LSU's 2016 DT recruiting even more important

With the recent attrition, LSU must continue landing elite defensive linemen in this class.

Only one defensive tackle signed in LSU’s last two recruiting classes remains on the roster.

This comes after news broke Wednesday that Travonte Valentine left the program and will transfer to a junior college. That followed Trey Lealaimatafao’s dismissal earlier this summer from continued legal issues, both players part of the 2014 class.

LSU should be fine at the position this season, as neither Valentine nor Lealaimatafao were expected to be legitimate contributors entering the year. The pressure is on those Class of 2013 defensive tackles though to take steps forward though and provide depth behind starters Davon Godchaux and Christian Lacouture.

After LSU didn’t sign a defensive tackle in the 2015 class, the cupboard looks bare for the future.

The good news for the Tigers is that they’re poised to land in 2016 one of the nation’s best classes at that position. It’s now even more important that they do, and LSU has plenty of targets to ensure they restock the shelves.

LSU’s blessed with a tremendous year of defensive tackles in Louisiana. The state has four players at that position ranked in the Scout300, and LSU has already secured commitments from two of them.

Five-star Ed Alexander rejoined the class in the spring after a commitment/decommitment early in his recruitment. LSU added Glen Logan, who projects to be a five-tech defensive end, in the summer and both are solid in their pledges.

That leaves two left to get, and the Tigers are legitimate contenders for both.

5-star DT Rashard Lawrence

Five-star Rashard Lawrence, the new No. 1 in the state, said at The Opening he has no favorites in his recruitment. Most consider LSU or Alabama the two most likely to land him, but there are plenty of other schools still in the mix. LSU will be in it until the end though, and Ed Orgeron has made Lawrence one of his top priorities since he joined the staff.

Just as important to Coach O is Stephon Taylor. He too remains open in his recruitment, but this is most likely a battle between LSU and Auburn. He has family on the Plains, so War Eagle is a legitimate threat. It’s still too tight to really predict either way.

LSU’s options aren’t only in Louisiana. The Tigers have several out-of-state targets as well.

Shavar Manuel, a five-star defensive end big enough to eventually play inside, took a visit earlier this summer with LSU commit Saivion Smith, his teammate at the IMG Academy. LSU exited that visit thinking it’s the team to beat in Manuel’s recruitment, taking that title from Florida State. The Seminoles are surely still involved, and they will be until the bitter end, but LSU could very well add another five-star big man to its defensive line.

Rashan Gary, the No. 1 overall player in the country, is also expected to visit by the end of the month. LSU’s on the outside looking in, but the Tigers would be encouraged if they can get him to campus.

Keep an eye also on Ross Blacklock. The potential nose tackle earned his offer at camp, and that sent LSU near the top of his list. There aren’t many LSU has recruited that fits the nose so perfectly, so look for LSU to continue pushing for Blacklock’s commitment.

LSU may not get all the guys mentioned here, and there are others that might emerge for the Tigers. But regardless of how it does shake out, LSU should finish with an elite class of defensive linemen in 2016.

Now it’s no guarantee that everyone they do sign pans out. Recent history has proven that. But because of that attrition, it’s absolutely necessary that LSU loads up on as many defensive tackles as they can in the 2016 class.

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