Be patient, LSU fans, 2021 isn't that far away ... and the Tigers' recruiting class is loaded
The 2020 season has been a near reversal from 2019 for LSU.
Virtually everything went the Tigers’ way last season as they finished 15-0 and won the CFP championship.
Everything hasn’t gone wrong this season, but much of it has. From key players opting out during the preseason to a terrible performance in a season-opening loss, a COVID postponement against Florida, a losing record midway through the season and a COVID postponement and possible cancellation of the Alabama game Tuesday.
It might appear that the end of the season can’t come soon enough for LSU, but help is on its way.
It won’t arrive until 2021, but aren’t we all just trying to get through 2020 with the hope that 2021 will be better?
The 2-3 Tigers need help. They have commitments from 22 recruits for the Class of 2021. The class is ranked No. 3 in the country, trailing only top-ranked Alabama and Ohio State.
They need help in a lot of places, but they especially need help on defense.
Head coach Ed Orgeron realizes this and he has secured commitments from 13 defensive players.
The only 5-star recruit on the list is safety Sage Ryan, who can bring immediate help to a unit that will lose senior JaCoby Stevens.
If you’ve watched any of LSU’s 3 losses this season, you’ve seen an inordinate number of opposing wide receivers being unguarded as they make big-play receptions. As good as Ryan might be, no single player is going to fix what’s wrong with the secondary.
That’s why the program formerly known as DBU has several more DBs on its list of commitments.
Fellow safety Derrick Davis Jr. is a 4-star player (and the No. 2-ranked safety in the class, behind Ryan). Cornerback Nathaniel Wiggins also is a 4-star. The Tigers are also awaiting the arrival of a pair of 3-start safeties in Khari Gee and Matthew Langlois.
LSU’s defensive problems have not been limited to the secondary. It lost all 4 starting linebackers from the championship team and even the switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 didn’t mitigate the drop-off in performance from the unit. The one bright spot in the unit has been Jabril Cox, but he’s a graduate transfer.
Three 4-star linebackers will arrive with an opportunity to have an impact – 2 on the outside, Raesjon Davis and Zavier Carter, and 1 on the inside, Greg Penn III. Davis is the No. 3 OLB in the class and just missed being ranked 5-stars. He’s from California power Mater Dei.
The defensive line has been the most productive unit on the defense, but it needs help as well – especially with tackle Glen Logan and end Andre Anthony being seniors.
LSU has commitments from 4 athletic defensive end/outside linebacker types that are all 4-star prospects – Landon Jackson, Naquan Brown, Keanu Koht and Saivion Jones.
Tackle Anthony Hundley is a 3-star recruit who will add depth to the interior.
Orgeron and his staff have continued their efforts to restore the history-making wide receiver corps that was a key to last season’s success.
Justin Jefferson left early for the 2020 NFL Draft and Ja’Marr Chase opted out of this season to focus on the 2020 draft.
Terrace Marshall Jr. has probably been the brightest light on this year’s team and the 2020 recruiting class featured 5-star Kayshon Boutte and 4-star Koy Moore. Marshall is a junior and 2 other key receivers – Jontre Kirklin and Racey McMath – are seniors.
There are plenty of reinforcements on their way in 4-start recruits Chris Hilton, JoJo Earle and Deion Smith as well as 3-star recruit Jack Bech.
The offensive line lost 4 starters from last year’s unit and 2 of this year’s starters – tackle Austin Deculus and center Liam Shanahan – are seniors. So far the Tigers have a commitment from just 1 lineman — tackle Garrett Dellinger, a 4-start recruit.
At the start of this season, Orgeron praised the running backs as being one of the deepest groups on the team and it will get deeper with the arrival of 4-star recruit Corey Kiner.
The Tigers have plenty of young talent at quarterback with freshmen TJ Finley and Max Johnson backing up Myles Brennan. Garrett Nussmeier is a highly-regarded 4-star recruit who will join the competition.
LSU has 2 other 3-star commitments in tight end Jalen Shead and punter Peyton Todd.
Perhaps the Tigers won’t have any more COVID issues. Perhaps they’ll even their record with a victory at Arkansas next week and that’ll start a strong finish.
But, if not, 2021 isn’t that far away, and another loaded class will arrive to help.