Saahdiq Charles, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive lineman living in Mississippi, sat behind a table facing a television camera and answering questions about his commitment to LSU.
Why did you choose them? When did you decide? How does this feel?
Charles answered those questions in a timely, polite manner. As the interview wound down with a local Mississippi TV reporter, Charles made a statement just before rising from his chair and leaving the room.
“Five in five,” he said.
Two and a half years ago, the Tigers couldn’t pull off what some media members predicted, failing to acquire five commitments from highly touted prospects during the Under Armour All-American Game.
There was no “5 for 5” that January 2014 day at Tropicana Field. Just two of those players – Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams – pledged to LSU.
This week, the Tigers got five in five – five commitments in a matter of five days, boosting what once was a small commitment class and moving the group into the top 5 nationally.
“A month or so ago, this looked like the smallest number of commits I’ve seen at this point,” said Mike Scarborough, publisher and recruiting analyst for the Rivals affiliate TigerBait.com. “Now they’re where you’d expect them to be.”
Where is that exactly? Ranked in the top 5 with 12 commitments ahead of what’s shaping up to be a busy summer camp schedule.
The Tigers are nearly halfway through the 2016 recruiting calendar and are about halfway to the typical signee mark of 25. They were at seven commitments just a week ago.
“These five in five days really helped them play catchup,” said Shea Dixon, recruiting reporter for Geaux247.com.
Charles’ Tuesday commitment was the last in this wild wave of pledges, joining Catholic High defensive end Austin Moffitt (Monday), Mississippi junior college receiver Stephen Guidry (Saturday), Georgia fullback Tory Carter (Saturday) and Texas offensive lineman Austin Deculus (last Friday).
The Tigers have at least one player committed at every position, aside from defensive back. The list includes one running back, one linebacker, one receiver, one fullback, one “athlete,” two defensive linemen, two quarterbacks and three offensive linemen.
The last two are the most important, agree Scarborough and Dixon.
“(Offensive line coach) Jeff Grimes having three offensive linemen already ... he’s never been in this position before this early,” Dixon said.
“You’ve got to like the three offensive linemen and two quarterbacks,” Scarborough added. “You really solidified the quarterback spot with those two, and it looks like they’re going to hold. There’s not going to be a Feleipe Franks non-sense with those two.”
Half of LSU’s commitments are from out of state prospects and five of the program’s top 10 remaining targets are out-of-staters, too – a not-so-surprising revelation given this year’s in-state talent pool. It’s not as strong and deep as it’s been the last two years, according to recruiting rankings.
LSU might sign more players non-Louisiana players than in-state talent – something the program’s done just three other times (2007, 2013, 2014) under coach Les Miles.
“If this class is to be measured, it’s going to be measured on how well they recruit out of state,” Scarborough said. “It’s got to be out-of-state heavy – not necessarily in numbers but quality.”
Linebacker Dylan Moses and Houston defensive tackle Marvin Wilson are at the top of the list among out-of-state targets. Moses, the top-ranked player in the nation and a former LSU commitment, transferred from Baton Rouge’s University High to Florida’s IMG Academy in January, but he’s listed as a non-Louisiana prospect.
Wilson, the No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation, is a hot commodity. He’s got offers from Florida State, Alabama, Texas and about a dozen more major conference schools. He can join current LSU commit and Lafayette native Tyler Shelvin, a pair of defensive tackles that would be the “envy of the country,” Scarborough said.
Meanwhile, last year’s drama-filled November and three-game losing skid seems long gone – washed out by waves of positivity this spring. Miles and director of football operations Dean Dingman helped keep all but one underclassman in school.
They hired a trio of young up-and-comers, too, in Dave Aranda, Jabbar Juluke and Dameyune Craig. The Tigers landed the nation’s third-ranked signing class in February and signed offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to a three-year deal.
Ed Orgeron, the Louisiana native and fiery Cajun, was named recruiting coordinator, and Miles re-hired Austin Thomas, influential in LSU’s recruiting evaluation and organization.
And, now, this – five commitments in five days to add to a class one national expert predicts will finish in the top five.
“I think this is a vintage old school LSU class because there’s so much physicality coming to Baton Rouge,” said Barton Simmons, national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.com. “It’s big bodies that’ll beat you up. It’s the brand of football Les Miles has played. It’s the way they’re recruiting.”
Ten Most Wanted
LSU heads into a busy summer camp schedule next week, and here are a few names the Tigers are hoping to add to its third-ranked commitment class.
National position rank
OLB Dylan Moses
OLB Bruce Jordan-Swilling
CB Tre Swilling
DT Marvin Wilson
S Todd Harris
S Grant Delpit
RB Cam Akers
Clinton Mississippi (Clinton)
WR Devonta Smith
DE Isaiah Buggs
Perkinston Mississippi (MGCCC)
OLB Chris Allen
List via 247Sports.com.
*Among junior college weakside defensive ends only
The Tigers could potentially sign the most out-of-state prospects under coach Les Miles.
Out of state commits
Out of state
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @RossDellenger.