LSU's first go at early signing day while also preparing for the College Football Playoff is in the books.
So how did the Tigers fare?
There's a mixture of good and bad news. Advocate sports columnist Scott Rabalais breaks it all down for us.
• How many players did LSU sign? 19. Schools are allowed to sign 25 players per recruiting cycle.
• How does LSU’s class rank nationally? Rivals: No. 4; ESPN: No. 4; 247 Sports: No. 5.
• Trending now: LSU’s tilt toward national recruiting continues unabated. In 2018, 12 of the Tigers’ 22 signees were from Louisiana. In 2019, it was 10 of 24. Wednesday it was only five of 19. Ed Orgeron and his staff signed players from 10 states in all, filling a lot of needs but also resulting in some misses in players who in the end were unwilling to relocate.
• Top Tiger: Arik Gilbert is not only the No. 9-ranked player in this year’s class according to 24/7, but he is the recruiting service’s highest-ranked tight end prospect ever. Monday he was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, the first tight end to earn such an award.
• The sleeper: LSU can wind up with a top-four recruiting class, but the key to being in the College Football Playoff final four is having an elite quarterback to get you there. Max Johnson, son of former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Brad Johnson, could be that guy. At 6-5, 216, he’s roughly the same size as Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Soon we’ll see if Johnson, a January enrollee, can play like him.
Quarterbacks TJ Finley and Max Johnson signed with LSU on Wednesday, but they committed long before its ascension within college football. Everything that happened this fall existed for them as a reassuring bonus.
• Early enrollees: LSU has eight in all. They are quarterback T.J. Finley, junior college defensive lineman Ali Gaye, linebacker B.J. Ojulari, cornerback Elias Ricks, tight end Kole Taylor, safety Jordan Toles, Gilbert and Johnson. Finley, from Ponchatoula, took part in practice Wednesday after he signed with the Tigers.
• Work left to do: LSU currently has six spots to fill by the end of the second signing period in February. Running back Zachary Evans from Houston North Shore, one of the nation’s top uncommitted remaining prospects, may announce Jan. 2 at the Under Armour All-America Game. Orgeron said LSU will likely pursue another defensive linemen or two, a running back, and possibly a cornerback or safety.
• Did LSU get better? The Tigers best addressed areas of need at left tackle with Marcus Dumervil out of Florida and at edge rusher with outside linebacker Phillip Webb out of Georgia. LSU must still sign a running back, whether Evans or someone else.
• Signing day disappointment: Considering the huge numbers LSU’s new spread passing game put up this season you would think Orgeron’s staff would be fighting off wide receivers. Instead, the Tigers got jilted by two highly touted ones when Rakeem Jarrett decided to flip to Maryland and Jermaine Burton flipped to Clemson. LSU did sign Kayshon Boutte out of New Iberia Westgate, the state’s top overall prospect, and WR Koy Moore from Rummel, but the lack of receivers overall was puzzling.
• Coachspeak: "We all want to take care of Louisiana first. But these (national recruits) approached us. They’re great players. We couldn’t get everyone. We lost some. That’s going to happen. We feel we did a good job in state. If they don’t have that position in state, we have to go out and get them.” — Orgeron