T.J. Finley

Ponchatoula quarterback T.J. Finley throws a pass during the Green Wave's 2018 spring game against Belle Chasse.

LSU's 2019 recruiting class was all about how much the Tigers could lock down the major talent inside Louisiana.

The 2020 class will be mostly about who they can land outside the state.

Headlined by five-star cornerback Elias Ricks, a California native, the LSU coaching staff already has nine commitments for 2020, which gives them a No. 2 national ranking according to 247Sports.

"Next year is a great year for running backs around the country," Orgeron said Wednesday, and two five-star targets include the nation's No. 1 running back, Zachary Evans of North Shore High in Houston, and the No. 2 running back, Kendall Milton of Clovis, California.

Orgeron's recruitment of top linemen also ventures out of state. In this class, LSU signed guard Anthony Bradford out of Muskegon, Michigan. The top guard of 2020, Justin Rogers, is from Oak Park, Michigan.

LSU's out-of-state focus in the Class of 2020 is warranted.

There were six Louisiana players ranked within the top 120 recruits in 2019, according 247Sports' composite rankings, including Dunham cornerback Derek Stingley, the nation's No. 3 overall prospect.

In 2020, only one Louisiana player is within the top 120: Westgate High wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, the No. 66 overall recruit.


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Some of the nation's top talent is actually in the nation's capitol. Mekhail Sherman (the nation's No. 2 outside linebacker), Rakim Jarrett (No. 4 wide receiver), Greg Hudgins (No. 12 weakside defensive end) and Mordecai McDaniel (No. 82 wide receiver) all attend St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C.

Orgeron said the private catholic school is following the model of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida — a boarding school where LSU safety Grant Delpit and many others have attended.

"It's like one-stop shopping," Orgeron said. "There's so many players there. There's a lot of interest. We went there, like, three times to evaluate. I've only been there once. I sent (defensive coordinator) Dave Aranda there one time, and I sent (safeties coach) Bill Busch there another time. There's big interest there."

The 2020 class is also the first recruiting cycle in Orgeron's tenure that includes multiple commitments from elite quarterbacks like Georgia native Max Johnson (No. 5 pro-style) and Ponchatoula High's TJ Finley (No. 8 pro-style).

LSU went through last season with just two scholarship quarterbacks, Joe Burrow and Myles Brennan. The team signed Peter Parrish of Phenix City, Alabama, giving them three quarterbacks for next season.

If Orgeron is able to keep two quarterbacks like Johnson and Finley, it could change the course of LSU's rocky quarterback history.

"That offers stability," Orgeron said.

Of course, there are also the continued recruiting battles over big men with Alabama, which won out Wednesday in signing Amite defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher.

Dallas native Branard White, 2020's No. 5 defensive tackle, has offers from the Tigers and Tide, as does Alexandria's Jacobian Guillory, the nation's No. 11 defensive tackle.

LSU signed four defensive linemen in this class, and the Tigers already have a head start on two more for 2020 with commitments from in-state tackles Jaquelin Roy (University High, No. 15 DT) and CamRon Jackson (Haynesville High, No. 24 DT).


RANKING LSU'S CLASSES

2019

247 Sports: 5 (behind Texas A&M and ahead of Oklahoma)

ESPN: 7 (behind Oregon and ahead of Michigan)

Rivals: 3 (behind Alabama and ahead of Texas)

2020

247 Sports: 2 (behind Alabama and ahead of Miami)

ESPN: 2 (behind Alabama and ahead of Miami) 

Rivals: 2 (behind Alabama and ahead of Miami)