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LSU 2024 ESD RECAP: WHY THIS STRONG, LOUISIANA-ROOTED CLASS IS OVERLOOKED

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By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

FOLLOW ON X @LonnPhillips


On 2023 Early Signing Day, LSU signed 27 of their 27 commitments, including a host of top Louisiana prospects supplemented by out-of-state standouts (led by class QB Colin Hurley), featuring yet another epic O-line haul from Brad Davis, some much needed help at LB, and headlined by 8 of Louisiana's top 10 talents.

Among the rankings, national perspectives, and even some poor pisstakes by local star-chasing "experts", LSU's Louisiana-rooted 2024 class is being harshly overlooked for a lack of 5 star prospects, or an aesthetically pleasing top 5 ranking.

Instead, many of these fans blatantly miss the main point of why I believe this class should create something special at LSU......17 of LSU's 27 signees reside within the state of Louisiana, an obvious geographical target for Frank Wilson, Will Redmond, JR Belton, Sherman Wilson and the entire recruiting team (only 14 Louisiana signees from both the 2020 & 2021 classes combined).

Once again the number 14 appears, as 14 of Wednesday's newly minted signees will be early enrollees for the Tigers, as well. Head Coach Brian Kelly gave his stamp of approval regarding his newest class, noting the palpable in-state identity:

“When we talk about recruiting and where our focus is, our focus is on the state of Louisiana,” Brian Kelly said of the class. “Our focus is on freshmen and it’s on a well-rounded student-athlete that recognizes the value of an LSU degree and wants to play for championships. That will be reflected in this class.”

For so long, we heard Tiger fans moan and groan about the inability to lock up the state of Louisiana, watching other elite programs poach one top Boot talent after another.

But in 2024, building upon a trend which has continued since Brian Kelly took over LSU's program, the Tigers' staff secured almost every top in-state prospect, from Kolaj Cobbins to Gabriel Reliford, Dashawn McBryde to Trey'Dez Green, Ahmad Breaux to Ju'Juan Johnson, making sure they sign as many difference-makers as possible:


CORNERBACK

Ju'juan Johnson


These past 2 seasons, LSU were in trouble concerning depth & playmaking at the cornerback spot, forced to dip into the portal each off-season; 2024 may supply a changing of the guard in respects to corner:

Against the odds, Robert Steeples, with assists from Frank & Sherman Wilson, still signed super-athlete and 5 star caliber CB Ju'juan Johnson, while sealing other in-state dawgs Bernard Causey, Wallace Foster & PJ Woodland, a power trio that may be under-appreciated as far as rankings or big name pedigree, but as far as I'm concerned, these three tick all the boxes in the potential & desire departments.


SAFETY

Dashawn McBryde

Following three straight seasons leaving much to be desired from the safety spot (regarding on field performance, plus recruiting), position coach Kerry Cooks sealed two fiercely coveted Louisiana safeties, showstopper Dashawn McBryde (the nation's #2 ranked safety) as well as major SEC target & "take no prisoners" badass Joel Rogers.

McBryde was unstoppable as a senior, recording 51 tackles, 9 PBUs, 9 INTs and scoring 3 defensive touchdowns; A 4 sport superstar, Rogers mostly played quarterback at West Feliciana, totaling 1,600+ yards and 22 TDs as a junior.


WIDE RECEIVER / TE

Trey'Dez Green

At WR, Cortez Hankton reeled in a few electric players possessing multi-faceted skill sets:

The searing pace & after catch vision of Jelani Watkins, Michael Turner's combination of next level speed, brutal route-running & superb hands, and Kylan Billiot's all-around impressive game, all three clocking around 10 second 100 meter dashes & each recognized as top receiving talents in their own right;

However, hybrid TE Trey'Dez Green is without a doubt the most exciting pass-catcher of the class......if Green wasn't good enough to be a 5 star, then no one is...

Trey'Dez Green holds an opportunity to become a generational player at LSU....standing 6'6, weighing 225 lbs while hauling in 26 TDs & just under 2,000 yards over his junior & senior seasons, Green already is a generational talent.


O-LINE

Ory Williams

Once again, OL Coach Brad Davis stacked greatness along his offensive trench....potential plug & play freshman Weston Davis, overlooked & underrated 3 star Ethan Calloway, athletically dominant Ory Williams, alongside the physically intimidating & intense presence of Khayree Lee; Plus, Davis added another stout 4 star, Coen Echols, to the Tigers' O-line pipeline.

This is the 3rd straight recruiting cycle where Brad Davis was utterly dominant in recruiting exciting prospects; Even better, over his 3 seasons at LSU, Davis continues to develop and maximize his players into Joe Moore Award / All-SEC / All-American-recognized ballers.


D-LINE

Gabe Reliford

While LSU fans demanded more regarding their defensive line, if each 2024 DL signee delivers, alongside the securing of another future signature this upcoming February from Dominick McKinley, then the Tigers will have done just enough to stay afloat, depth-wise.

Louisiana-native Gabe Reliford is the most complete D-line signing (100+ tackles and 25+ TFLs across 3 straight seasons, plus 30 sacks over that time), Demyrion Johnson is a solid, if slightly underrated pickup, Ahmad Breaux is a potential game-wrecker floating under the radar, possessing the exact characteristics we're missing from LSU's current D-line (also coached by former Tiger DL legend Kyle Williams), Georgia-located sack man CJ Jackson adds nastiness and a violent brand of football to the class; jack LB / edge rusher Kolaj Cobbins provides further versatile athleticism for LSU's pass rush thanks to his freaky measurables and turbulent motor.


