The Class of 2016 in Louisiana is already being compared to the group produced in 2014.
This year’s batch of rising seniors has three five-star prospects and 14 more four-stars with a year to National Signing Day. LSU’s hoping to capitalize and has already handed out more than 20 offers to in-state prospects.
LSU recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson appeared on Culotta & The Prince (104.5 ESPN) Tuesday and provided his outlook for the 2016 class.
“We’re excited about the Class of 2016,” Wilson said. “Every three or four years, you’ll have a class that’s been identified with prospects that are national, can play with anyone in the nation. Certainly we have that, especially on the defensive side of the ball…They’ve established themselves as premier players in the country.”
You can listen to the full audio from his radio interview HERE
LSU’s identified early the major players in Louisiana and started courting them very early in the process. The Tigers hosted their first junior day this past weekend — “Boys from the Boot” — and that was a huge success, according to Wilson.
He’s hopeful that this early momentum translates to some key signatures a year from now.
“The beautiful thing is we’ve identified them young, and they’ve been on our campus several times,” Wilson said. “The courtship has allowed us to foster great relationships. We’re going to bank on that and continue to build on the relationship. Hopefully it withstands the test of time, and it points them in the direction at being at this flagship state university. It’s fertile recruiting ground, and the Class of 2016 is as good as ever.”
One particular point of focus for that 2016 class will be at linebacker. LSU infamously missed on LB Leo Lewis on National Signing Day, a player Wilson recruited personally. That left LSU without a LB in 2015, but 2016 is looking brighter.
The Tigers have already offered in-state guys like Michael Divinity and Clifford Chattman in addition to others from out-of-state. Wilson said they’re hoping to sign several linebackers in 2016.
Kevin Steele and Ed Orgeron
“We would’ve liked to get one linebacker in [the 2015] class, but we’re in great shape,” Wilson said. “We’re 7-8 deep, so we have plenty of depth there. What will happen next year, we have some guys that are seniors and maybe NFL Draft picks as juniors, which will force us to take four or so at that position next year.”
Though LSU whiffed at linebacker, the Tigers cashed in on the offensive line. Wilson couldn’t heap enough praise on Jeff Grimes and the job he did, especially as the cycle wound down. He landed guys like Toby Weathersby and Chidi Valentine-Okeke in the final week, and Wilson called it the best offensive line class LSU’s assembled in Les Miles’ tenure.
“He just did a knockout job in the last six weeks, just really pushed hard and was able to do what he does best,” Wilson said. “And that’s display who he is as a man, husband and father in a sincere way. We have high quality kids that are looking for an opportunity to be taught, nurtured and groomed into the best they can be on and off the field. Jeff exemplifies that.”
Wilson’s expecting Ed Orgeron and Kevin Steele to make a similar splash in their first full years recruiting for LSU. Steele will help bring in those linebackers, while Coach O hopes to cash in on a loaded group of defensive linemen in Louisiana.
The Tigers have already offered five-stars Ed Alexander and Rashard Lawrence plus other top prospects like Glen Logan, Briston Guidry and Stephon Taylor.
Wilson believes Coach O’s the man to reel them in.
“To have Ed back is certainly a pleasure and an honor,” Wilson said. “He’s everything we’re looking for in a defensive line coach. You can’t say enough about Coach Steele and his leadership and what he brings to our staff. It’s great camaraderie and chemistry with those guys joining our staff.”
Frank Wilson: 2016 in La. "as good as ever"
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