RECRUITING: Spotlighting summer's best - DEFENSE

A breakdown of LSU's wishlist on the defensive side.

Defensive Tackles

Needs: 2; Committed: 1 (Al Woods)


There is an enormous amount of young talent and depth on the Tigers' roster at defensive tackle.


Still, though, one has to figure that defensive line coach Karl Dunbar is looking for two more to add to the fold.


It will be hard for Dunbar to find a better player in America than the one he already has a commitment from in Al Woods (6-4, 327, 5.2).


The Elton (La.) product is rated the fifth best tackle in America by His biggest assets are his size and strength but he also has good quickness in the trenches. He posted over 100 tackles as a junior and expects bigger things in 2005.


Oklahoma, USC and Tennessee were a few of the offers Woods picked up before he committed to LSU but home is where the big guy's heart rests.


A pair of Louisiana kids are worth keeping up with as Miles searches for someone to play alongside of Woods in the future.


Destrehan's Chaz Washington (6-3, 290, 5.2) and Lafayette-Northside's Jarred Shaw (6-4, 330, 5.2) both have captured interest from the Tigers but neither has been rewarded with a scholarship offer.

Washington has offers from Oklahoma, USC, Miami, Tennessee and many others, while Shaw has reeled in offers from UCLA and Tennessee.


Washington said Dunbar wants to see him make more plays as a senior and if he shows them he can perform at the level they feel he is capable of performing at then there is a good chance an offer will be extended.


LSU would likely take the big man from Destrehan as an offensive guard but he has his heart set on playing defense.


Les Miles and Dunbar are reportedly real high on Shaw but are a little concerned about the extra weight he put on after his junior season. He went from 310 to 340 in the blink of an eye. An option with Shaw may be on the offensive line because some schools, including Oklahoma, have mentioned the possibility of moving him to that side of the ball.


If LSU offers Washington for defense then look for him to stay home and play for the Tigers. If Shaw is offered, regardless of the position, then he will likely make Baton Rouge his home for the next four or five years.




Needs: 3-4; Committed: 1 (Jacob Cutrera)


Offensive linemen may be the staff's No. 1 priority but not far behind ranks a big need for linebackers.


Jacob Cutrera (6-4, 225, 4.5) of Scott-Acadiana is the state's top rated linebacker and one of the best in the South. In 2004, he racked up 112 tackles and showed that he has a lot of speed and good quickness.


Since committing to the Tigers in March, Cutrera has been working hard at getting stronger and that will help him to be a more physical player in 2005.


A couple of out-of-state players on LSU's radar is Derrick Odom (6-2, 205, 4.5) of Jackson (Miss.) Calloway and Bani Gbadyu (6-1,2 10, 4.5) of Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard.


Odom is a four-star linebacker and is rated No. 14 in the country at his position and this is shaping up as an LSU/Ole Miss battle.


Gbadyu has a strong interest in the Tigers and he already has an official visit set up for during the season.


West Monroe (La.) safety Shomari Clemons (6-2, 205, 4.5) is projected to grow into an linebacker and is a strong lean to LSU. He thought about committing during the May evaluation period but now wants to take a couple of visits. However, he stated on numerous occasions that the Tigers were his clear favorite and it was only a matter of time until he gave them a verbal pledge.


The only uncertainty with Clemons seems to be surrounding his academic status because he has some work to do in the classroom before he qualifies.




Needs: 2; Committed 0


LSU earned a reputation for sending corners to the NFL when Nick Saban was at the helm. Whether or not that trend continues falls on the shoulders of defensive coordinator Bo Pellini and defensive backs coach Doug Mallory.


One thing for certain is that the staff is going after the best in America and the No. 1 cornerback in the land is right in the Tigers' own backyard in Destrehan's Jai Eugene (6-1, 185, 4.4).


Eugene claims more than 45 offers at this time and although he is reluctant to name a leader LSU is the team to beat for his services. He is keeping things close to his vest and does not want to single out one school but when asked if a school was going to have to blow him away and steal him away from LSU he gave the kind of answer Tiger fans wanted to hear.


"Some schools is going to have to," he replied. "LSU has a lot to offer with being close to home and the coaching staff. Every school I visit I will compare to LSU."


Perrish Cox could very well end up playing corner and what a tandem he and Eugene would make in Tiger Town. That would give LSU the No. 1 and No. 5 rated corners in the country.


Jonathan Nelson (5-11, 165, 4.5) of Arlington (Texas) Mansfield Summit is the 13th rated cornerback in America and he is also high on LSU's wish list. The Tiger coaching staff has some work to do on Nelson because his last report did not list the Tigers in his top four schools.




Needs: 2; Committed: 0


LSU is in good shape with several of the country's top safeties.


The two players that seem to be drawing the most interest are Antwine Perez (6-2, 200, 4.5) of Camden (N.J.) Woodrow Wilson and Jonas Mouton (6-2, 212, 4.6) of Los Angeles (Calif.) Venice.


Perez, rated the third best safety in the land, has narrowed his list to LSU, Michigan and USC. Once again, the LSU coaching staff is drawing rave reviews from another out-of-state player for their ability to recruit.

Mouton is ranked one spot behind Perez at No. 4 and he is originally from Kaplan, La. He moved to Los Angeles in junior high and his family in South Louisiana is doing their best to bring him back home.

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