LSU has a huge need at linebacker in the 2017 class with the impending departures of Kendell Beckwith, Duke Riley and Tashawn Bower along with a couple of juniors moving into senior years at inside linebacker in Devin Voorhies and Donnie Alexander, and Corey Thompson at outside linebacker. The names that LSU is after should be very familiar to Tiger fans, but will LSU be able to fill up at linebacker enough to drastically improve the depth needed to run Dave Aranda's 3-4 defense?
In what is generally a weak class at linebacker overall, LSU can't afford to reach past what the Tigers consider to be the creme of the crop for them. There might be a name that develops and has a huge senior season, but this late in the game, LSU has to close well on its targets.
Tiger Blitz has poked around and here's where the priority recruits stand for LSU at linebacker broken down by position. Also included is our take on how big of a chance LSU has to land each one.
Dylan Moses, IMG Academy (Fla.)
The 5-star linebacker and current Alabama commit made a surprise visit to LSU last weekend just a couple weeks after committing to Alabama. While Scout has him at outside linebacker, in LSU's scheme, he'd step right into the middle and be a Day 1 starter most likely. He can pop outside on passing downs as well as he continues to develop, but he's one of those "can't miss" star prospects it seems. A Baton Rouge native, Moses is "supposed to go to LSU" as one source put it. He's a kid they value as much as he should be and the staff has turned up the heat on him as time is of the essence with Moses enrolling early at either LSU or Alabama as it stands right now.
Tiger Blitz Take: There's two ways this can go here. If Ed Orgeron and company stay on the staff, Moses will end up a Tiger. It's what his family wants and he's comfortable enough with them to do what he originally wanted to do, which was commit to LSU. The pull will be big enough to come back to Baton Rouge and commit to the Tigers. If Orgeron and the staff isn't retained, Moses will likely end up at Alabama barring LSU hiring Tom Herman I feel like. Even then, it might not be enough for Moses to pass up Alabama as he's an early enrollee and LSU would have to have Herman in place before Moses sets foot on a college campus. There could be too much change associated with the Tigers for Moses to enroll.
Scout's Evaluation: Where do you want Moses to play? Do you want him to score touchdowns as a running back? Do you want him to play with speed sideline to sideline at linebacker? Do you want him to rush the passer? Not many are like this young man. He does so many things at an extremely high level and he could be a Sunday-guy on either side of the ball. He has the rare combination of size, speed, strength, athleticism, and toughness. A quick-twitch athlete for someone with his frame. He is likely to end up as a defensive guy. He could be an inside linebacker or someone who plays inside on some downs, then moves outside as an edge rusher in passing situations. He is sound fundamentally, he is an explosive player and he is someone who will make a lot of plays in the years to come.
Will Ignont, Buckhorn (Ala.)
Ignont is your prototypical inside linebacker and would be an outstanding land for LSU as he continues to have a stellar senior season. Auburn is hot on the trail for him as well as UCLA and Ole Miss. One of the strongest targets on this list, Ignont is not one to mess around when filling a hole and that's a big part of LSU's 3-4 defense is linebackers flowing through to make plays.
Tiger Blitz Take: Ignont is tough to read because just when you think LSU is out of it, he always tells you to not say that necessarily because he has really taken the approach of looking at the school before the coaching staff more than anything. LSU has to get him on campus to visit soon. The Alabama linebacker has been a frequent visitor to Auburn as of late and his relationship with Kevin Steele certainly helps. This will be a tough pull for LSU. Stability on the staff would be a big help for helping LSU's chances.
Levi Jones, Austin Westlake (Tex.)
Not much is known about Levi Jones outside of his interest in Texas, LSU and Florida State at this point. Jones can play inside or out like a lot of targets on the list for LSU at this point, but I like him developing in LSU's scheme in the middle. LSU covets Jones and would love to make a push with Strong looking like he's out.
Tiger Blitz Take: Jones is going to be another top target out of the Lone Star State for LSU to land. The big thing helping LSU is that Charlie Strong is looking like he'll be out at Texas at the end of this year. If he's out at UT, that'll give LSU an inside track it appears to potentially land Jones. Jones visited last spring, but in general, his recruitment has been pretty quiet. Sounds like he could be an out of the blue commit or wait until National Signing Day.
