2013 OL commit Ethan Pocic signed his National Letter of Intent yesterday during a ceremony at his high school, and tweeted afterward of his intentions to enroll early. I swapped texts with him afterward and asked him if he had any idea how many other early enrollees LSU planned on taking. He responded that he didn't know, but that there were a lot.
It got me thinking of the other prospects that have expressed their plans of enrolling early and can think of eight names. LSU will take at least four in order to count back to 2012 and fill that class, but the staff will take even more than that. Here's a rundown of the players confirmed to enroll early, and how they might stand to benefit from an extra semester of practice:
Stokes plans to sign his NLI on Dec. 12 and said earlier this week he has been fully cleared to enroll in January. Many expect Stokes, a versatile tight end with abilities blocking and catching, to battle for the starting spot once he arrives in Baton Rouge. He'll have experienced veterans Nic Jacobs, Travis Dickson and Dillon Gordon in front of him, and talented Desean Smith in the mix as well when he arrives in the fall. Having the spring to work with the offense should give Stokes plenty of opportunities to earn the job. He will have a redshirt year, but it's not likely he will use it.
The 2012 signee confirmed to numerous outlets this week that he has been fully cleared by the NCAA and can enroll at LSU in January after spending a semester at Hargrave Military Academy. It's been a long journey for the younger brother of Patrick Peterson that began early in his junior year when he committed to LSU. Fans will finally get to see the talent that has been talked about for years, as Johnson will get the opportunity to go through spring practice. The question is how ready Will Johnson be? Johnson only played two games for Hargrave, instead focusing on his academics. Johnson did work out and has said he's in football shape, but we'll all get a glimpse once he arrives in a couple months.
After his official visit to campus this week, Leslie reaffirmed his commitment to LSU and eased the minds of many that he hope he can immediately bring a big body to the passing game. Questions about his grades still remain, and there still remains a possibility he won't be eligible to enroll in January. Though he appears 100 percent committed now, if he has to return to Hinds Community College that gives other schools another month to lure him away from LSU. Best case scenario for Tigers fans will be if Leslie qualifies and shows up in January, but until that happens, expect many to worry about his final destination.
Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings
Both of LSU's quarterback commitments in the Class of 2013 plan to enroll early, which has become the norm for most elite QB recruits. Both players will likely redshirt in 2013 because LSU will have as many as four quarterbacks on scholarship next season. But having an entire spring practice to work hands-on with Steve Kragthorpe will help tremendously in their development. It will also give fans the opportunity to see how they compare. Neither one has a clear advantage over the other, but an entire spring could help determine who has the early lead.
Much like with the quarterbacks, I wouldn't expect Pocic to play once the season comes around. But crazier things have happened (i.e. the 2012 season) along the offensive line, and having a full spring under his belt could give Pocic a leg up in competing to crack the two-deep. It helped Vadal Alexander last spring as he blew coaches away early and was in the discussion for playing time once fall came around. And once the injury bug struck, he was the clear favorite to get some action. Though Pocic's story likely won't be the same, it will be nice to see how quickly he catches on to the game through spring practices.
Lacouture will sign his NLI around Dec. 20, and appears cleared to enroll in January. At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Lacouture is a bit of a tweener in size, and could very well end up at defensive end. It is also possible though that he adds weight and gets in the mix at defensive tackle. Having the spring will help coaches determine where he fits best. If he does end up at tackle, expect him to compete for early playing time if he can create the power expected from LSU DTs.
Ranked as one of the top athletes in the state, what position Diarse ends up playing at LSU has been a hotly debated topic. Many have expected him to wind up at safety, but some have questioned if he has the speed to play on a SEC defense. Wide receiver could be his other destination, where he has shown tremendous ability to use his body to his advantage. Having a full spring of practice will help coaches determine where Diarse fits best and allow him to devote himself to a position once the fall comes around.
Another JUCO Player?
I've heard rumors that LSU isn't quite done raiding the JUCO ranks for talent, particularly at defensive tackle, where the Tigers will be seriously strapped for depth next year if Bennie Logan heads to the NFL. I've even heard that last year's late signee Fehoko Fanaika has kept in frequent contact with the LSU coaches. It's all heresay at the moment, so I don't want to pass along bad information, but don't be surprised if LSU adds one more JUCO player, which might possibly squeeze out one of the high school prospects from enrolling early.
Who Will Enroll Early?
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