The Class of 2011 is unique not just because they are talented (they are), but because how much of that talent was born here at home.
All four five-star prospects – Anthony Johnson, La’el Collins, Jermauria Rasco, and Jarvis Landry – are Louisianans. In total, the state produced three-fourths of LSU’s signees, one of the highest marks for the program this decade.
The state should be kind again next year, but not as giving as 2011, meaning focus will shift as the staff moves beyond the Bayou State’s border for a good piece of the 2012 class.
While college coaches can no longer give out written offers to prospects during their junior year, the month of September saw the Tigers take in their first commitment for 2012 when Pompano Beach, Fla. wide receiver Avery Johnson dialed Les Miles and committed. The younger brother of cornerback Patrick Peterson, Johnson gives the Tigers one of Florida’s best prospects - regardless of position.
It was just the head start Miles was looking for.
Two months later came another commitment. Once again, it was a statement pledge.
In a two-year stretch where Auburn came into LSU’s backyard and plucked Thibodaux wide receiver Trovon Reed and offensive lineman Greg Robinson, linebacker Trey Granier’s commitment was a sign that the bleeding had stopped.
Granier isn’t the only junior linebacker Miles likes from Louisiana, good news given the rate the state has put out players at the position in recent years. On Wednesday, Woodlawn’s Torshiro Davis picked LSU over early offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn and Oklahoma. Amite’s Juwaan Rogers is another name on the local radar, wrapping up his junior season with 140 tackles and 14 sacks en route to his second consecutive First-Team All-State selection.
On the defensive line in-state names like John Curtis’ Torrey Bell, West Monroe’s Terrell Lathan and Carencro’s Jacoby Briscoe will be top targets, while the staff will focus their out of state efforts on prospects like Mississippi’s Channing Ward and Georgia’s Jordan Jenkins.
Dutchtown’s Landon Collins is the most coveted defensive back on the big board, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety with the frame to grow into an outside linebacker. Much like Eric Reid in 2009, Collins will have college coaches from coast to coast flocking to Geismar, La. LSU and Tennessee have already offered, and interest is coming from the likes of USC and Alabama.
On the offensive side, quarterback will once more be a priority. Ohio’s Maty Mauk and the Lone Star State’s Jeremiah Briscoe and Matt Davis are passers to keep an eye on. LSU began recruiting all three during Gary Crowton’s time in Baton Rouge, and if new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe picks up on Crowton’s efforts, one of the three could end up in Baton Rouge.
With Johnson already on board at receiver, Crowley’s Davante’ Bourque and Breaux Bridge’s Travin Dural will get looks at the remaining spots. Both were invited to the LSU Junior Day last month, and while neither have an offer to this point, both have said the Tigers are at the top of their wish list.
The offensive line, however, could produce the most excitement.
After landing five-star La’el Collins and a crop of promising bodies in the 2011 class, the staff heads into the 2012 recruiting season with high hopes for closing strong on the line once again. North Carolina’s D.J. Humphries, Texas’ Curtis Riser, and Georgia’s Vadal Alexander top the list of hopefuls, a trio of high school tackles that rank among the best in the entire nation. All three made visits to Baton Rouge in the past year, and Riser and Alexander will be back for a weekend in February. In Louisiana, Derek Edinburgh is the lone lineman with an offer. The 6-foot-7, 320-pounder helped Edna Karr to an appearance in the 4A State Championship against Franklinton.
The staff will look for at least a pair of running backs to go behind the big men, inviting Lutcher’s Daniel Taylor, Calvary Baptist Academy’s Brandon Wilson, Carencro’s Alex Johnson and Peabody Magnet’s Jalen Richard in for the first Junior Day weekend.
With three down, the Tigers have 20-plus spots to fill by next February. As always, buckle up for the ride.