TIGER WRAP: The Defense

Tiger Rag Recruiting Analyst Sonny Shipp takes an in-depth look at LSU's defensive prospects in the innaugural Tiger Wrap covering the Class of 2007. And it is all absolutely free here this week on TigerRag.com.

Defensive End

Needs: 2-3

Committed: 0


Top Targets

Luther Davis…..West Monroe (LA)…..6'4, 250, 4.8

Jason Peters…..Baton Rouge (LA) Catholic…..6'3 ½,255, 4.78

Rae Sykes        Alcoa (TN) …..6'4, 240, 4.7

Eric Thomas     Cleveland (OH) Benedictine…..6'5, 240, 4.75

Cortez Myles…..Madison (MS) Madison Central…..6'3 ½, 255, 4.8

Richetti Jones…..Dallas (TX) Lincoln…..6'3, 225, 4.85

D.J. Stafford…..LaGrange (GA) …..6'3 ½, 240, 4.8


Tidbits: LSU fans, and plenty of others for that matter, have been up in arms over Luther Davis and the drama surrounding his recruitment.


First, it was Notre Dame that was close to picking up his commitment. Then it was Florida State, and now it is USC. In the time that it took to write this and by the time it is actually published, there will probably be a story on the network contradicting what I am about to write but LSU is still the team to beat for Davis. I've written two stories on the young man, only because a story seems to pop up somewhere else once a week, but I've spoken to him probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 times over the past four months.


I have been told so many things off the record to support the way that I feel about this and in the end I strongly feel that LSU will come out on top. If Davis does commit to a school other than LSU on Aug. 26, I will not be shocked to say the least. I've done this long enough to know that some kids play the recruiting game and love the attention but regardless of what you hear and read, Davis loves LSU. Don't get me wrong, he loves the idea of playing for USC too, and who wouldn't at this point? But, in the end, Los Angeles is too far from home. So is South Bend and so is Tallahassee.


There are some fans out there that do not understand why a kid would go back and forth with schools the way he has in interviews but what I can tell you is that he is a good kid, is very respectful and polite, and has a good head on his shoulders. With that said, though, he is still a 16 year-old kid who loves talking to people. You have to put yourself in his situation and imagine what it is like to have all of these coaches and reporters calling you trying to get any inside angle they can get to help or promote their school or website. Now, with that said, there is a chance that Davis may move inside to tackle at the next level so if that happens who would be the guys in this class coming off the edge?


When everyone was celebrating the 2006 class on National Signing Day, the LSU coaches were already hard at work on 2007. A few of the top players in Louisiana were offered by LSU on that day and Jason Peters was one of them.


You haven't heard as much of Peters as you have on some of the other top defensive ends in this class and that is out of respect for Catholic head coach Dale Weiner, who does not want things to get out of hand on the recruiting front too soon. You will start hearing plenty on Peters over the next few months and the feeling here is that LSU will come out on top. I'd be surprised if he does not commit before the beginning of his senior campaign so recruiting does not interfere with his final year of high school. A few unofficial visits for camps may be all he needs to see before making his decision.


Looking out-of-state, Rae Sykes and Cortez Myles have both spoken highly of the Tigers. One has to figure that Tennessee will be tough to beat for Sykes as the Vols have the home field advantage and Florida State signed one of his good friends in 2006 in Brandon Warren.

As for Myles, nearly every year LSU goes into Mississippi and swipes at least one of the state's top prospects that both Ole Miss and Mississippi State want. It's been tough to gauge how strong his interest is but over the next couple of months we will have a better idea.


Defensive Tackle

Needs: 3

Committed: 1 (Kantravis Aubrey, Bastrop (LA), 6'3, 285, 5.0)


Top Targets

Will Blackwell…..West Monroe (LA) …..6'4, 290, 4.9

Rolando Melancon…..Lutcher (LA) …..6'2, 270, 4.85

Ahmad Jones…..Silsbee (TX)…..6'2, 320, 5.2

Torrey Davis…..Seffner (FL) Armwood…..6'5, 283, 4.8

Cameron Heyward…..Suwanee (GA) Peachtree Ridge.....6'5, 270, 4.9

Ben Bass…..Plano (TX) West…..6'4, 260, 4.8

Drake Nevis…..Marrero (LA) John Ehret…..6'1, 285, 4.8


Tidbits: With Kantravis Aubrey already on board, the Tigers will likely sign another couple of tackles in this class and they could get an outstanding pair without leaving the state.


I've already touched on Davis and how he could move inside but there are two more guys who are highly sought after by schools all over the country in West Monroe's Will Blackwell and Lutcher's Rolando Melancon, and one on the rise in John Ehret's Drake Nevis.


In the past 10 years, LSU has gotten everyone that they wanted out of West Monroe and there is a good chance that trend will continue this year. Auburn, Ole Miss and Notre Dame will give LSU a run for its money with Blackwell and based on my talks with him and others close to his situation I get the feeling that it will all come down to how the Tigers fare during the '06 season.


Much like with Joe McKnight, a 9 or 10-win season and I like the Tigers' chances, however, an 8-4 or 7-5 record may not do the trick. He stated a couple of times that going to a winning program is big in his mind and that will be a big factor he considers. If you're asking why he is considering Ole Miss with some of the difficulties the Rebels have had in the past two years it boils down two things. His family has a good relationship with Ed Orgeron and the Rebels are bringing in more talent than they have in the past. Whether or not that talent translates into more victories remains to be seen but it is a selling point.


Melancon currently favors LSU over Tennessee, Florida, Nebraska, Miami, and Florida State, and if can get academically qualified then he could be the next coming of Anthony "Booger" McFarland. His first step is as quick as they come and he plays sideline to sideline like most linebackers. If Miami offers then the Hurricanes could cause some concern since they were his favorite growing up, but not to sound like a broken record or anything, the LSU campus is a little more than a 30 minute drive from his home, while Miami is a two hour plane ride.


Nevis committed to Ole Miss early in the game, and although he remains committed to the Rebels, he is checking out other schools. LSU has not offered yet but an offer is reportedly in the works. The coaches have stepped up their efforts after his showing at the Nike Combine but there still may be a few questions that they hope can get answered over the summer.


LSU also leads for one of the top tackles in Texas in Silsbee's Ahmad Jones so if things fall through on one of the Louisiana boys then he could ease the pain.


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