LSU into one of college football elite programs, it’s not impossible to see Manning in purple and gold.

Anyway, looking at LSU’s 2021 class as a whole the Tigers currently have 15 commitments. LSU has 10 spots available and could possibly make it 11 thanks to CamRon Jackson flipping to Memphis.

The biggest need LSU has this season is wide receiver and defensive line. Consider both those needs met for now, especially at receiver. LSU has three of 2021’s top-10 receivers with Hilton, JoJo Earle and Deion Smith and appears to be the favorite to land Walker High’s Brian Thomas Jr. If the Tigers can add Thomas and hold on to those four players, that could be the LSU equivalent of Alabama signing Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith and Henry Ruggs in 2017. It would give the Tigers by far and away the best receiving class in America.

As for defensive line, LSU has five commitments. LSU has Brown and Koht in addition to four-stars Landon Jackson, Saivion Jones and three-star Anthony Hundley.

So with 10 spots open where else could LSU look to round out the class? I’m not the recruiting guru Dan/Paul was, but here’s what I’ve gathered:

  • Thomas is a must, even with three receivers in hand. If nothing else, LSU needs to get Thomas because if they don’t Alabama will.
  • The biggest fish in Louisiana is Houma’s Maason Smith, a five-star defensive tackle. Smith is considered a heavy LSU lean and recently trimmed his top-10 schools down to eight and LSU was still in the mix. It feels like with Smith it’ll be another classic LSU-Alabama recruiting battle, but expect Smith to pledge to the Tigers.
  • Speaking of Smith, he’s developed quite a friendship with No. 1 overall prospect Korey Foreman a defensive end from California. Foreman was a Clemson commit, but decommitted in order to visit other schools. Smith and Foreman have talked about playing together, and if that wasn’t enough Raesjon Davis, an LSU commit from California, has been selling Foreman on playing for Coach O and the Tigers.
  • While Smith is the state’s No. 1 prospect, Lafayette Christian’s Sage Ryan is the No. 2 prospect in Louisiana and the nation’s best safety. He’s also a heavy LSU lean and being cousins with Kevin Faulk certainly helps the Tigers’ chances
  • Keep an eye on two massive out of state prospects. Tristan Leigh, an offensive tackle and No. 11 overall prospect out of Fairfax, Virginia is starting to trend toward LSU. Clemson remains the favorite, but LSU picked up a crystal ball prediction from 247. Rivals, on the other hand, has the Tigers favored over Clemson for Leigh. LSU offered Leigh in June of 2019 and he’s has been to campus twice since then. Offensive line coach James Cregg has been in constant contact with Leigh, so expect the Tigers to turn up the heat on Leigh and try to pair him with Michigan’s Garrett Dellinger.
  • Yesterday, four-star linebacker Smael Mondon from the northwestern part of Atlanta, released his top-five and LSU was firmly in the mix. That said, the home state Bulldogs appear to be the favorites.