For faithful followers of the crazy game of recruiting, there’s been a focus - born long before this year - on LSU's 2014 class, one rich with in-state talent at the top and heavy on out-of-state names with interest in the Tigers. For even the most casual follower of prep football, five-stars like Leonard Fournette and Clifton Garrett are household names.
Will Brown be the next 5-star into LSU's class?
The recruiting world is full of unexpected outcomes, but one expected result was a strong finish from LSU.
Perhaps even the No. 1 class, a mark that Les Miles hasn’t hit during his time in Baton Rouge despite consistent top-10 hauls.
With 41 days until signed scholarship letters come across the fax machine at LSU, just how close are the Tigers to landing the top class in the country?
Close… And the dominoes are starting to fall.
Earlier this week, the first domino of the dead period dropped when Garrett - a five-star and the No. 1-ranked outside linebacker in the country - went public with his commitment to LSU, giving the Tigers 16 commitments in a class that is expected to hit the limit of 25 signees.
With Garrett on board, the Tigers moved up to the No. 11 spot in the 247Sports team rankings.
Nine scholarship spots remain unaccounted for, and while nearly each domino remaining will be labeled with a five-star, the foundation built thus far is as impressive as any group of 16 in the country.
LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron already has his next quarterback on board in Brandon Harris, the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the country. With Cameron wanting to run an offense where the quarterback can utilize both his arms and legs, the Tigers should be in good hands with Harris and Anthony Jennings.
Fournette headlines an impressive Jan. 2 list of announcements
While heavy hitters at wide receiver and running back are still expected into the class over the final 41 days, assistants Frank Wilson and Adam Henry have already locked up in-state running back Darrel Williams and wide receiver Trey Quinn, who is now the nation's all-time leader in receiving yards at the high school level.
Also on the offensive side: the country’s No. 6 tight end Jacory Washington, receiver and return specialist D.J. Chark and 6-foot-2 and 230-pound Lone Star State standout Tony Upchurch, who projects at a number of positions, including a potential pass-catching tight end.
On defense, the headliner beyond Garrett is Edward Paris, ranked by the 247Composite as the No. 4 safety in the class. Four-star and Top 200 commitment Devin Voorhies also projects as a safety, and Florida sleeper John Battle is someone the Tigers feel confident can make an impact at the position, meaning names like Paris could slide down and try their hand at cornerback. Karr standout Donnie Alexander, a 6-foot-1 and 205-pound outside linebacker, is also already in the fold.
It’s a group littered with talent, but as the recruiting world goes, the next name to drop is just as important to the overall puzzle.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the finishing touches are certainly near.
Which begs every fans favorite question: when will the next domino fall?
It could come sooner than Jan. 2, but that’s when the wave will begin to fall.
At the Under Armour All-American Game in St. Petersburg, Leonard Fournette, Speedy Noil, Gerald Willis and Jamal Adams are all set to announce their college decisions. The same could go for Tony Brown, though the early enrollee and two-sport standout, who is widely considered an LSU lean, could pop sooner.
All five of the aforementioned are five-star prospects. That means LSU could have the potential to land five five-star prospects in the span of a few hours.
A quick plug in of names into the 247Sports Class Calculator reveals that LSU would move from No. 11 (251.33) to No. 2 (286.25) if they secure commitments from Fournette, Willis and Brown. Toss in Noil, and the score moves up to 295.32 points, while the addition of Adams would bump the Tigers to 294.71. Landing both, and clean sweeping the group of five, would give LSU 302.70 points, enough to pass up Alabama (298.85) and sit in the No. 1 spot with a month until signing day.
Then there’s the next wave of names that will come on NSD.
The Tigers appear to be in good shape for five-star wide receiver Malachi Dupre and four-star linebacker Kenny Young, and the press is clearly on for five-stars Adoree’ Jackson, Malik McDowell and Lorenzo Carter, who will give LSU his first official visit when the dead period opens on Jan. 15.
Even safety Hootie Jones is testing the waters with LSU, dropping his commitment from Alabama with hopes of looking around for a final time before signing his scholarship papers as an early-enrollee. Depending on which direction Adams goes, could the Tigers end up back in the mix for the Neville standout?
No matter how the next 41 days plays out, there’s still the one expected in a recruiting world filled with twists and turns.
LSU will finish with one of the nation’s top classes.
But as Tigers do, LSU remains lying in the weeds - sitting outside the top 10 in the class rankings - before their attack on the final stretch before National Signing Day in February.