Overall Class Rating : A
Top 5 Commits
Zach Mettenberger - QB
The Georgia transfer via Kansas JUCO has a good chance to unseat Jordan Jefferson, who went two months last fall without throwing a TD and ended up as one of the least efficient passers in the SEC. Those two stats obviously correlate but the kid did beat Alabama, which always accrues some good will in Cajun country, a place Nick Saban temporarily officed. However, if consistency is the goal and Mettenberger can steer the ship, he'll get a chance. He deserves a shot based on his Geico caveman wig alone.
La’El Collins - OT - #6 overall (Rivals), # 3 (247)
The hometown kid from Redemptorist High arrives on campus with an NFL ready frame at 6'5, 306 (315 if he's fed recently) and should slide right in tackle for the departing Joseph Barksdale. Watching this kid on film recalls a low budget Godzilla remake where La'El flings would-be defenders across the field before they expire in a flash of smoke. Then mutant Jadeveon Clowney knocks out an endzone section and the two clash at midfield before getting sucked into Middle Earth, causing the entire planet to explode. Since Clowney will likely be attending South Carolina, there's a good chance you can catch the sequel live from Death Valley.
Jarvis Landry - WR - #18 overall (Rivals), #17 (247)
DeSean Jackson redux. The DB butcher from Lutcher, LA, Landry has a quick burst out of his cuts and runs perfect routes. Combined with shifty speed, these skills help offset his slight stature and enable him to break free for long TDs. Although his reported weight varies by 16 lbs between Rivals (178) and 247 (194), they agree on one thing -- Landry is one of the top WR prospects in the country.
Anthony Johnson - DT - #8 overall (247), #17 (Rivals)
Eyeball his profile picture and Johnson looks somewhere between the age of 38 and 45. These young men from the bayou -- they may scare young children but you will warmly accept them on your defensive line. At 6'4 and a chiseled 295, Johnson has the athleticism to play strongside DE. His one known flaw is that he's slow to turn his hips as a cornerback. Assuming Les Miles doesn't move him to the secondary prompted by a vision from his weekly voodoo clock management rituals, Johnson will wreak havoc early for LSU's defensive front.
Kenny Hilliard - RB - #63 overall (Rivals)
Hilliard has a similar build to former Ohio State Beanie Wells. He has deceptive speed at the second level and looks to be the next great big back for the Tigers. Nephew of former LSU and Saints star Dalton Hilliard, Kenny overcame significant reading disabilities to gain academic eligibility. He rushed for more than 2400 yards and 34 TDs -- as a sophomore -- earning ESPN's Rise player of the year honors.
Most Likely Early Contributor(s)
Look for Zach Mettenberger to challenge for the starting job this summer and take over signal calling duties by October. A true pro-style QB in the German nihilist mold, Mettenberger's style fits into the new system better than Jordan Jefferson, disregarding potential ballhawking LBs and DBs with equal disdain. He's similar in skill and stature to Ryan Mallett (Ark) without the desire to bring out his inner gangster. Man-child La'El Collins has been penciled in as a freshman starter at LSU since the 4th grade.
Top Class Sleeper(s)
LB Trevon Randle could break through and contend for playing time in place of departing Kelvin Sheperd at LB. At 6’1" with 4.46 speed, anything is possible. Life is but a grand buffet with replenishing gifts of unlimited cars, women, and cash. Sorry, I thought this was the Auburn class preview. But they'll throw Trevon a nice crawfish boil in the spring. Randle needs to hit the weights as 205 is more like Kicker size in the SEC. Another 10-15 pounds should do it and that will only take a week if he goes on the La'El Collins diet.
The One That Got Away
For a while it looked to be DE Jermauria Rasco. Big time player that will announce on today and it's down to Texas and LSU. Considering Rasco never made an official visit to Texas, even with camping out with his whole coaching staff in Mama Rasco's living room, expect Rasco to be an LSU Tiger on Wednesday. Stud DT Timmy Jernigan will also announce tomorrow and is likely headed elsewhere - to FSU, Bama, or Florida.
The Tigers missed out on CB Floyd Raven of Reserve East St John High School to Ole Miss. Losing out on any stud in-state DB hurts, but losing one to Houston Nutt is a multiplier of pain.
I'm From Mizzourah
Three guys I’m not sold on are Quentin Thomas (DE), Ronald Martin (DB), and Terrance Magee (ATH). None were highly recruited by other SEC schools, but Les Miles has amazingly kept his job by seeing things we don't.
Strongest Position Group
Defensive Line. Miles knows the key to success in the SEC is to be big and fast on the line of scrimmage. Basically, recruit guys like Anthony Johnson. It certainly worked out for Auburn with Nick Fairley. Historically, the Tigers' success over the last decade can be attributed to their strength on defense – specifically the DL. There may be another Glenn Dorsey in this group.
Weakest Position Group
Really, Les. One LB? The Tigers were relying heavily on Kelvin Shepherd last year as they were already thin at the position. There is some young unproven talent back there but an already depleted core needed some help. It doesn’t look like the Tigers will get any help from this class. Trevon Randle, come on down and crack some heads.
Were Needs Addressed?
The Tigers will round out this year’s recruiting class with a few surprises. It happens every year and I there could still be an 11th hour miracle with Rasco and Jernigan. This would put an exclamation point to a stellar defensive haul. In addition, the Tigers got what they really needed in a pro-style quarterback. Zach Mettenberger returns to the SEC with a chip on his shoulder after being let go by Georgia. Big-time arm, experience and size will give him an edge in Spring practice. Other than at LB, the class is well rounded.
Life for Les Miles should be less stressful in 2011. He has pulled in another top 5 class and has a young team heading into next season. The Cotton Bowl victory over a semi-quality Texas A&M team has silenced many of the Tiger faithful who have wanted him gone for years. The release of Gary Crowton and hiring of Steve Kragthorpe has generated a buzz in BR, as in Tiger fans started drinking heavily when the Krag was named OC. Hopefully, he can deliver the passing game that has been virtually non-existent the past few years. With young RB’s Spencer Ware, Alfred Blue and Jakhari Gore the offense should ascend to the top of the SEC West behind the stability of a veteran offensive line. However, special teams take a hit with the loss of kicker Josh Jasper. The nation’s leading place kicker had amazing accuracy and the speed to convert fakes, sometimes off the dribble. Newcomer James Hairston (Jesuit, Dallas TX) has big shoes to fill. The defense showed what it is capable of in the Cotton Bowl. Even with star Patrick Peterson having a quiet game, the emergence of Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid and other young players showed there might not be much drop off when captains Peterson, Nevis and Shepherd depart. Miles has been known to play guys who are the best at their position regardless of seniority. If things fall in place and the Hatter chews his grass wisely, it could be a special year in Death Valley.