2014 Rundown: Defensive Prospects

TSD continues its early breakdown of the 2014 class with a look at all the defensive prospects LSU has targeted at this point.

The 2014 recruiting cycle is already off to a fast start. TSD is giving you all the information you'll need to get ready for the next year of LSU recruiting.

Yesterday I broke down all the offensive prospects getting targeted by LSU (which you can read here), and today I'll give you the rundown of the recruits on the defensive side of the ball.

LSU has offered 36 defensive prospects, and has already picked up two commitments. Following is a position-by-position breakdown of who to watch on defense for the 2014 class.

Defensive End

LSU has already made DE a priority for 2014 after hauling in a tremendous 2013 class that featured four-star prospects Tashawn Bower and Frank Herron (as well as Lewis Neal and Michael Patterson). The staff has extended offers to nine DE prospects already, with one in-state prospect the clear priority.

Five-star Edna Karr standout Gerald Willis has long had LSU in his top three, along with Florida and Texas A&M. Willis has received plenty of attention from LSU, dating back to when his brother, Landon Collins, was going through the recruiting process. Willis attended "Boys from the Boot" and plans to attend LSU's second junior day this coming weekend. With him having a strong relationship with teammate Devnate Noil, as well as Leonard Fournette, LSU has to like its chances of landing Willis, though other schools are obviously making a strong push — Willis attend Texas A&M's Junior Day and came away very high on the Aggies.

Out-of-state, LSU ranks high on the list for a number of elite prospects. Deondre Clark, Chad Thomas and Justin Thornton have all mentioned LSU among their favorites. Also, keep an eye on Texas prospects Solomon Thomas and Myles Garrett, who have both picked up heavy interest from LSU, as well as Georgia standout Andrew Williams.

Defensive Tackle

LSU hasn't made DT a priority yet in this class, only extending an offer to one prospect — Khairi Clark out of Miami powerhouse Chaminade Madonna. Clark, who attended Miami's Junior Day this weekend, has said he also planned to check out Florida and Georgia in coming weeks, but expect LSU to keep pressing for the nation's top DT.

Other than Clark, in-state prospect Garrald McDowell appears to be one of the next in line to receive an offer from LSU. The Covington standout attended "Boys from the Boot" but left without an offer. The biggest questions surrounding him are his size. At around 240-245 pounds, McDowell could stand to bulk up, and this spring will be big for him in terms of boosting his stock on LSU's radar. He already holds offers from Arkansas and Kansas State, but if LSU decides to pull the trigger, expect the Tigers to jump to the top of his list.

Linebacker

After landing an elite class in 2012, LSU will look to stockpile even more talented LB prospects in 2014. The staff has extended offers to seven LB prospects so far, several being some of the top recruits in the nation.

The big in-state target will be Kenny Young, who picked up an LSU offer at "Boys from the Boot." The John Curtis standout's recruitment has taken off since then, as he has landed offers from Florida, Tennessee and UCLA (among others) in recent weeks. He has said he wants to wait until National Signing Day to make his commitment, but LSU has always been considered to be his favorite. As his offer list continues to grow, expect the LSU staff to press Young to push up that decision date and commit to the Tigers.

One of LSU's first commits in the 2014 was LB Kain Daub, but he dropped his commitment to the Tigers back in November. He has since said that LSU is still in the mix, but most believe he winds up elsewhere after originally backing out on his commitment to LSU. The Tigers were also high on the list of a pair of Texas prospects before they committed elsewhere — Cameron Hampton (Texas) and Hoza Scott (Texas A&M).

Outside of those three prospects, look for LSU to press hard for out-of-state prospects Tre Williams, Kevin Crosby and Petera Wilson, who are receiving interest from just about every major program in the country.

Cornerback

LSU appears to be in great shape to add a stellar cornerback class in 2014. The Tigers have already landed a commit from Houston-area standout Chris Hardeman, a 5-foot-7 prospect with impressive lockdown ability. But his recruitment has picked up recently, and don't be surprised if he doesn't wind up in the class.

If that were to happen, it wouldn't be the end of the world, as LSU looks to be the favorite for two other elite CBs from Texas. Edward Paris, who has family in Louisiana, has mentioned LSU as one of his favorite schools throughout his recruitment. He has said he plans to announce his commitment in late March, but as other schools have entered the picture, it's possible he pushes that date back. Regardless of when he announces, LSU should like where it stands with Paris.

Same goes for Tony Brown, the Beaumont standout and nation's top CB. Brown has also had LSU near the top of his list of favorites, and when his sister signed with the LSU track team this past week, that may have locked things up. It's long been considered that he and sister would attend the same school, and adding that with his already solid relationship with the LSU staff may be enough to put the Tigers on top for good.

Also keep an eye on out-of-state prospects John Bonney, Adoree Jackson and John Battle, who have al listed LSU as early favorites at this point.

In-state, Terrence Alexander appears to be the primary recruit on LSU's radar. Though he doesn't yet hold an offer from LSU, the John Curtis CB has kept in frequent contact with the coaches. But Alexander has already built an impressive offer list with SEC programs Tennessee, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt (among others) on board.

Safety

Like at RB, OT and DE, LSU has the benefit of having one of the nation's best safeties in their state. Laurence Jones, a Neville standout and high school teammate of current Tiger, John Diarse, will be LSU's main priority at the safety position for 2014. Though Jones plays every position in the secondary for Neville, his size and athleticism points to him landing at safety on the next level. LSU appears to be one of his favorites, and his relationship with Diarse and the coaches should help here. But he's said he grew up rooting for Ohio State, and the Buckeyes have been recruiting him hard (as well as Alabama). There's been talk that his family would like for him to stay as close to home as possible, which would make LSU a heavy favorite, but there's still a long way to go for Jones.

LSU has also picked up a commitment from Mississippi athlete Devin Voorhies. He is expected to wind up at safety on the next level, though he has a skillset that could even lend itself to offense at LSU. Ranked as Mississippi's top prospect, expect Ole Miss and Mississippi State to continue pressing, as well as a host of other prospects. Keeping him on board will be a major priority for LSU moving forward.

Outside of Jones and Voorhies, LSU looks to be in best shape with out-of-state prospects Nick Ruffin and Quincy Wilson. Ruffin grew up in Baton Rouge before moving to Atlanta and still has family in the area. Wilson was high school teammates with 2013 signee Maquedius Bain.

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Stay tuned with TSD for all your coverage of the 2014 recruiting season as LSU looks to be in store for an exciting year. For even more on the 2014 defensive prospects, check out this interview with TSD's Taylor Halsey.

TSD TV: Early Look at '14 Defensive Prospects

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