LSU football recruiting 2013, National Signing Day recap: Louisiana lockdown

Kevin C. Cox

LSU landed nine of the 10 best recruits from its state and several elite defensive prospects in 2013 -- as well as two four-star quarterbacks, not lately a priority for the Tigers.

For more on Tigers football, visit LSU blog And The Valley Shook, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills.

Les Miles played to his strong suits in 2013, recruiting tons of local players and tons of elite defensive prospects for another strong recruiting class.

Not surprisingly, the Tigers have a top-10 class, in fact, higher by most: 247's composite ranks the Tigers No. 7 in the country. As And the Valley Shook wrote, they landed nine of the 10 best players from the state of Louisiana.

The strength for LSU starts on the defensive side of the ball, where Les Miles landed seven four-star recruits and two five-stars, including DE Tashawn Bower, a surprise Singing Day steal from Auburn. That's obviously no surprise for a team that gave up just 17.5 points per game last season. Not many schools could lose Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery and reload, but that's what the Tigers are prepared to do, as And The Valley Shook also said when breaking down the incoming defensive line recruits.

The Tigers lost six contributors from last year's defensive line, and they need some of these newcomers to play right away. That opportunity for immediate playing time is present at both tackle and end, and it was a big selling point for LSU's staff while on the recruiting trail over the last year. The results look promising, and LSU has one of the best defensive line classes in the country ... and they may not be done yet.

More good news comes for LSU at quarterback: it landed a pair of four-stars in Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings, the former a definition pocket passer and the latter blessed with slightly more running capability. As Kris Brauner of And The Valley Shook wrote, its a huge boon for the Tigers at a position they've had trouble recruiting:

With last year's quarterback signee not making it to campus, LSU wanted two quarterbacks in this class, and they were able to pull it off with a couple of very good prospects. Landing either guy would have been considered a success, but to land both? It's a coup. Kudos to Les Miles, Steve Kragthorpe and the staff and kudos to both players, who did not shy away from the competition.

Last year's starter Zach Mettenberger will be a senior, so he'll probably continue to start despite a pretty mediocre season.

Bud Elliott’s grade

A. Twenty players rated four-stars or better is pretty much an automatic A. LSU added immediate help on the defensive line with Christian LaCouture, Frank Herron, Greg Gilmore and, if he plays end, Kendell Beckwith. They brought in eight early enrollees, including two quarterbacks, one of which will presumably be a good player down the line. Tre'Davious White is a star in the making, and LSU scouts its own backyard like none other.

This class would be an A+ if it had more help in the secondary, like an Eddie Jackson or Priest Willis.

Top three players

Tra'davious White, CB, five-star

White is the best player in LSU's class. Nobody knew who White was when he first received an offer from LSU last February and committed shortly after. But as he attended more camps and combines, it quickly became apparent that White was one of the best cornerbacks in the country. By the time White went to the U.S. Army All-American game in January, it was clear that he was one of the best overall players in the country. A tad undersized in the 5'10, 175-pound range, White makes up for it with great speed, athleticism, quickness and toughness. He's not afraid to get physical and challenge bigger receivers at the line of scrimmage. He's also got a great vertical leap which helps negate any perceived disadvantage due to his lack of height. He has everything you could possibly want in a cornerback prospect and seems destined to be a star at LSU. He's also poised to contribute on special teams. He's great with the ball in his hands and could compete for kickoff return duties right away. He should be a natural at kick coverage too, possibly as a gunner on the outside. I suspect we'll quickly see White on the field in nickel/dime packages, using his speed on blitzes and utilizing his coverage ability in the middle of the field.

Frank Herron, five-stars, DE

Why does Herron have all of those offers? He's 6'4.5, 240 pounds and plays with a lot of power and quickness. I don't know if Herron always shows these traits, as all I've seen is highlights and not game tape, but the important thing is that he has shown these traits. It's LSU's job to bring out those qualities on a consistent basis.

