5 main takeaways from LSU's first day of Early Signing Period
LSU had a good day Wednesday.
On the first day of the NCAA’s Early Signing Period, the Tigers didn’t lose anybody they expected to get and they signed two important players who had not previously committed.
Of the 15 who signed on Wednesday, two are 5-star recruits, six are 4-stars and seven are 3-stars. LSU has six more commitments who were expected to sign in the next two days and join the No. 4 recruiting class in the country.
The Tigers added significant numbers where they were needed on the offensive line and they landed multiple impact players at running back and cornerback.
Those were the areas that were impacted the most Wednesday, but LSU also addressed its defensive line, linebacker, wide receiver tight end and special teams positions.
Here are 5 takeaways from LSU’s signees on Day 1 of the Early Signing Period:
The Tigers got a big boost Wednesday when they added two 4-star recruits at the 11th hour at positions of need – DT Siaki Ika and CB Raydarious Jones.
Ika is a true nose tackle who brings size (6 feet 3, 351 pounds) and physicality to the interior of the defensive line. LSU has quality on the defensive line, but it needs to be even more physical and upgrade its depth to have a chance to win the SEC West. Ika doesn’t take LSU to another level by himself, but he’s an important addition in an area that will be addressed further in February. He is ranked the No. 11 defensive tackle in the country and chose LSU over Utah, Florida, Oregon and USC, among others.
Jones (6-2, 170) is a former quarterback who is ranked the No. 9 athlete in the country. He is ticketed to play cornerback with the Tigers. LSU is losing Greedy Williams early to the NFL and it needs to upgrade its CB depth. Jones, who has yet to sign his National Letter of Intent, is a smart player who brings a quarterback’s mentality and elite physical skills to the position. He chose the Tigers over Ole Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State and others.
CB/RS Derek Stingley is a 5-star defender who also brings much-needed playmaking to punt returns. Jones gave a boost to a position that already had been upgraded when Stingley committed.
Stingley (6-1, 190), the No. 1 defensive back in the country, is the top recruit in the class and he plays a position of need, making him a prime candidate to have an impact right away.
He had 27 interceptions and returned 14 punts for touchdowns during his high school career.
RB John Emery Jr. committed to the Tigers a few weeks ago, shortly after decommitting from Georgia. Running back was as big a priority as coach Ed Orgeron had and taking Emery away from an SEC rival was huge. It meant the nation’s No. 2 RB didn’t escape LSU’s backyard.
Emery, from Destrehan, La., has a much better chance of being the clear-cut No. 1 ball carrier with the Tigers than he would have had with the Bulldogs and that made a difference in his selection.
Orgeron believes he has a back who can have a similar impact to that of Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette.
Strength in numbers
LSU signed three offensive linemen and expects to officially land two who have committed in the coming days.
The Tigers need an infusion of size, talent and depth in an area that took a few hits from injuries and suspensions last season. They started seven different combinations on the line last season and starting LG Garrett Brumfield will exhaust his eligibility at the Fiesta Bowl.
Five-star G Kardell Thomas and four-star G Anthony Bradford have the best chance to play the most right away, though last season was a reminder that no team can have too many dependable offensive linemen.
The Tigers still have some work to do.
In addition waiting on Jones’ signature, they are waiting on 4-star CB Maurice Hampton, 4-star tackle Ray Parker and 4-star CB Cordale Flott. Hampton and Flott plan to sign in February.
Assuming everything goes as expected and those players follow through on their commitments with signatures, LSU will have four more scholarships to offer in February.
The focus will be on the defensive line. The Tigers got two defensive linemen Wednesday and would like to get at least that many when they start signing again in February.