Recruiting: Where We Stand

The commitment of Florida offensive lineman Patrick Miller on Friday broke a month-long stretch of almost zero recruiting news for LSU.   A big reason for that is the fact that LSU’s class is almost complete.   Miller makes 19 commitments for LSU, and Les Miles is holding spots for a number of the remaining targets.  LSU will reportedly sign a full class of 25.   But with just 15 seniors on the 2011 roster and another possible departure in the form of Josh Johns, LSU does not need to sign a full class just for the sake of doing so.   If the right prospects are unwilling to sign with the Tigers, so be it.   I don’t see too many players on LSU’s current roster that I do not feel good about.  

I thought we’d do a position by position look at what’s left on the board and how things may finish up.  

Commitments – 0
It was thought that LSU needed to sign a quarterback in this class but when Jerrard Randall fell into LSU’s lap last spring, it became less of a priority.  Personally, I’d like to see one signed every year.  But the Tigers have seen most of their top targets commit elsewhere for the Class of 2012.  

Who’s Left?
Mississippi’s Jeremy Liggins still looks like the most likely option.  Despite being a project and a guy with weight concerns, I still really like him as a quarterback.  Another Magnolia State prospect, Anthony Alford, is certainly a possibility.  But he’s more of an athlete than a quarterback, and he also stands a strong chance to end up in pro baseball rather than college.   After that, the options are pretty limited.  Austin, TX prospect Preston Dewey is a Miami commitment but with trouble looming for the Canes’ program, he could look around before signing day.  

Commitments – 1
Crowley’s Davante Bourque is the lone running back commitment right now, and I think it’s likely that Bourque ends up playing at a different position before his career is over.  He has the build of a receiver or edge player rather than a running back, but he’ll get his shot to prove he belongs in the backfield.  

Who’s Left?
LSU is likely done at running back, but one name to watch is Jeremy Hill.  Hill was a commitment to LSU last year before he ran into some legal troubles.   He ended up not signing anywhere.  If that legal situation gets figured out, don’t be surprised to see Hill enrolled at LSU in January.  

Commitments – 3
With Avery Johnson, Travin Dural and Kavahra Holmes on board, LSU is probably done at wide receiver.  However, the staff has made it clear they would like a big receiver to go along with the smaller group from last year (Beckham, Landry, Turner) and the current group.  If the right big guy is available, LSU will pursue him.  

Who’s Left?
With that in mind, Cincinnati, OH prospect Dwayne Stanford is a guy to watch.  LSU is one of his finalists, and the Tigers have a legit chance to land the 6’4″ 195 pound prospect.  

Commitments – 2
LSU is done at tight-end with a solid pair of in-state prospects in John Thomas and Dillon Gordon.   Thomas is the more exciting prospect of the two, but he unfortunately just suffered a season ending knee injury.   

Commitments – 3
LSU has a solid group so far with Jerald Hawkins, Derek Edinburgh, and Patrick Miller.  With all three guys projecting as tackles, LSU would still like to add a guard to round out this class.  

Who’s Left?
The last piece to the puzzle is Buford, GA prospect Vadal Alexander.   LSU has been recruiting Alexander very hard for quite a while, and they remain one of his finalists along with Auburn and Alabama.  Alexander would complete a very solid offensive line class for LSU to go along with last year’s impressive group.  Alexander is probably best suited as a guard at the next level, but it’s easy to envision him finding a home as a right tackle too.  

Commitments – 1 or 2
LSU has just one commitment at defensive end in Danielle Hunter.   They have another guy in Torshiro Davis who could play either linebacker or D-end.  And I think they’d like one more player that can potentially line up on the edge.  

Who’s Left?
The top candidate is Bastrop’s Denzell Devall who, like Davis, could also play linebacker.  Mississippi’s Channing Ward is a national prospect with legit interest in LSU, but most believe he’ll ultimately stay close to home and play at one of the Mississippi schools or Alabama.   An interesting name to watch is Jelani Hamilton, a Miami commitment from Fort Lauderdale, FL.  With likely sanctions on the way for Miami, Hamilton is looking around and he named LSU and North Carolina as the two he’s most interested in, though he has not totally eliminated Miami.   While Devall, Davis, and Hunter all fit the mold of the speedier, pass rushing defensive end, Hamilton is a big bigger at 6’5″ 245 pounds.  He’ll probably grow into a guy similar to Lavar Edwards or even Tyson Jackson.  His offer lists reads like a who’s who of college football.  