RUNNING BACK

Caden Durham

Running back was a quiet position within the class, taking a back seat priority-wise due to the Tigers' depth at the spot during 2023...

Still, Frank Wilson signed a singular specimen as his class back:

Duncanville's Caden Durham, fresh off an incredible 2023 season, delivered 300+ yards in one playoff game, racking up 200+ yards in 3 of his final 4 high school appearances. Over 14 games, Durham rushed for 100+ yards on 8 occasions, leading Duncanville to a 13-1 record & state title game victory.

Durham capped it off with 21 rushing scores, 1,848 yards on the ground, ultimately averaging an even 10 yards per carry (285 yards receiving, 1 receiving score from 13 catches).


LINEBACKER

Davhon Keys

Over the past few seasons for LSU, linebacker was a position of immense worry and draining depth, yet since Brian Kelly was hired, the Tigers are ruthlessly recruiting the position like never before:

The 2022 cycle brought along 5 star superstar Harold Perkins, 2023 welcomed the rise of Whit Weeks, although 2024 features 3 possible freshmen prodigies inside the LB room:

Davhon Keys is a transcendental defender, likely capable of starting at safety as he is at linebacker, showcasing elite coverage that is as strong as his tackling or backfield disruption, the Texas renegade racked up 169 total tackles, 23.5 TFLs, 5 sacks, 3 FFs, 3 INTs (including a pick six), simultaneously scoring 16 offensive TDs as a running back. Following a jack-of-all-trades blueprint, not unlike Harold Perkins, Keys is definitely a freshman who should be ready for game time in year one.

Highly prized Many LB Tylen Singleton was thought to be out of reach for LSU, but somehow the Tigers made it happen with Singleton during a visit where all the puzzle pieces fell together for the young linebacker.

Posting 75+ tackles across three straight seasons for Many High, winning a state title in 2022, Singleton is another powerhouse who might be ready sooner than predicted.

Then finally, the crushing & charismatic Deebo Atkins racked up over 200 tackles during his seismic 2022 junior campaign at Jonesboro, before heading to Texas and proving he could dominate in both states, recording over 100 tackles and 18 TFLs.


SPECIAL TEAMS

Aeron Burrell

Deepening special teams options, Bossier City's Aeron Burrell is one of the most promising local kickers LSU have signed in recent memory, equipped with heavy artillery inside his kicking leg.

Rated 1st overall nationally by Geaux247 & 2nd by On3, Burrell appears to be blessed with all the potential to become another in a long line of great kickers at LSU (York, Jasper, Tracy, Alleman, Delahoussaye, etc), burying a 55 yard field goal as a high schooler, notching 51 touchbacks & hitting 12/14 field goals for Parkway High, even deputizing at punter.


QUARTERBACK


Colin Hurley w/ QBs Coach Joe Sloan

But of course, it all begins at the feet of class QB Colin Hurley, a physically dynamic precision passer who can call upon his mature leadership, magnetic presence, and boundless skillset to become a Grade A signal caller.

Tossing over 5,000 passing yards at Trinity Christian, leading the school to a state title as a freshman starter.

In 2023, as he stood out in the Elite 11 competition, Hurley threw for 1,707 yards and 22 scores this past fall.

Still much too young at the age of 16 to be starting for the Tigers, Kelly and QBs Coach / interim offensive coordinator Joe Sloan will likely red shirt Hurley his first season (Hurley will barely be 17 at that point), although the experience he could gain from the sidelines may be of significant value when Hurley grabs hold of the starting job down the line.

CONCLUSION

Did LSU sign 5 or 6 high profile 5 stars???

No, but what's intriguing to me is how a few players were downgraded from 5 star status immediately upon committing to LSU (Ju'Juan Johnson, Weston Davis to name a couple, just as Will Campbell, Walker Howard, Harold Perkins, and Javien Toviano experienced previously).

With that context, the class is easier to be excited about even on a surface level, plus the fact that LSU just signed a class of 27 kids who want to be Tigers, 27 kids who all accomplished brilliant individual high school careers while finding a way to win selflessly and collectively....these 27 kids want to wear the purple & gold regardless of which coaches remain on staff.

Plus, the Tigers' recruiting staff pulled off a number of key flips, keeping Louisiana talents such as Johnson, Reliford, Cryer etc home.

Overall, due to their character, collective or individual skills, competition level faced, will to win, desire to improve, and love for the purple & gold, I could actually foresee this nucleus of 2024 in-state prospects aligning alongside key 2022 veterans & 2023 young guns to deliver the next National Championship to LSU.

By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

FOLLOW ON X @LonnPhillips

©️ 2023 Uninterrupted Writings



361 views3 comments

댓글 3개


BayouTigerGal
BayouTigerGal
2023년 12월 27일

LSU has so much talent coming in this class. I can’t wait to see them on the field. Geaux Tigers!!

좋아요

What a versatile and competent group. Bring in a few more for the D Line, and we are ready to go.,

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Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Lonn Phillips Sullivan
2023년 12월 24일
답글 상대:

Yes this list doesn't include JUCO signing Shone Washington, a great DT

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