2015 Big Board: Defense

LSU commit Kevin Toliver, the No. 1 CB

TSD continues unveiling its LSU Big Board, detailing all the targets for the Class of 2015. Today we take a look at the defensive side of the ball, examining where things stand with all the prospects LSU has offered.

TSD continues unveiling its Big Board for the Class of 2015, and today we'll take a look at all of LSU's targets on the defensive side of the ball. Yesterday, we broke down the offensive side, so be sure to check that out in case you missed it.

You can see the full Big Board on the TSD Message Board by clicking the link below. The Tigers currently have three defensive recruits committed, with a number of big-name national targets on the board. We break down all of them below the jump.


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DEFENSIVE END


Committed: Isaiah Washington
Offered: Josh Sweat, Keisean Lucier-South, Natrez Patrick, Clelin Ferrell, Arden Key, Rasool Clemons, D'Andre Walker, Terry Beckner, Byron Cowart, Kyle Phillips, Michael Barnett

After only taking one true DE in the 2014 class, that position will be a big need for the Tigers in 2015 as they'll look to supplement what they've added in the previous two cycles. LSU is off to a good start though with Washington, one of the state's top linemen and the heir apparent to Gerald Willis' throne at Edna Karr. Landing Washington quelled some of the concerns regarding the goings on at that powerhouse program, but he hasn't exactly shut down the recruiting process. Washington visited Texas recently, and says publicly he's still open to options to ensure LSU is the right choice. While that's become a standard line for many recruits, LSU is the most likely place for Washington to end up, but as is the case so often, this one may take a twist or turn before it's all over.

LSU DL coach Brick Haley has been hard at work recently identifying the top guys on his list and reaching out to them to gauge interest. His targets span the entire country with guys in California, Georgia, Virginia, Illinois and that's what's made Haley such a solid recruiter for LSU. He doesn't just stick to the typical recruiting footprint and that's helped him land guys like Tashawn Bower, Lewis Neal and Greg Gilmore in recent classes.

The Tigers will need some of that out-of-state magic again in 2015, and considering most of the recruits listed above have only been offered in the last couple weeks, it's still a bit early to peg any as an early lean. Guys like Clemons and Beckner have mentioned LSU as an early contender, and the coaches will try to get as many of these players on campus as they can during the spring and summer, or at the very least, position themselves for an official visit down the line.


Albert Huggins likes what he's heard from LSU

DEFENSIVE TACKLE


Committed: None
Offered: T.D. Moton, Albert Huggins, Rasheem Green, Fletcher Adams, D. J. Jones, Daylon Mack

The interior defensive line hasn't been as big a focus as the edge rushers in the 2015 class for LSU yet. Huggins, who picked up an offer from LSU last week, seems to have placed himself near the top of the board. He's said in interviews that LSU's reputation on the defensive line has his interest, but it will be hard to take him away from the South Carolina schools. If LSU's going to be a real contender, they'll need to get him on campus this summer, which is when Huggins has said he'd like to get out and take some visits.

Moton's still a bit of a wild card in terms of the Louisiana talent. While he received one of LSU's first in-state offers for 2015, he's been in a holding pattern since missing his entire junior season due to transfer rules. LSU wants to evaluate him more this spring to ensure he's still capable of being the same player they offered as a rising junior. According to some that have seen him play recently though, there does seem to be some rust and this spring, when he'll finally return to the football field, will be huge for him if hopes to stay on an SEC-level.

As for the other names on the list: Green will be one of California's most heavily recruited players, but it will take a lot for a school like LSU to overtake the West Coast powers. Adams is being courted by most of the major players in the SEC, and Jones is a JUCO prospect that's been a hot name on the trail lately. Mack remains firm to Texas A&M, but he was on the verge of visiting LSU before he made that pledge, so the coaches will certainly try to stay in his ear.


Leo Lewis visited LSU this past fall

LINEBACKER


Committed: None
Offered: Leo Lewis, Keaton Anderson, John Houston, Jeffery Holland, Malik Jefferson, Sh'mar Kilby-Lane, Richard McBryde, Ricky DeBerry

As it is along the defensive line, the bulk of LSU's recruiting efforts at linebacker have fallen out-of-state. The South is brimming with talent though, and LSU aims to take advantage of that. A handful of the names listed above do have some connections to the LSU program, so that will be something the coaches try to work throughout the process.

