LSU football: Here's what you need to know about the Tigers' 2020 recruiting class
It has been a magical season for LSU.
An undefeated regular season.
An SEC championship.
Its first trip to the College Football Playoff – and a No. 1 seed to boot.
And Joe Burrow is about to win the Heisman Trophy.
But this is all going to be over after 1 or 2 more games.
Then comes life after Burrow.
Someone else is going to have to play quarterback. Maybe it will be Myles Brennan. Maybe it will be someone they sign in December or February.
Or maybe someone will transfer in on a white horse like Burrow did a year and a half ago.
But whoever plays quarterback isn’t going to match what Burrow has done this year. The Tigers are going to have to be better in many areas to balance the inevitable drop-off at quarterback if they’re going to remain a national-championships contender.
Burrow’s success and the team’s success have gotten the attention of high-school players all over the country.
LSU is poised to have an outstanding recruiting class and it will need to have one in order to mitigate the departure of Burrow and several other key players such as fellow seniors in DT Breiden Fehoko, DE Rashard Lawrence, CB Kristian Fulton and presumably NFL-ready underclassmen such as RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, C Lloyd Cushenberry III, WR Justin Jefferson and S Grant Delpit.
In addition to quarterback, other positions that need to be bolstered by newcomers include, running back, offensive line, tight end, defensive line and defensive back.
Here’s what you need to know about the Tigers’ recruiting class (rankings courtesy of 247Sports).
- National rank: 3
- SEC rank: 2
- 5-stars: 3
- 4-stars: 15
- 3-stars: 6
Best player: 5-star TE Arik Gilbert
Gilbert is the No. 1-ranked tight end and the No. 9 prospect overall. At 6-5, 253 pounds, he’s already a very big, physical target and he has the frame to add weight without sacrificing athleticism.
He is a varsity basketball player and a defensive end with a rare combination and strength and agility. His ability to split wide as a tight end is a perfect fit for Joe Brady’s passing game, which does exactly that.
Gilbert figures to play next year and could play a lot because the Tigers use multiple tight ends.
His Marietta team has reached the Georgia state championship game for the first time since 1967.
Assessing the QBs
- Max Johnson (4-star)
- T.J. Finley (3-star)
Johnson is the son of former Florida State and NFL quarterback Brad Johnson and a nephew of former Georgia and Miami coach Mark Richt. Ranked No. 10 among pro-style QBs, he’s a left-handed pro-style passer who can compete for the starting job right away.
Finley is 6-6 and a strong-armed though he also has good touch. He’s less likely that Johnson to have an impact, especially early on, and needs to refine some of his mechanics.
Biggest need filled
The Tigers will almost certainly have to replace S Grant Delpit, a unanimous All-American as a sophomore last season, plus senior CB Kristian Fulton and perhaps other underclassman DBs in JaCoby Stevens and Kary Vincent.
But they already have a commitment from 5-star CB Elias Ricks and 3 safety commitments.
That doesn’t mean they’re done with DBs, but it doesn’t mean they can withstand multiple early departures if they occur.
Biggest needs that need to be filled
The Tigers still have some work to do on the offensive line. Both starting guards – Adrian Magee and Damien Lewis – are seniors and center Lloyd Cushenberry III could leave early. Starting tackles Saahdiq Charles and Austin Deculus also are juniors and the depth needs work.
So far the Tigers have commitments from 2 guards.
Best position group
Not surprisingly, wide receivers are flocking to LSU after seeing not only how Joe Burrow has thrown the ball in Brady’s offense but also how Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Terrace Marshall Jr., have blossomed as wide receivers, which is Brady’s position group.
LSU has a 5-star commitment – Rakim Jarrett – and 3 4-star commitments even though Chase and Marshall will both be back for their junior seasons next year.
Best player still chasing
The Tigers are hoping to cap this class with Zach Evans from Houston, the No. 1 running back prospect in the country.
LSU is considered the front-runner to land Evans, but he postponed the announcement of his destination, which had been scheduled for last week.
Texas A&M and Georgia, incidentally the teams that have lost to the Tigers on the past 2 weekends, are considered LSU’s top competition for Evans.