2021 CRUNCH TIME: WHY LSU HAD TO LEVERAGE 2021 FOR 2020
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By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
It's coming down to the wire for the 2021 class as the calendar turns to December and many colossal recruits still linger on the board.
First of all, the number of big time, uncommitted names has grown exponentially over the past few days, with prime Orgeron target Terrence Lewis, the "#1 LB of the 2021 class" decommitting from Tennessee and another we've been calling since April, the decommitment of Armoni Goodwin from Auburn.
However, LSU weren't immune from the rash of decommitments: one of the earliest commits to the class and hardest loyalists, IMG DT Anthony Hundley, has decided to "keep his options open", becoming now the third '21 Tiger to decommit after safety Dakota Mitchell and Texas DE Landyn Watson.
Is this a ploy to create more room for Smith by ousting a potential Miami homer in a stacked / crowded LSU class?
If so, saying goodbye to a talent of Hundley's making is incredibly bold....
Truth be told though, LSU were running out of spots to accommodate the mandatory giants in the trenches for Orgeron's Tigers:
DE Korey Foreman, OT Tristan Leigh, DT Maason Smith while camelot local receiving talent Brian Thomas (potentially signing on in the footsteps of Terrace Marshall) could also join as a statement of LSU's future offensive intent.
While a few of Coach Orgeron's biggest priorities are available, the decommitments of Lewis & Goodwin are tantalizing...although there remains only 4 slots left, with slight potential for a 5th...just enough for Foreman, Smith, Leigh and Thomas....
This weekend, Korey Foreman is actually heading to watch the LSU vs Alabama game, joined by his cohort Maason Smith no doubt, and Coach O will be lighting a fire under his defensive line to make a statement. They'll try to impress the #1 overall prospect while burying Alabama's Mac Jones.
Remember, Foreman and Smith don't mind the losing season, they're paying attention to the defensive line and the culture of LSU football within Death Valley's Saturday night lights.
Korey Foreman and Tristan Leigh have actually announced their commitment dates: both will be declaring their future school on January 2nd....
Obviously LSU won't be playing January football, however if the Tigers could grab Foreman, Smith and Leigh, they'd have a solidified #1 overall class and a future brighter than many of their counterparts....one which could send the defending National Champions straight back into CFP contention for 2021.
Ed Orgeron knew the stakes coming into this recruiting year....then, once the pandemic struck, LSU found its groove, flying ahead of the curve. Alabama regained its footing with some key offensive line commits, grabbing the #1 cornerback in the nation, Koolaid McKinstry, and claimed to have pushed hard for Sage Ryan.
Still, LSU have maintained a top class throughout, chock full of grade A versatility, hunger, overwhelming talent, thunderstruck athleticism and all-encompassing football IQ, 4 stars who will be 5 stars everywhere you look....led by the best quarterback of the 2021 class, Garrett Nussmeier: made of Burrow DNA.
Getting the 2021 class right is more important to the future stability of Coach Orgeron's program than the 2020 season...
LSU fans, do you want to know yet another crucial reason for the 2020 Tigers' struggles?
Due to the 2019 juggernaut unit's juniors taking off for the NFL, LSU's coaching staff were given an unspoken choice....
Coach Orgeron, ever the recruiting genius, could forecast the bottomless talent and big time character of the 2021 class, and looked at the rest of his 2020 squad, weighing his options...
Do we sacrifice every second of available time to this season lost at sea, some guys who aren't as committed, some guys who don't care, some guys who will be our future superstars, others who are already???
Or do we put 90% of our eggs in the 2021 basket, knowing the bulk of these top players can contribute immediately???
LSU's coaching staff loved the depth of their pre-opt-out 2020 squad....they believed in their players and prepared for this current season just as they did 2019....until the pandemic repeatedly shut them down and one opt out or transfer followed after another...
Because of these circumstances, the Tigers coaching staff switched gears, viewing it all as a dual season since, in actuality, the season didn't even count towards players' eligibility...
Would history really destroy Orgeron's LSU for this ragged, wildly inconsistent, historically erratic 2020 campaign?
Perhaps James Cregg has put in more time and effort securing top O-Line talent over fortifying this year's extremely young and raw group??
Or, while so many are harshly questioning Cregg's abilities, maybe the Super Bowl-winner knew the true level of his 2020 group and realized, with a pandemic grounding games left and right during 2020's farcical season, the best route was securing the next wave to bolster the Tigers' 2019-2020 freshmen?
5 star talented Guards such as Kardell Thomas, Marlon Martinez or Anthony Bradford would be unleashed next to bookend tackles Leigh and Dellinger.
Spending much of the spring winning the commitment of Clarkston High's Garrett Dellinger, Cregg is far from finished as he's been eyeing Tristan Leigh, the crown jewel for this 2021 class.
Frankly, without Tristan Leigh, this class could be considered a failure....we should have every advantage in earning the big man from Fairfax's signature, offering a ready-made path to the field, an education from a Super Bowl / Joe Moore Award-winning developer, while Baton Rouge seems to be a place his family has felt comfortable with so far.
......but other than Leigh, the D-line transcending Foreman & Smith, are there other moves which must be made?
Are there bigger needs LSU is neglecting?
Brian Thomas is without a doubt a must for the Tigers, showing an absolute dominant range of playmaking skills for Walker High, BT is poised to choose between A&M, LSU and Bama.
We know how desperate the need is for offensive linemen, but we do have options for an additional running back to Corey Kiner, a guy like Ke'Travion Hargrove is out there (decommitted from Louisiana Tech on July 14th) as well as Auburn decommit Armoni Goodwin.
The recent slate of decommits provides an increasing amount of intrigue as this 2021 class reaches the 4th quarter....the process is nearly concluded, the choices are almost ready to be made.... what will happen?
My only miss this year was Caleb Williams, a cat we tried to will on to our roster using our own strategies...these madcap social media techniques at least moved the official meter closer to LSU....we called Dellinger, Ryan, Jackson, Hilton, Gee, Brown, Penn, the list goes on...but calling Tristan Leigh, Maason Smith, Korey Foreman and Brian Thomas "LSU locks" doesn't make it so....as close to painfully certain as we feel, LSU's staff and fanbase need to stay energized, aggressive, involved and most of all.....POSITIVE.
LEIGH: LSU 100%
LSU 90% / CLEMSON 10%
SMITH: LSU 100%
THOMAS: LSU 65% / BAMA 35%
BLACK LIVES MATTER
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2020 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
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