Willie Allen’s tweet came across Tuesday morning: “366 days away,” it read.
For some, the countdown to 2016 National Signing Day began even before this year’s big day Wednesday.
It’s not without good reason. Allen, an offensive tackle from John Curtis, is part of a 2016 crop of Louisiana talent that’s being compared to — gasp! — the record 2014 group.
A day after LSU signed the nation’s No. 8-ranked signing class, according to Rivals, attention quickly turns to 2016. The Tigers are in the exact position they were with the 2015 class this time last year as they are for the 2016 class this year: five commits and a No. 8 national ranking.
This year’s march to National Signing Day will likely be different — and maybe easier — than the 2015 journey.
Why? The state’s talent pool.
An average crop of Louisiana recruits in 2015 forced LSU to go out of state. The Tigers offered scholarships to just 19 Louisiana players for this year’s class out of 174 total offers, according to 247Sports.
Already, the program has offered scholarships to 18 Louisiana prospects out of 77 total offers. And there’s still a year to go.
The 2016 Bayou State group is drawing comparisons with a 2014 class that included at least four players ranked No. 1 or No. 2 at their positions: running back Leonard Fournette, receivers Malachi Dupre and Devante “Speedy” Noil, and offensive lineman Cameron Robinson.
The 2016 group has similarities to those four five-star players. It has three composite five-star players: St. Thomas Aquinas defensive tackle Edwin Alexander, Calvary Baptist Academy quarterback Shea Patterson and Kentwood cornerback Shyheim Carter. Allen, meanwhile, is the first four-star in the national rankings, just mere points from being given five-stars.
By comparison, Louisiana’s 2015 class includes just one composite five-star — Warren Easton receiver Tyron Johnson — and the group has just four players in 247Sports’ top 100 prospects nationally.
Nine members of the 2016 haul are in the top 100, including six in the top 50 — the same number as the 2014 class.
The comparisons aren’t stopping with 2014. The 2001 and 2011 Louisiana crops are being mentioned in the same breath as 2016.
“You’ve got that high-end five-star talent,” said Sonny Shipp, recruiting analyst at 247Sports. “But then you’ve got a really strong group of four-star guys. When you have the two of those (groups) — and you know you’ll have the big group of three-stars — it’s going to be right up there with those three classes.”
The ’11 class included receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, offensive linemen La’el Collins and Greg Robinson, defensive lineman Anthony Johnson and running back Kenny Hilliard.
In 2001, Louisiana produced Marcus Spears, Andrew Whitworth, Michael Clayton and Marquise Hill.
Maybe 2016 will have its legendary list of players one day.
“It’s really top-heavy,” said Shea Dixon, recruiting reporter at 247Sports. “Everyone is a top-250 player.”
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv .