Updated: Nov 3
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By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Based on 2020 LSU's results on the field, there are many fans or analysts alike who feel LSU's 2019 season was a mirage...that Coach Orgeron's success has petered out, his trajectory has reached its apex already, even in terms of winning...
But when I really study what Coach Ed Orgeron is building at LSU, I see a startling evolution on offense, specifically at the quarterback position over the last two seasons (moving the position further ahead than the previous 30 years combined) and while the defense may be experiencing an absolute transitional low point right now, the future is exceedingly bright following the last two weekends.
Orgeron's program are still in the ascendancy on the recruiting trail, locking down big time local talent in an attempt to secure the program's future success, and by earning the commitment of top safety and versatile freak Sage Ryan out of Lafayette (committing away from the clutches of Nick Saban), remarkable hitting-machine Matthew Langlois, and the most productive receiver in Louisiana, Jack Bech committing on Sunday, LSU's 2021 CLASS are quickly becoming a juggernaut.
Each commitment was colossal for the Tigers, continuing a massive climb up the recruiting rankings overall, destroying the analysts' predictions and expectations over the past week:
"Alabama were more creative than LSU, more relentless in pursuing Sage Ryan," an unnamed Geaux247 rep said on Thursday during an appearance on Hester and Hanny.
DBU Chief Corey Raymond and Safeties Coach Bill Busch weren't having that....neither was Sage.
Ryan wanted LSU and in the face of much criticism, controversy and outrageous coverage, Sage chose the Tigers over Alabama....Happy Birthday Nick Saban.
Welcoming Ryan aboard wasn't about mere optics or "keeping up momentum", if a local talent such as the Lafayette safety left Louisiana to go frolicing with Nick Saban, perhaps Walker WR Brian Thomas Jr heads to Bama, too....maybe Smith & Foreman follow....
Instead, Orgeron's staff are blazing a trail straight back to the College Football Playoff, with the wilderness of 2020 providing enough trials and tribulations to fill ten seasons of 30 for 30 episodes, our staff are hungrier than ever to get back where they belong.
LSU needed the big recruiting wins, not only securing the class's most versatile player (Sage Ryan) but also successfully flipping Langlois from Kansas State or Jack Bech from Vanderbilt speaks volumes of their entrenched work ethic.
With so many 2020 freshmen performing at a high level, sophomores showing out here and there, while Derek Stingley, Myles Brennan and other leaders remain on board for 2021, LSU's 2020 nightmare could very well turn into a continuation of 2019's dynastic ambition.
The 2020 class saw an influx of high character players who wanted to rep LSU...
Now, the 2021 class is defined by championship aspirations and potential as well, featuring studs like Raesjon Davis, Naquan Brown, Landon Jackson, Garrett Nussmeier, Deion Smith, Zavier Carter, Corey Kiner, Greg Penn, Keanu Koht, Khari Gee, Nathaniel Wiggins, Anthony Hundley, Jo Jo Earle, Sage Ryan, Chris Hilton, Peyton Todd, Garrett Dellinger, Saivion Jones, all young Tigers who wanted to join LSU over many other offers, will be partnered up alongside Langlois and Bech, two wrecking ball lifelong Tiger fans, after this last week.
The 2020 freshmen and 2021 commits are forming an axis of authenticity and Tiger Love, fortified against the troubles of Covid, refusing to allow the pandemic to stop their class from meeting each other for Tiger Turnout...in fact, many of these young men chose LSU without visiting the facilities physically...
All they needed to see?
A virtual version of LSU HQ.
Still, LSU's coaching staff are far from finished with their work, in fact, with early signing day around the corner ...it's crunch time.
The biggest priority left on the table?
Chiefly the offensive line, which is why Fairfax, Virginia's OT bruiser Tristan Leigh and Texas all-world guard Savion Byrd have constantly remained LSU musts.
Leigh, his extremely promising younger brother Aidan, their mother Laura and the rest of the Leighs seem really impressed and enthusiastic about coming to Baton Rouge, to the point Leigh and Aidan returned a few times so Tristan's girlfriend could check out the engineering program on campus.
That should tell you everything about the Leighs' level of seriousness in attending Louisiana State University next year.
Highly coveted offensive guard Savion Byrd arrived for Tiger Turnout alongside QB Garrett Nussmeier, and we've also heard from another Texas Tiger, Landon Jackson saying "We're working on Savion".
If they're to join the 2021 class, Leigh and Byrd both have a major chance for extended playing time (or even a starting spot as freshmen) along James Cregg's Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line.
On the other side, Orgeron, Bill Johnson, Manny Michel, Keith Sanchez and Christian LaCoutoure aren't content with merely a few edge rushers (hybrid guys like Koht, Carter, Brown, while Pleasant Grove's Landon Jackson and St. James' Saivion Jones stand as arguably the two most productive of the class), their current and future blueprint relies on depth.
Additionally, Coach O isn't finished as long as Maason Smith's commitment still lingers.
The Terrebonne freight train DT is massively skillful within the interior, staying high on Coach O's radar since he could start playing football, Orgeron has made Smith a major priority. Not only will LSU finish short on the inside (IMG's Big Anthony Hundley on the chart as the Tigers only DT) if they struck out on Maason Smith AND #1 overall player Korey Foreman, it would be a massive loss for LSU and a major gain for a championship rival, much like Leigh, Ryan, Nussmeier, Earle, Jones, Raesjon...
Recruiting is a war of attrition in and of itself.
Maason & Korey's one other suitor keeping them from signing to LSU right now?
SEC rivals Georgia, although the pair haven't seen a Bulldogs game this season, they were in attendance for LSU's high quality defensive line showing vs Miss State.
If LSU miss on WR Brian Thomas or DB Derrick Davis, the arrivals of local lightning Jack Bech and Matthew Langlois will soften the blow...but here's the sacred genius within LSU's coaching / recruiting staff:
Langlois and Bech aren't insurance, they may actually prove to be better players than their "headline name" counterparts.
But on the D-line and offensive line, there are only a few choices which meet LSU's criteria:
LEIGH, BYRD, MAASON & KOREY...
Gaining the hard commits of 5 Star Sage Ryan and 5 Star-Level talent Jack Bech over 48 hours, following stunner Matthew Langlois's commitment the weekend prior, watching as QB Garrett Nussmeier plays, throws and acts like the next Joe Burrow, while Corey Kiner breaks records and Hilton, Smith and Earle make plays, LSU's current high octane recruiting is saving their blushes from three of the worst defeats in recent program memory...
However, if everything seems to be working against LSU in 2020, there's also a major chunk of genuine momentum, rampant positivity and big time excitement concerning the potential fireworks 2021 has to offer.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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