Hayden Rettig, four-stars, QB

At 6'3, 210 pounds, Rettig possesses good size for the quarterback position. He clearly has been the recipient of some quarterback coaching, as his feel for the game and approach are quite smooth and polished. Rettig has the arm to get the ball where it needs to go, but also shows some anticipation. That's important, as all too often quarterback recruits with big arms get in trouble by relying on RPMs and not timing or accuracy.

Top three rival classes

SB Nation recruiting expert Bud Elliott wrote how SEC recruiting is a different game, and this year, the winners were Alabama, SEC East rival Florida and Ole Miss. So pretty much LSU's three closest things to actual rivals. The SEC is insane.

Biggest National Signing Day drama

Robert Nkemdiche, the top recruit in the country, was supposed to be in the bag for Ole Miss, but took a surprise trip to LSU last weekend. LSU's 1 percent chance counts as its biggest drama, other than Bower.

Notes from SB Nation blogs

From And The Valley Shook on the surprise signing of Bower:

6-5, 250 pounds out of Immaculata High School in Somerville, New Jersey, Bower committed to Auburn in June, but had been rumored to be looking at LSU for months. He visited officially a few weeks ago, but appeared to be sticking with his original commitment until some rumors began to circulate in the last 24 hours.

Early this morning, it was reported that he would actually sign with Florida, but LSU has received his LOI fax! Bower was incredibly productive in 2012, with 95 tackles, 11 sacks, 7 pass break-ups and three forced fumbles.

Official school release

LSU added another nationally-ranked signing class on Wednesday as head coach Les Miles and his staff hauled in 12 of the best players in Louisiana to go along with some of the top prospects in nine other states.

In all, Miles and the Tigers signed a total of 27 players - 14 on defense, 13 on offense. LSU's 2013 signing class was rated as high as No. 5 in the nation by Rivals.com, No. 6 by Scout.com and No. 7 by 247sports.com and ESPN.com. It's the eighth time in nine years that Miles and LSU have landed a class signing class ranked in the top 10. The class included three players who were rated as 5-star prospects (Greg Gilmore, Frank Herron,Tre'Davious White) by the recruiting services with another 20 recognized as 4-star prospects.

View The List + Video Highlights

"We had a very quality recruiting season and it ended with a great signing day," Miles said Wednesday afternoon. "Any time that you are successful in recruiting, it's because of the efforts of many people. I can't tell you the number of professors and people involved in academics who volunteered time to go over their curriculum and represent this school very well.

"Our coaches spent tireless hours on the road. Our players represented what we have in our culture here. The guys talk about our prospects as real quality men. Our families allow us to put the school first. To those people, I just want to say thank you. That is the reason that this recruiting class has assembled a quality group of men."

In addition to the 12 in-state players, LSU added three players from both Georgia and Florida, two from California and North Carolina, and one each from Tennessee, Nebraska, Alabama, New Jersey and Illinois.

The class included seven defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs along with five offensive linemen, four wide receivers, two quarterbacks and a pair of tight ends.

Of the 27 signees for LSU in this year's class, eight have already enrolled in school and will take part in spring practice. The list of early enrollees include both quarterbacks in Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings, two wide receivers in Avery Johnson and John Diarse, a pair of offensive linemen in Ethan Pocic and Fehoko Fanaika, tight end Logan Stokes and defensive tackle Christian LaCouture.

"This is a highly ranked class, but more importantly it's one that meets our needs." Miles said. "I think it has quality and players with good character and integrity. The quality of people (in this class) are such that they will want to compete for championships. I would say that this is of strong a class that we've signed. It is the style of class that will put us in great position as we go forward. We all agree that we will find out how this team plays as it matures. In the position that we are in right now, the effort was great."

Some of the highlights of LSU's 2013 class include 5-start defensive back Tre'Davious White from Green Oaks in Shreveport, La., first-team Parade All-America offensive lineman Pocic; the top rated player in North Carolina in defensive tackle Greg Gilmore and the No. 2 rated player in Tennessee in defensive end Frank Herron.

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