Published February 6, 2011 - 8:18am
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Biggest Needs: LSU graduates only one guy off the O-Line, but Joseph Barksdale is a big loss. When looking at the offensive backfield, the early departure of running back Stevan Ridley stings. However, Spencer Ware’s late season performance really showed what is coming back next year. At WR, Terrence Tolliver is LSU’s only loss at that position, sadly for Tolliver he had his best game ever in the Cotton Bowl. Losing three starters on offense, and hiring Steve Kragthorpe as the new OC, has LSU poised to be the top offense in the SEC.
Defensively the Tigers lost three major starters, and they are all significant. When you thought of the LSU defense in 2010, I know you thought of DT Drake Nevis, CB Patrick Peterson, and LB Kelvin Sheppard. Well unfortunately for LSU fans, those guys are gone. Add in that LSU loses Jai Eugene at Safety, and those are significant losses.
Note: Patrick Peterson was LSU’s kick/punt returner, and he was the best returner in the SEC if not the NCAA. Replacing him will be no easy task.
Needs Met: The Tigers signed 4 O-linemen, and none were bigger than La’El Collins. I think Collins could get on the 2-deep depth chart next year, but redshirting linemen in the SEC is never a bad thing. In the offensive backfield they signed 2 QB’s and a running back. JUCO QB Zach Mettenberger looks ready to step in if Jefferson and Lee go through any slumps. Kenny Hilliard is the lone running back in this class, and at 6’0” 220, he could be a serious option for a 3rd down back. Three receivers were signed in this class, and while WR Jarvis Landry is the biggest name, I think that WR Odell Beckham Jr. has been overlooked. These two guys could make a big push to get on the field next fall.
Moving to the defensive signings, the Tigers added depth to their defensive backfield by signing 4 DB’s. I don’t think any of these guys will start next year, but Jalen Collins is the one that has a real chance to play. James Hairston is the lone LB in the class, and I believe that he is bound for a redshirt. LSU made their biggest recruiting splash with the signings on the D-Line. They signed 4 D-Linemen, and it will be tough to keep three of them off the field next year. Mickey Johnson, Jermauria Rasco, and Anthony Johnson are all monster recruits. Any of the three could be on the field next year (if not all of them).
Biggest Get: I think with the loss of DT Drake Nevis, Anthony Johnson may be the biggest recruit in this class. Johnson is a big time interior D-Line player, and he will help the Tigers not miss Nevis as much.
Biggest Miss: Losing WR Bradley Sylve to Alabama is a tough loss. Not that LSU didn’t sign any quality receivers, just the fact that Sylve went to rival Alabama is what makes it a tough loss.
Final Evaluation: There may be a few guys that go out of state, but LSU perennially locks down the state of Louisiana. This year was no change, as LSU signed the top 5 players in state. LSU has a ton of talent on the roster, and they convinced a ton of talent to sign in this recruiting class. This team really has no holes on the roster, and that is the reason they are poised to make a serious run at a National Championship.
Final Grade: A (The only reason it’s not an A+ is because LSU needed one high profile linebacker)