LSU has a lot of work to do to raise this year’s recruiting class to the Tigers’ recent standard.
Commitments will start turning into actual Tigers on Wednesday, but based on the 20 commitments LSU has thus far, none of which are 5-star recruits, its 2018 class ranks No. 13 in the country (fourth in the SEC). That’s certainly not bad but it would match the lowest ranking for the Tigers in their past 13 classes.
LSU’s 2012 and 2008 classes were also ranked 13th, the Tigers’ lowest ranking since the 2005 class, which was started by Nick Saban and finished by Les Miles, was ranked No. 14.
Since then, the Tigers’ recruiting classes have been ranked eighth, fifth, 13th, first (in 2009), ninth, eighth, 13th, sixth, second, fifth, second and seventh.
Though LSU doesn’t currently have a top 10 class, it has addressed some significant needs.
Coach Ed Orgeron said the Tigers need immediate help on both lines and he’s well on his way to getting just that.
Five of the Tigers’ commitments are defensive tackles, two are defensive ends and four are offensive linemen. LSU also has commitments from two inside linebackers, two wide receivers, one running back, one tight end, one safety and two players listed as “athletes.”
The 20 commitments are split evenly between 4-star and 3-star prospects.
The most recent defensive tackle to commit to the Tigers was Dominic Livingston of Houston, who joined another Texas product — Chasen Hines of Marshall — and three Louisiana recruits: Nelson Jenkins (Plaquemine), Dare Rosenthal (Ferriday) and Davin Cotton (Shreveport).
Orgeron said during the season that the Tigers would have to turn to the junior-college ranks to bolster an inexperienced line. The Tigers started two freshmen — right guard Ed Ingram and left tackle Saahdiq Charles — for much of this season, though the unit improved as the season went along.
The Tigers recently added Badara Traore, the top junior-college tackle in the country, who will have three years of eligibility. He joins another junior-college recruit in guard Damien Lewis of Northwest Mississippi Community College. The other offensive linemen in the upcoming class are tackle Cameron Wire (Gonzales, La.) and guard/center Cole Smith (Pontotoc, Miss.).
LSU could return three starters with one year of eligibility remaining — center Will Clapp, right tackle Toby Weathersby and left guard Garrett Brumfield — though Clapp and Weathersby might declare for the draft.
The Tigers have commitments from two running backs and that will become a position of greater need if Derrius Guice chooses to go to the NFL rather than return for his senior season. Guice said he won’t decide until after the Tigers’ Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl game and indicated that he was leaning toward returning.
If the Tigers can grab one of their running back targets on Wednesday, they will. They have offered Anthony “Pooka” Williams, a 3-star recruit from Hahnville High, La., whose stock has risen steadily in the past month.
Williams rushed for more than 1,200 yards in the playoffs as he led his 10th-seeded team to the championship game in Louisiana’s highest classification, which his team lost. It appears Williams, who committed to Kansas, will not sign during the early period because he has academic work to complete to be eligible.
LSU doesn’t have a commitment from a quarterback and might not sign one in this class.