LSU has had plenty of recruiting success under head coach Les Miles, and the class of 2014 is no different. With the best high school player in the nation along with other top-tier talent, the Tigers are in position to reload and keep the program running at a high level.
|Total commits||Five-star prospects||Four-star prospects|
Updates, Feb.5: LSU landed 5-star wide receiver Malachi Dupre and added defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao who was considering Oregon. The Tigers made significant additions on defense by adding 4-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, and former-Texas commit, 3-star defensive end Sione Teuhema. Sione's brother, Maea Teuhema, is a 2015 5-star offensive tackle who also committed to LSU on Wednesday.
LSU is bringing in two early enrollees, who will try to take advantage of the extra time on campus and possibly make an impact during the 2014 season. Edward Paris is a four-star safety recruit out of Mansfield Timberview in Arlington, Texas. Paris is rated as a four-star player by the 247 Sports composite, and he's ranked as the 42nd-best in the country and third-best at his position. He has an impressive offer sheet and chose the Tigers over 25 other programs from around the country, including Baylor, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and USC.
SB Nation recruiting analyst Wescott Eberts says Paris has the specific skills to play cornerback and safety, and the only problem will be figuring out where to play him in order to maximize those skills.
Paris wouldn't be able to make so many plays if he didn't have elite-level ball skills, the ability to find and track the football, and the leaping ability to secure interceptions opposing quarterbacks thought they had thrown over his head. The speed is also there to keep up with faster quarterbacks and the fact that Paris plays a fair amount of cornerback for Timberview means that he won't have to start from scratch in terms of his footwork and other fundamentals to play cornerback in college.
The flip side is that Paris is also such a strong hitter and potential enforce over the middle that only playing him at cornerback would seem to hide some of the skills that make him such a valuable prospect because he is capable of playing around the line of scrimmage in run support and has a knack for knocking the ball loose from opposing ballcarriers.
Joining Paris on campus early is Brandon Harris, a dual-threat quarterback out of Parkway High School in Bossier City, La. A four-star prospect, per the composite, Harris is ranked No. 75 in America and No. 3 among players at his position. With 17 scholarship offers, he picked the Tigers over schools like Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Nebraska, Ohio State, South Carolina and Texas A&M. Eberts says Harris is raw, but he has the potential to be a dynamic playmaker.
As a projected spread quarterback who will use the threat of the run game to help in the passing game, Harris shows evidence of strong ball-handling ability that helps spring his high school wide receivers down the field.
In the running game, Harris is a plus athlete, though he could benefit from time in a college strength training program to help him finish runs with more power from this lower body.
All told, Harris has tremendous natural ability, including arm talent, big hands to allow him to execute pump fakes that would result in other quarterbacks losing the football, ball-handling ability, and athleticism to make off-schedule plays in the run game, as well as execute the traditional plays in the quarterback run game.
Of players not yet enrolled, LSU has commitments from three five-star prospects, including the No. 1 player in the class of 2014, running back Leonard Fournette out of St. Augustine in New Orleans. There was some concern on the bayou that Nick Saban and Alabama would steal the back, but Fournette opted to pick his home-state school over the Crimson Tide. As one might imagine, LSU fans at And the Valley Shook, SB Nation's Tigers blog, were overjoyed.
Fournette is the starter at running back from the first day he steps on campus, assuming Jeremy Hill enters the NFL Draft. Things may not be as easy if Hill does return for his junior season,which would then form more than likely the best 1-2 punch in college football. Either way, Fournette will be a huge force for the Tigers once he dons the pads. Even in just the first clip of his highlights he fakes THREE different defenders out with one move, breaks a tackle, outruns a few others who think they have an angle, then fakes one more defender out before finding the end zone. He catches passes out of the backfield and lined up as a receiver. There are a couple instances there where he just runs over defenders and runs right through their tackle attempts.
Simply put, the kid is amazing.
Eberts believes that excitement is warranted and thought Fournette was probably ready for college ball after his junior year of high school.
Sometimes compared to Adrian Peterson, Fournette isn't a high-effort runner like AD -- everything looks like it comes much too easily for him on the football field. He's just that good, and could walk on to any college campus and immediately contribute right now, months away from National Signing Day for the 2014 class.
A fact that was true last fall, too. In fact, it's too bad Fournette has to spend another year in high school, because scoring all those touchdowns with so much ease is probably getting a little bit boring for him.
On the defensive side of the ball, there are five-star linebacker Clifton Garrett and five-star safety Jamal Adams. Garrett, out of Plainfield (Ill.) South High School, is ranked No. 28 among all high school players, and he's the second-best outside linebacker in the class. He had 26 offers from around the country and picked the Tigers over the likes of Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, MIchigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma. SB Nation national recruiting analyst Bud Elliott says Garrett should be able to make an immediate impact.
Garrett should be able to step in and start, or at the very least avoid a redshirt, at whatever BCS program he chooses. He has a big frame in person, and I suspect he'll eventually be able to play at more than 240 pounds.
Adams is from Hebron High in Carrollton, Texas. He's ranked 31st in the country and is the No. 2 safety, fielding offers from 25 programs. He chose LSU over Texas, Florida, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Baylor. Eberts hails his versatility.
In coverage, he can read the eyes of the quarterback to break on the football and has the leaping ability to compete with taller wide receivers for the football when he gets there.
With the football in his hands, he has a knack for finding the endzone, whether in the return game or after an interception.
Add it all up and Adams looks like a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect who would fit in any defense.
All in all, this is a loaded class for LSU, on that should help keep the Tigers as one of the elite programs in the country. With so much four- and five-star talent and several top-100 players, it could be considered the best class in the country behind Alabama's, depending on whom you ask. It's fairly balanced, spreading the wealth on both sides of the ball. Players like Fournette and Garrett should pay immediate dividends, and the overall depth in Baton Rogue is being reloaded.
And the Tigers aren't done yet. LSU's top remaining target is five-star wideout Malachi Dupre. The New Orleans native stands 6'2, weighs 187 pounds, and runs a reported 4.58 40 yard dash. He's the second-rated receiver nationally and No. 4 prospect in the state of Louisiana. SB Nation recruiting analyst Wescott Eberts touts Dupre's size and jumping ability:
The 2013 Louisiana 3A state champion in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump, Dupre demonstrates those aerial skills on the football field as well, outjumping opponents for the football and using his big, strong hands to bring it in.
Because of that size and leaping ability, Dupre has a larger margin for error with his route running than smaller prospects who can't elevate as well as he does. It also makes his listed 40 time of 4.58 less significant since his quarterback can simply throw him open -- not that running a strong 40 is the most important skill for a wide receiver, anyway.
LSU is probably the frontrunner for Dupre's signature, though UCLA, Ole Miss, Florida State, and Alabama are in close pursuit. Dupre's teammate at John Curtis High, four-star inside linebacker Kenny Young, is also among LSU's final targets.