LSU has a recruiting class with class.

No, it doesn’t have everything.

In sports, there is no such thing as having every box checked, every base covered, every shot with every club in the bag. So LSU's latest signing class, finalized Wednesday, doesn’t have every coveted blue-chipper arranged in a neat little stack. If you were at lunch Wednesday and saw someone staring vacantly into his or her plate of risotto, it was probably over the news that Amite defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher chose Alabama over LSU.


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Sopsher’s forthcoming expatriate status is a blow to the Tigers, in terms of physical stature and program image.

But no recruiting class is made or broken by one player. And this is a class that can make LSU football stronger. It definitely has fewer holes than LSU’s 2018 class, which was initially glaringly short at quarterback before Ed Orgeron lured Joe Burrow from Ohio State.

“We only lost one player we went after and offered a scholarship to,” Orgeron said Wednesday, referring to Sopsher.

As for the other player Alabama signed out of Louisiana, University High linebacker Christian Harris, there will be those who bemoan another top-five in-state player being siphoned off by the dastardly Crimson Tide.

While Harris is a fine player and LSU did show some initial interest, he was never a high priority for the Tigers in this recruiting cycle.

LSU swept up the other eight players in 247Sports.com’s Louisiana top 10 in a particularly fertile year for the perennially talent-rich state. A list that includes Dunham School cornerback Derek Stingley (Rivals.com’s No. 1 player nationally), Destrehan running back John Emery, Southern Lab guard Kardell Thomas, Kentwood receiver Trey Palmer, Southern Lab running back Tyrion Davis, John Ehret linebacker Donte Starks and on Wednesday, Ruston tackle Ray Parker and Amite receiver Devonta Lee.

Their signatures, along with out-of-state stars like Flower Mound, Texas, linebacker Marcel Brooks; Memphis, Tennessee, cornerback Maurice Hampto;n and Phenix City, Alabama, quarterback Peter Parrish; give LSU a class that fills most (if not all) of its needs.

It is a class ranked No. 5 nationally by 247Sports — albeit fourth in Southeastern Conference (amazingly) behind Bama, Georgia and Texas A&M.

Three teams from the SEC West in the top five? If there was a clear sign the SEC’s divisions need to realign, this could be it.

Rivals, by comparison, has LSU No. 3 behind Georgia and Alabama, tied with Oklahoma for the most five-star players signed this cycle with four. The Tigers ranked No. 7 according to ESPN.

There was another clear sign that this class didn’t have holes. When Sopsher didn’t bite, LSU moved quickly to offer its 25th scholarship to Desmond Little, a three-star defensive end from outside Mobile, Alabama.

While Little’s signing doesn’t have the heft of a Sopsher, who knows? The three-star prospect who eagerly snaps up an 11th-hour offer may eventually prove more productive than the four- or five-star the powerhouse programs fawned over for years.

While attracting top-rated talent is key, recruiting rankings aren’t everything. LSU’s class ranks well ahead of No. 10 Clemson, for example, which has won two of the past three CFP national championships and will likely open as preseason No. 1 this year.

You want a class that helps you contend for titles, and LSU has that in this one.

ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Van Haaren was duly impressed.

“(Orgeron) and his staff have stability in recruiting,” VanHaaren said. “They didn’t land Ishmael Sopsher, but they have eight ESPN 300 players from Louisiana.

“I think this class represents and outstanding job for them.”

Their emphasis on stocking up on linemen remained strong. After LSU signed 11 offensive and defensive linemen in last year's, the Tigers brought in nine more this year, ranging well beyond Louisiana’s borders to land four-star talents like Salt Lake City defensive tackle Siaki Ika and guard Anthony Bradford from Michigan.

“There’s a lot of great respect out of state,” Orgeron said. “LSU is a national brand.”

He vowed LSU will continue to target more high-level out-of-state national prospects in the next recruiting cycle. The Tigers already have a pledge from Santa Ana (California) Mater Dei’s Elias Ricks, a top-10 five-star prospect and the top-rated cornerback for 2020.

This has been a crucial 12 months for the LSU football program, which reclaimed a healthy measure of national respect with a No. 6 final ranking after its first New Year’s Six bowl appearance and victory over Central Florida in the Fiesta. The Tigers will almost certainly be a consensus preseason top-10 choice this fall, and a trendy dark horse pick for their first CFP semifinal berth.

This class will help LSU in pursuit of that goal.

Now the work begins on the next class to push the Tigers even higher.


Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​