The 2013 class is in the books, so now's as good a time as ever to start breaking down the Class of 2014.
Today, I'll give a rundown of the top offensive prospects receiving interest from LSU, with the defensive prospects on tap for Sunday. LSU has already hit the ground running in 2014, with two offensive prospects already committed. The Tigers have extended scholarship offers to 26 offensive prospects for the 2014 class, with several more on the fringe of joining that group.
Here's a position-by-position overview of LSU's offensive targets for the coming recruiting cycle.
QB won't be a primary position of need for LSU in the 2014 class, and it's not likely the staff takes more than one, if they take one at all. Four signal callers hold offers from the Tigers — uncommitted prospects Chase Litton and Mason Rudolph, Deshaun Watson (Clemson commit) and Jerrod Heard (Texas commit) round out the group.
With LSU expected to have four scholarship QBs on the roster for the 2014 season, don't expect the staff to press a quarterback unless he's an absolute must-have. While some legal troubles stemming from Litton's sophomore year have his recruitment in a holding pattern, Rudolph's is set to take off over the coming months. Rudolph currently holds two offers (LSU and Virginia Tech) but after a big junior campaign, more attention is likely coming his way.
Watson would be a huge target for LSU after he threw for more than 4,000 yards with 50 touchdowns in 2012. He has said he's solidly committed to Clemson, but he has started exploring some other programs. If he decides to reopen his recruitment, expect LSU to be one of his biggest suitors.
One in-state quarterback remains on LSU's radar. Destrehan standout Donovan Isom was in Baton Rouge for the "Boys from the Boot" Junior Day, but it's not clear if a scholarship offer is in the making.
There's been one name atop LSU's wish list at RB for almost three years now. Leonard Fournette, one of the top running backs and top prospects in the country, received an LSU offer early in his freshman year at St. Augustine, and the Tigers appear to be in great shape at this early stage of his recruitment. Les Miles mentioned the importance of landing a "great running back" during his post-NSD press conference, alluding to Fournette without mentioning his name. The five-star prospect has said he has a great relationship with the LSU coaching staff and they've always made sure to make him feel special. That should pay off in the end for LSU, and the Tigers are the likely favorite over his other suitors (Alabama being the main competition).
Because the Tigers didn't take a RB in 2013, the position will be one of the staff's primary focuses for the coming class. With room to take at least two in 2014, expect some other names to join the mix along with Fournette. LSU has offered four other RBs in the 2014 class, elite prospects like Sony Michel, Racean Thomas and Dalvin Cook. Though LSU hasn't made a hard press for these prospects because of their plans for Fournette, it's possible some more local names start popping up on LSU's radar.
One being Ehret standout Darrel Williams, who burst onto the scene this past season. Williams attended "Boys from the Boot" and has LSU high on his list at this point in his recruitment. Though he doesn't hold an offer yet, one could be in the works and if it comes, expect LSU to be the favorite to land him.
LSU may not have to leave its own state to fill its need at WR for 2014, one that will be atop the list for this class. With LSU standing to lose at least two seniors, in addition to two or three underclassmen that will be candidates for the NFL, the roster will be running thin at WR.
Luckily for the Tigers, the talent runs deep at this position for 2014. LSU has already offered three four-star WR prospects from Louisiana in addition to four more uncommitted prospects from out-of-state. The Louisiana group will top the staff's wish list, as well as those of most programs around the country. Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn and Devante Noil combine to form one of the most talented WR trios Louisiana has seen in recent years, and LSU has to like where they stand with each one.
The most comforting situation being Noil's, whose relationship with Frank Wilson has put LSU on top for some time. Though Noil missed "Boys from the Boot" for a basketball game, that shouldn't be a cause for concern. Noil did rave about his recent trip to Texas A&M for the Aggies' Junior Day, but the general consensus is that Noil winds up in purple and gold.
The interest has drastically picked up in recent months for both Dupre and Quinn. Dupre is approaching 20 offers and has expressed interest in Ole Miss and UCLA, whose Junior Day he's attending this weekend. Though he has stated he's in no hurry to make a decision, and he's giving equal consideration to all his suitors, LSU would appear to stand near the top of the list. Same goes for Quinn, though his other options have grown more impressive in recent weeks. As Texas A&M, Clemson and Mississippi State have entered the race (along with Duke, Houston and Ole Miss), expect Quinn to give serious consideration to some other schools, though LSU's the favorite until proven otherwise.
One other impressive Louisiana WR prospect has found himself on the outside looking in to this point. Cameron Sims, who picked up an offer from Alabama after attending their Junior Day last month, has said he'd be tempted to commit on the spot should he receive a scholarship from LSU. But one hasn't been extended yet, and the staff may wait for some other prospects to clear their name from the list before getting serious with Sims.
Out of state, the staff has its sights set on a trio of Florida receivers — Ermon Lane, Moral Stephens and Jacob McCrary — and one from Texas — Tony Upchurch.
LSU may have already locked up their TE class for 2014. The staff picked up a commitment from four-star Westlake prospect Jacory Washington at the "Boys from the Boot." Washington will bring an impressive weapon to the offense with a wide receiver-like skillset in a TE's frame. He still has room to improve in his blocking, as he is primarily lined up out wide for his Westlake team. But following his commitment, Washington clearly stated that he still intended to entertain other suitors, and LSU is far from out of the woods in securing his commitment between now and NSD.
The only other TE offered for the 2014 class is North Carolina's Jeb Blazevich. But this four-star prospect narrowed down his list to 10 schools several weeks back and LSU did not make the cut. After taking two TEs in the Class of 2013, LSU may just make locking up Washington its sole priority instead of adding more bodies at the position.
LSU has also already made some headway for the future of its offensive line. At "Boys from the Boot," the staff picked up a commitment from Brother Martin standout Will Clapp, whose father played for the Tigers in the 80s. Projected to play at guard, Clapp gave LSU its first commitment for a unit they've enjoyed taking at least three or four recruits in each class.
Much like with Fournette, LSU has the luxury of having one of the nation's top prospects within its own borders. Cameron Robinson, the five-star tackle from West Monroe, has had LSU and Alabama atop his list since his freshman season. Though Robinson has started opening things up a bit more, including Texas and Texas A&M in the discussion, it's still assumed to come down to the Tigers and the Tide. The West Monroe pipeline should help LSU in this situation, and keeping Robinson at home is one of the staff's top priorities for 2014.
The state's other top OL prospect — Garrett Brumfield — may be the likeliest of the bunch to head away from home. Brumfield has frequently mentioned Texas A&M, Florida and Florida State as his favorite schools right now, and most recently picked up an offer from Alabama at their Junior Day. Having another U-High prospect leave Louisiana would not be comforting for the LSU staff, and expect them to continue building their relationship with this four-star prospect.
Out-of-state, the staff has its sights set on Donell Stanley, Bentley Spain and Andy Bauer. All three have kept LSU in the mix when discussing their favorite schools, and after establishing a presence in the Carolinas, expect the staff to work that on Stanley (Latta, SC) and Spain (Charlotte, NC). Since Bauer decommitted from Missouri back in November, he's been high on LSU, and current Tiger Ethan Pocic has a solid friendship with this elite OL prospect.
Sunday, I'll break down where LSU stands with its defensive targets for the 2014 class. You can also watch this video interview with TSD's Taylor Halsey for even more info on LSU's offensive prospects.
TSD TV: Early Look at '14 Offensive Prospects
2014 Rundown: Offensive Prospects
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