Two of these linebackers have high school teammates either signed or committed to LSU. Kilby-Lane plays at Hallandale along with 2014 signee John Battle. While he'd certainly be in his ear, Kilby-Lane has mostly mentioned Ohio State, Florida State and Alabama as his leaders. Holland, who comes from the same Florida powerhouse as Kevin Toliver, does have LSU in his lead group along with a number of other schools, but having someone like Toliver so close to things can only help the Tigers.

Anderson's another interesting story, as he's one of LSU's more recent offers. The three-star prospect is a Tennessee legacy, as his father, uncle and brother have all played for the Vols. In fact, Anderson's father was a teammate in Knoxville with LSU DC John Chavis, who extended Anderson the offer. That relationship and trust can certainly help, but those family ties to Tennessee are heavy in the Vols' favor.

Most of the names listed above are considered outside linebackers, and Lewis is really the only one that's a sure-fire MIKE backer. He's been one of the South's hotter recruits over the last few months, and LSU first offered him in early February. He visited campus back in November and came away high on the Tigers, and that trip was enough to at least put LSU in the mix. He has a lot of big offers though, and he's still in the process of narrowing down his options with no decision expected anytime soon.


Getting Xavier Lewis back is a big priority for LSU

CORNERBACK


Committed: Kevin Toliver
Offered: Xavier Lewis, Kendall Sheffield, Iman Marshall, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Carlton Davis, Maurice Smitherman, Garrett Taylor, Holton Hill, Tim Irvin

You can't get off to a much better start than pulling in the nation's No. 1 CB as your first commit. About 16 months since Toliver first made his pledge to LSU, he's still as firm as ever and seems to be a big ambassador for this class. One of the more well-known and outgoing recruits on the national stage, Toliver has friends throughout the country and is always working to get others to join him. Other programs do continue to court him, and he'll visit Miami this weekend for a Junior Day, but barring something drastic, his commitment looks to be one that will stick until the end.

Lewis, who dropped his commitment to LSU in February, remains likely to link back up with the Tigers before it's all over. He's taken full advantage of reopening the process, reeling in a number of big offers and taking his share of visits. He was most recently in Austin and College Station, and there will be more trips on the docket in the coming months. But Lewis maintains a strong relationship with LSU assistants Frank Wilson and Corey Raymond, who are OK with Lewis wanting to look around. The same reasons that Lewis committed in the first place will still be in play, and that should eventually lead him back to LSU.

Looking out-of-state, Coach Raymond has reached out to a number of the nation's top prospects to gauge interest. The coming months will clear up the picture as to which recruits are legitimately considering the Tigers. Most feel Sheffield's leaning toward the Texas schools right now, and Marshall will be another California DB to receive attention from coast-to-coast. Fitzpatrick's a New Jersey native that has said he wants to play in the SEC, and guys like Taylor and Davis were only offered within the last week.


LSU's an early contender with Tarvarus McFadden

SAFETY


Committed: Kevin Henry
Offered: Tarvarus McFadden, Roney Elam, Jamal Peters, Shawn Burgess-Becker

Safety seems to be the position where LSU can really make a big splash in the Class of 2015. The Tigers already have a four-star strong safety committed in Henry, and LSU's in early contention for each of the highly rated out-of-state prospects listed above.

McFadden, who is teammates with QB target Torrance Gibson, has mentioned LSU as one of his top schools, and even said they were his leader at one point. Coach Raymond has made him a very big priority and stopped by his school numerous times during the various contact periods. He's a long defender, which Coach Raymond loves, and has the versatility to really play anywhere in the secondary. Coach Raymond will continue to work his South Florida connections, and look for McFadden and Gibson to visit Baton Rouge at some point this summer.

Elam was a sleeper when LSU became his first offer a few weeks back. Now his recruitment is very much awake, Alabama, Texas A&M, Texas and several others have since come through with offers, making him one of the hotter prospects on the trail. He too can fit at a number of different spots, but at 6-foot-3, that's the kind of size that LSU would love to add to its secondary.

Peters visited LSU for a game this past fall, and came away with the Tigers as one of his top choices. He flirted with the idea of making an early commitment, but he has since backed away from that. He plans to experience the full process, and with attention from all the major players in the SEC, you can't blame him. But LSU's done enough early to stay in the mix, and they'll be a team to watch in his recruitment as it plays out.

Burgess-Becker visited for a day of camp last summer, working one-on-one with Coach Raymond. Most feel he's a heavy lean to Miami, and he even had a commitment planned a few weeks back. That didn't happen though, and he maintains he's open to all suitors, so LSU will work to get him on campus again for another visit.

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