With LSU bringing in 14 new defensive players on National Signing Day, how do the positions grade…
Grading the 2013 offensive class
I'll grade the offensive prospects here. LSU signed 13 prospects that project to play offense — two QBs, four WRs, five OLs and two TEs.
Prospects added: Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings
For a position that hasn't had consistent play since 2007, LSU may have finally found its future. With Zach Mettenberger entrenched as the starter in 2013, LSU has some question marks looking forward with unproven Stephen Rivers likely the next in line, and after losing QBs in each of the 2010 and 2012 classes, it was imperative that LSU make a big splash at signal caller in 2013.
And so they did, adding two four-star prospects to the position. Both Rettig and Jennings have equally high ceilings, and the competition between the two should be fun to watch over the next couple years. Both have tremendous arm strength but do struggle with accuracy at times, something that should improve as both have already enrolled at LSU.
While Jennings does bring a bit more mobility to the game, both are still considered true pocket-passers. Rettig and Jennings should bring LSU an embarrassment of riches in the coming years.
Prospects added: None
It's hard to give a grade to a position when LSU didn't take any players. When Les Miles was asked about it Wednesday, he said he liked where his team was at RB for 2013 (with Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard already in the mix). He did acknowledge though that taking a "great" one in 2014 was necessary (he then drifted off into a Leonard Fournette highlight film fantasy).
It has been assumed that LSU passed on 2013 RBs with the hopes it will help them land Fournette. While some would like to give LSU a failing grade for not taking a RB this class, that may not be fair when you consider which year the staff is really concerned with.
Prospects added: Logan Stokes and Desean Smith
With LSU losing three from its 2012 team, the TE position was a surprising need for the 2013 class. LSU did well in reloading, finding a pair of players that could get into the offensive mix as early as next season. Stokes, an incoming junior from Northeast Mississippi, will likely step in as the starting TE, having already enrolled at LSU. He will bring a blend of blocking and receiving skills to the position, similar to Chase Clement, who started all 13 games in 2012.
Smith brings a wide receiver-like skillset with the size of a tight end. If utilized properly, Smith will serve as quite the mismatch near the endzone. But he still needs to improve in his blocking, and if receiving TEs are not properly implemented into the offense, there's a concern his skills could go to waste.
Prospects added: Quantavius Leslie, Kevin Spears, Avery Johnson and John Diarse
Anyone can tell you the biggest thing missing from LSU's offense a year ago was a tall WR. So the coaching staff made finding some a point of emphasis in the 2013 class by bringing in three taller than 6-foot-2. The addition of Leslie should pay the earliest dividends as he is expected to transfer in from Hinds CC should he complete his schoolwork. At 6-foot-4, Leslie will provide a weapon unseen in LSU's offense a year ago.
Johnson and Spears, who has only played football for two years, still have some room for improvement before they can be counted on to contribute, but both will provide a solid foundation in the passing game. Diarse, who some believe should line up at safety, will get a crack and sticking as an inside WR. Few can question his ability with the ball in his hands, and LSU will hope to capitalize on his quickness in the short passing game.
Still, if Leslie again drops the ball and fails to qualify academically, LSU could be find itself in a bind again at WR. Though Miles expressed comfort that Leslie has his grades in order, it's something to watch moving forward, and the overall grade of the class could depend on it.
Prospects added: Fehoko Fanaika, Ethan Pocic, Josh Boutte, Andy Dodd and K.J. Malone
Miles called this the best five-man offensive line class he's ever recruited at LSU, and it's hard to argue against that. LSU lost three starters from its 2012 OL, and it's possible that some of these signees crack the two-deep by next season. Fanaika, a junior college transfer, should step in immediately and provided much-needed depth on the interior line.
LSU also added two players — Pocic (a tackle) and Boutte (a guard) — ranked nationally in the top 10 of their position. Having that kind of potential should go a long way in shoring up the future of the offensive line. Pocic could wind up proving to be the biggest steal of the class, as LSU went into Illinois, a state untapped by the Tigers in years past, to land one of its tackles of the future. The staff can also turn to guys like Dodd or Malone to train at center, a position with an uncertain future after current starter Elliott Porter.
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