Position of Need: Wide Receiver

Throughout this week, TSD examines LSU's five biggest positions of need in the Class of 2015. We start with the wide receivers, where LSU already has one four-star commit and several other big-time targets.

Each day this week, TSD examines the top five positions of need for LSU in the Class of 2015. We'll look at which players will be on the roster by the time the 2015 season kicks off, and which targets the Tigers have to add to the mix.

Today's edition will focus on the wide receivers, as LSU looks to continue restocking talent after a big class in 2014.

Returning in 2015: Travin Dural (R-Jr./Draft-Eligible), Kevin Spears (R-So.), John Diarse (R-So.), Avery Peterson (R-So.), Malachi Dupre (R-Fr./So.), Trey Quinn (R-Fr./So.), Tony Upchurch (R-Fr./So.), D.J. Chark (R-Fr./So.)

Committed: Jazz Ferguson

Top Remaining Targets: Tyron Johnson, Kirk Merritt, Daylon Charlot (Alabama commit), George Campbell, Carlos Strickland


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The question marks surrounding the wide receiver position for 2014 will mostly be answered by the time 2015 rolls around. LSU will have a better understanding of what they have with guys like Spears, Diarse and Peterson, while we'll know just how much the 2014 class factors into the rotation in their first season.

Dural would be the most veteran player of the group should he return for his fourth season of eligibility, which seems likely now but based on LSU's history with the draft, him departing early can't be deemed impossible. Should Dural make the jump expected of him in 2014, then return for one more season, he'd be a tremendous anchor for the position with the rest of the youth developing behind him.

By 2015, the WR position could actually be one of the team's deeper units if guys like Diarse, Dupre and Quinn live up to the expectations bestowed upon them as recruits. But all that youth and inexperience still makes the Class of 2015 a big one at WR as the Tigers want to shore up the depth and add as much talent as possible for the coming years.

LSU's already off to a solid start in the 2015 class with Jazz Ferguson, the nation's No. 19 WR and a 6-foot-5 monster that should be a legitimate redzone threat early in his career. His commitment's also as solid as they come considering he hasn't even entertained other colleges since making his pledge earlier this year.

LSU has its sights set on several other big-time receivers in this class as well, with the potential to add at least two more, possibly even three to give the Tigers four-man classes in consecutive cycles.

LSU's WR recruiting efforts did take a hit last week when five-star DaMarkus Lodge, ranked second nationally at his position, made his commitment to Texas A&M. Though the Aggies were always considered the heavy favorite for Lodge, LSU hoped landing Justin McMillan, his quarterback at Cedar Hill HS, would help their chances. But Lodge always seemed destined to pledge to Texas A&M, and he's another big WR pickup for the Aggies after stealing Devante Noil ("Speedy") in 2014.

The Tigers still seem to be in good shape though at WR with several other top targets giving LSU a serious look. We'll start with the in-state crop of Tyron Johnson, Daylon Charlot and Kirk Merritt (who's ranked as a RB by Scout but would also factor into the passing game at LSU).

LSU does have some early ground to make up with Johnson, the state's top prospect in 2015. Johnson continues to mention Texas Tech as his leader, with LSU and Texas A&M falling in behind the Red Raiders. Tech was Johnson's first offer, and they've stayed high on his list because of Kliff Kingsbury and his pass-heavy offense.

But LSU is still very much in the picture, and Johnson's next trip to Baton Rouge will likely come for camp in July. Frank Wilson, Adam Henry and Cam Cameron are all vital cogs in this recruitment, as LSU's offensive success last season still weighs heavily on Johnson's mind. Johnson doesn't plan to finalize a decision anytime soon, so there are several turns still to make. But it does appear the Tigers will have some serious competition when it comes to keeping the state's best close to home.

Charlot is one of LSU's most recent in-state offers, but it's one that may have come too late. Charlot admitted after receiving that offer that it was one he's cherished for a long time, citing a camp performance from 2012 as the time he started deserving it. Charlot had to wait two more years though, and in the meantime, Alabama came through with an offer on which he quickly jumped.

Now that the dust has somewhat settled from LSU camp, Charlot maintains that he's still firmly committed to the Crimson Tide. He does intend to take his allotment of official visits, though it remains uncertain whether LSU will receive one. The Tigers will keep pushing Charlot, strengthening that relationship to quell all concerns the offer came too late.

It appears an uphill battle at this point, but with so much left to decide between now and National Signing Day, Charlot's certainly worth keeping an eye on as the LSU/Bama battle gets hotter.

Things still seem wide open for Merritt, who would have an offensive impact at a number of different positions. He's LSU's top in-state priority for 2015, and they've been sure to convey that to him. The Tigers feel Merritt's been extremely receptive as well, and that relationship continues to get stronger as time passes. Merritt's still exploring all his options though, and he too doesn't plan to decide anytime soon. But LSU likes where it stands at this point for one of the nation's best athletes.


Four-star WR Carlos Strickland


If you want an out-of-state receiver to keep an eye on, look no further than Dallas native Carlos Strickland. The four-star prospect hasn't yet visited LSU, but he consistently mentions the Tigers as one of his top teams. He hopes to check out Baton Rouge this summer, and should he make that trip, expect LSU to make a big leap up Strickland's leaderboard.

Strickland hasn't narrowed down his suitors yet, but he has said multiple times that LSU will make the first cut. That's a good sign for the Tigers at this stage, and that visit will certainly go a long way in ensuring LSU's place. Coach Henry and Steve Ensminger have done a solid job building a relationship with Strickland, which has paid off this point, and the visit will be the next step in LSU's pursuit of the nation's No. 10 receiver.

Things should also start to pick up this summer with five-star George Campbell, who visited LSU for the Bayou Picnic last month. He'll be another that takes his recruitment late into the cycle, but this summer he's expected to finally start narrowing down his long list of suitors.

LSU expects to be in the mix once that cut comes after a successful visit for the Picnic. The Tigers have been recruiting Campbell for a long time, selling him on the immediate impact he'd have in Baton Rouge. They hammered that in during his visit with hopes that it would grab his attention, and it appears that it has.

Campbell will visit Alabama and Auburn for the first time next month, and he also plans to check out Florida State again. Joker Phillips' resignation at Florida hasn't had an effect on the Gators' standing with Campbell, so LSU certainly has plenty of competition for this big-time receiver. But already getting him on campus once is a good sign, and the Tigers will vie for an official visit this fall.

There will certainly be new names to emerge at WR throughout the summer and into the fall. But this group appears to be the top targets for now that LSU feels it has a legitimate chance with.

The camp next month should see some other receivers vie for offers, including in-state guys like Stanley Morgan, Terrell Chatman, Brandon Singleton and several others. LSU may also get more in the picture with other out-of-state targets like Cordell Broadus or John Burt as time wears on.

But one certainty is that LSU's aiming high at wide receiver in 2015, and should the Tigers bring in a class anywhere as talented as the 2014 group, the future will be bright for LSU's passing attack.


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