Watch for some in-state options late in the recruiting process such as Destrehan’s Bryan Singleton and a pair from West Monroe…James McFarland and Terrell Lathan.  John Curtis prospect Torrey Bell, a Mississippi State commitment, seems to fit what John Chavis wants in a defensive end.  But he’s definitely a fall back option right now.  

Commitments – 0
LSU signed three defensive tackles last year, two of which are headed for certain redshirts.  But I’m sure Les Miles would like to sign at least one in this class.  The problem is that the state of Louisiana has no SEC caliber options, and LSU has not been able to make much noise out of state to this point.  

Who’s Left?
The aforementioned Singleton, mentioned above, could potentially grow into a defensive tackle and may be a fallback option.   LSU seems to be recruiting Oklahoma prospect Ashton Henderson even though his film and offer list are less than inspiring.  

Commitments – 3 or 4
Lamar Louis, Ronnie Feist,
and Trey Granier give LSU a very solid group of linebackers in this class.  Torshiro Davis could very well end up at linebacker as well.  Despite having up to four linebackers already on board, LSU is still looking for another, and that’s in addition to Denzell Devall.  

Who’s Left?
LSU has an offer out to Long Beach, MS linebacker Richie Brown.  Brown came to LSU’s camp and was a workout warrior.  The coaches loved him, and they offered him on the spot.  He also has offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Stanford, and Vanderbilt.   LSU offered Brown ahead of in-state prospects Deion Jones (Nebraska commit) and Otha Peters (Tennessee commit).   Would LSU try to get back on those guys late in the game if they don’t land Brown?   I don’t think so, but it’s certainly possible.  

Patterson’s Lorenzo Phillips is the other guy LSU would really love to have but he’s committed to Florida.  Some recent rumors have him possibly re-considering that commitment.  So LSU may have an outside chance of flipping Phillips.  

Commitments – 3
Dwayne Thomas
(pictured above), Derrick Raymond, and Jalen Mills give LSU a solid group of corners.  

Who’s Left?
I think LSU is done at cornerback.  A pair of in-state guys are committed to BCS schools and with a big senior season could potentially draw the interest of the Tigers, though it’s unlikely.  Lutcher’s Jordan Batiste is committed to Ole Miss while East St. John’s Darion Monroe is committed to Texas A&M.  

Commitments – 1
Hahnville’s Jerqwinick Sandolph does not have a huge offer list, but he’s certainly got the raw ability to develop into a nice player.  LSU would like one more guy to round out the safety class.  

Who’s Left?
Dutchtown safety Landon Collins is the prize of this class as far as LSU’s concerned.  One of the nation’s top prospects and a consensus five-star prospect, he’s clearly the top player in Louisiana.   His other top team is Alabama.  Losing Collins would be a kick in the nuts.  Losing him to Alabama would be a sledge hammer.  

Special Teams
Commitments – 1
LSU has a commitment from deep snapper Reid Ferguson.  It does not hurt that Ferguson is high school teammates with Vadal Alexander.  

Who’s Left?
Nobody.  LSU signed a place kicker last year and their punter is just a freshman.  They probably won’t sign any special teams specialists for a couple of years.  

So with 19 commitments, we have a pretty good idea of the players that may finish out this class.  Of course, some new names will emerge between now and February.  It always happens.  But it’s a safe bet to assume the following guys are the top targets to close things out at this point:

QB Jeremy Liggins
QB Anthony Alford
RB Jeremy Hill
WR Dwayne Stanford
OL Vadal Alexander
DE Channing Ward
DE Jelani Hamilton
DE/LB  Denzell Devall
LB Richie Brown
LB Lorenzo Phillips
S Landon Collins