LSU might be on the verge of an unprecedented recruiting accomplishment. The Tigers could end up adding five consensus five-star recruits during the Under Armour All-American Game on Thursday, which is something that has never happened before.
The five in question: athlete/safety Jamal Adams, defensive lineman Gerald Willis, cornerback Tony Brown, wide receiver Speedy Noil and running back Leonard Fournette. Being in the right place at the right time never hurts -- it's been an outstanding year for talent in Louisiana, and the Tigers are poised to take full advantage. Seven consensus four-star players from Louisiana already have verbaled to LSU, and three of the five guys mentioned above are from Louisiana.
Three of the five announcing Thursday night are from Louisiana, and the other two are from Texas -- an area that the Tigers also recruit very well.
Fournette might prove to be the best of the bunch; he is widely regarded as the top overall prospect in the 2014 class. He is coming off a prolific career at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, where he ran for at least 1,700 yards in each of his four years and scored nearly 90 rushing touchdowns. SB Nation recruiting analyst has compared Fournette to a supercharged version of Willis McGahee at Miami, before McGahee blew out his knee.
The addition of Noil would give the Tigers the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the country. He spent his high school career in New Orleans playing quarterback, where he established himself as a dangerous running threat. Analysts expect his speed and athleticism to translate well to the wide receiver position, giving the Tigers an excellent athlete who'll be able to make plays in space if he commits to LSU.
Willis, a teammate of Noil's at Edna Karr High School, is considered one of the five best defensive linemen in the nation, and like Noil, is a top-25 overall prospect. He was a prolific pass rusher during his prep career and could also end up filling a role at defensive end. Willis has great size at 6'3, 270, and has the unique ability to play inside and out.
The other two potential big-time additions for LSU, Adams and Brown, are from Texas. Both are ranked among the top five players in the state. Brown's big-time speed has helped make him the consensus No. 3 cornerback in the 2014 class, while Adams is regarded as the second-best safety prospect. Brown's sister runs track for LSU, and Brown will do so as well wherever he commits. Adams has incredible instincts and the ability to lay the lumber from his safety position.
All told, the additions of these kids would give LSU five consensus top-30 prospects (in addition to the one it has already), and the Tigers would have more five-star players than any other school in the country. Their class already ranks 11th nationally, according to the 247Sports composite. Picking up this group might vault it to No. 1, ahead even of Alabama's fantastic class. Few schools are capable of catching the Tide in the rankings, but LSU is one of them.
It's also worth noting that commitments from any of these players would come at the expense of conference rivals. Fournette and Brown are also considering Alabama, Noil is considering Texas A&M, while Willis and Adams both have Florida on their lists.
Even landing a few of the five would be a major win for LSU. In particular, wins over SEC West schools would be significant. The recruiting environment within that division has simply been ridiculous lately. LSU may have the No. 11 class in the nation right now, but that still puts it behind three West schools, and just a couple spots above another. Alabama is a juggernaut on the trail, as we've all come to expect. Auburn is putting together a top-10 class on the strength of its bounce-back season. Texas A&M is right there as well, and Hugh Freeze has Ole Miss picking up elite players at a historically atypical rate.
So this strong Louisiana crop comes at a great time for the Tigers, who have got to be great on the recruiting trail merely to match the accomplishments of a significant portion of the SEC. It's not just the West that's having success this year -- Georgia, Florida and Tennessee also have top-15 classes.
If things go as well as the Tigers hope Thursday, they may trump all of them.