This LSU football recruiting National Signing Day preview is provided by Paul Crewe, of SB Nation's excellent LSU site, And The Valley Shook. Looking for National Signing Day coverage of other teams or recruits? Head to SB Nation College Football Recruiting.
By LSU standards, the 2012 recruiting class is a "down" class. Depending on the service, it ranks anywhere from 7 to 16. By no means, poor. But for LSU fans, it's hard to get past the ones that got away. Gunner Kiel offered his verbal, only to eventually ink with Notre Dame. The top player in Louisiana, Landon Collins, spurned his home state for bitter rival Alabama. And finally, a last ditch effort at Mario Edwards ended in vain. Still, the class remains solid.
However, in recent years, the coaching staff evaluations have trumped the recruiting rankings. Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu were lightly recruited. Yet, both were national award winners this season. LSU hopes to strike in-state gold again with Dwayne Thomas out of New Orleans. Further, LSU's robust defensive line gains even more depth with the additions of the freakishly athletic Danielle Hunter and another demon off the edge, Torshiro Davis.
Another huge addition to the class is Vadal Alexander. At 6'6" and 310, he's already got SEC-ready size. He's a tenacious run blocker with good feet who should fit well in the smash-mouth rushing attack Miles has built.
At WR, Travin Dural and Avery Johnson are both solid route runners with sticky hands who offer a fair amount of upside. TE John Thomas could be an impact player, if he makes the grades. He's big, can run, and looks natural catching the ball... something the Tigers lacked last season as well.
One area of concern for last season's team (and next season's team) is LB play. If the 2011 Tigers D had a glaring weakness, it was LB play. Adding All-American Ronnie Feist as well as super athlete Lamar Louis, both early enrollees, not only increases depth, but adds two playmakers who could see playing time as early as next season.
Update: LSU found room for and gained a commitment from Jeremy Liggins, a top jumbo quarterback from Mississippi.
At the moment, the LSU class lacks "star power," at least from a national recognition standpoint. Heading into signing day, the major remaining targets are JUCO receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, linebacker Kwon Alexander, safety Corey Thompson and defensive backTrae Elston. If the Tigers can close with three of those four, namely Patterson, it will further boost the class into the fringe of the top 10. However, as I mentioned above, the ability of the staff to evaluate should not be underestimated.
For more on Tiger recruiting, check out SBB Nation's excellent LSU site, And The Valley Shook.