LSU got its big man.
Badara Traore, the No. 1-ranked junior-college offensive tackle, gave his verbal pledge to the Tigers on Thursday night, a significant recruiting victory for a team that may have several holes to fill on the offensive line next season.
Traore, 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds, is expected to enroll in January after signing a letter of intent later in December. He has two years of eligibility remaining. The Massachusetts native committed in a post on Twitter after coach Ed Orgeron visited his school, New York's ASA College, on Thursday evening.
Orgeron spoke throughout the season about signing junior-college linemen to help with attrition issues. The Tigers lost five offensive linemen last offseason, for instance. Traore is expected to contribute early at tackle, filling in for several potential openings.
Left tackle KJ Malone is a senior, and center Will Clapp and right tackle Toby Weathersby are draft-eligible juniors. LSU played half of this season with a true freshman at right guard, Ed Ingram, and at left tackle, Saahdiq Charles.
No school pays its coordinators as much as LSU.
After the loss to Alabama, Orgeron spoke glowingly of an offensive line that fought through growing pains but that could still use help from a player like Traore.
"I'm proud of Saahdiq. I'm proud of Ed Ingram. I'm proud of the older guys," Orgeron said. "That puts less pressure on us of finding a junior college guy that has to start. Now if we can get a junior-college guy that's better than them, he could start, and we are looking for junior-college linemen that could help us. But we've got five guys returning that have started football games."
Traore, an unranked player originally from Hyde Park, Massachusetts, soared up junior-college recruiting rankings over the past two seasons. He fielded offers this year from most of the major college programs in the country, choosing the Tigers over Texas and Auburn.
His pledge — it can be finalized with a signing in two weeks — puts the Tigers' class at No. 12 in 247Sports' composite rankings. He's the 19th commitment of the class and the second junior-college lineman. Damien Lewis, a guard out of Mississippi, committed last month.