Scout's Evaluation: Jones is a player who rose through the recruit ranks powered behind a strong junior year. He made a ton of plays as Austin Westlake made a deep march into the playoffs. He is always around the football and is physically a dominant force. He forces the action, making a good amount of plays behind the line of scrimmage and shows bursts of speed in the open field allowing him to chase down plays from sideline-to-sideline. He is long and lean and has the frame to be an even more impressive specimen as he matures. The brother of Cayleb Jones, who was also a Scout 300 prospect. - Greg Powers
Monty Rice, James Clemens (Ala.)
Rice is another quiet type that resembles current LSU linebacker Devin White a bit as he's not the tallest linebacker in the world. Rice is getting some major attention and has tripped to Ole Miss and Auburn this season. Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and LSU are all in the mix here firmly for Rice, who does a good job of not tipping his hand.
Tiger Blitz Take: A kid that can go just about anywhere in the SEC and will visit for the Alabama game last Tiger Blitz heard will certainly be one LSU has to work for. Rice really liked his Ole Miss trip, but I can't imagine Rice not enjoying Death Valley. LSU is going to be in this one until the end. I think it'll be difficult to say no to LSU especially if the Tigers can't land Moses and a Day 1 starting spot is open. Playing time is a big thing LSU can offer the middle linebacker and the atmosphere of Tiger Stadium might be enough to win out.
Chris Allen, Southern Lab (La.)
Allen keeps his recruiting under the radar, but it's Alabama and LSU. The two rivals both are being watched by the Baton Rouge linebacker. Allen can play inside or out for LSU, but the Tigers see him playing primarily on the outside. It's been between the Tide and LSU for the longest time. Allen says he's looking for the school that has the best year, but also isn't looking directly at which squad wins on November 5. This decision could come at any time really as it appears Allen is tiring of the process. Alabama is selling him on being the team's Tim Williams as an edge rusher. LSU is selling him on being Arden Key.
Tiger Blitz Take: I've been saying this for a while that I think Chris Allen is looking for an excuse to commit to the Tigers. He wants Coach Orgeron to be named coach, has liked what Aranda has done on defense, and wants to stay home I think in his heart. If Orgeron can win the job, Allen would commit almost immediately I believe. If Orgeron doesn't and LSU is in limbo long, that might encourage him to commit elsewhere depending on the hire. The defensive staff remaining is key in this. I think he's an LSU lean, but it's very difficult to tell as he's stopped giving that information out. Last he said, LSU and Alabama are tied.
K'Lavon Chaisson, Houston North Shore (Tex.)
Chaisson does a fantastic job of keeping his recruiting on the down low, denying interview requests, but will answer questions on visit dates. Chaisson is a perfect mold to take over for Arden Key eventually. Scout actually projects him at defensive end, which makes the comparisons even more obvious. Chaisson was once thought to have LSU in the lead, but with the coaching change, along with some Texas recruiting momentum that seems to be dwindling right now. Does Chaisson head to Oklahoma? Seems like a long shot right now. Does he stay home and play for Houston? He's high on the Cougars right now it seems. No one really knows right now.
Tiger Blitz Take: LSU has been working to jump back on Chaisson hard as of late. With a strong push and uncertainty in Austin, LSU could actually be the frontrunner right now. His recruitment is cloudy, but LSU is going to push and push for this talented edge rusher's signature. Once the leader and a frequent visitor, Chaisson will return on November 5 when he visits for the LSU-Alabama game. Chaisson could see enough to make a decision then and there. If Orgeron wins that one, he'll likely be named the coach of LSU, sources have indicated. That would seal the deal in my mind.
Patrick Queen, Livonia (La.)
LSU's lone linebacker commit at the moment is the Livonia 4-star athlete, but while he is firm at the moment with LSU, things could still change. Queen has been a frequent visitor to Ole Miss as well and plans to check out Indiana and Nebraska last he told Tiger Blitz. The running back and linebacker for Livonia could get tempted to play offense in college, but that's also not likely.
Tiger Blitz Take: In terms of confidence in commitment, I'd say I'm 99 percent sure Queen (below) will stick it out with LSU. His best friend, Todd Harris, could jump on board as well, helping fully secure his commitment. While the head coach isn't as key in this case with Queen, the defensive staff remaining put is most important.