<
>
Insider

Tigers add defensive depth with Herron

6/1/2012

It was just a few days ago when I said LSU would be wise to turn its attention to the defensive side of the ball regarding its 2013 class. In recent weeks the Tigers have added a wide receiver, a quarterback and an offensive tackle, with not much development in the defensive hotspots.

That all changed Friday, when the Tigers picked up a commitment from four-star defensive end Frank Herron (Memphis/Central) at the Memphis NFTC. Herron gives LSU 14 commitments for 2013, and he is the Tigers' third four-star commitment in the last 10 days, behind quarterback Hayden Rettig and offensive tackle Ethan Pocic.

Even more exciting than that Herron is the third four-star recruit in the last two weeks to come from outside Louisiana. Sure, Memphis is much closer than Rettig's hometown of Los Angeles or Pocic's Lemont, Ill., but the exposure and notoriety of LSU's run to the BCS Championship Game seems like it's paying dividends on the national recruiting scene.

But the important issue here pertains to the team's future roster. The Tigers are now starting to add depth to the defensive line, which Les Miles listed as a priority for 2013 on national signing day. Along with defensive tackle Tevin Lawson and defensive end Mike Patterson, LSU now holds commitments from three defensive linemen -- and of course, coveted defensive end Tim Williams and defensive end/linebacker Kendell Beckwith are still out there.

Herron checks in as the No. 19 defensive end in the nation. At 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, he certainly has the look of the monstrous defensive ends that have come through LSU in recent seasons. Whether it's Williams, Beckwith or another prospect, I wouldn't expect this to be the last defensive lineman the Tigers add, either. With the way LSU likes to rotate its defensive linemen in platoons, the Tigers need as many bodies as possible along the front. Chancey Aghayere and Lavar Edwards will graduate after the 2012 season, and juniors Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo are near-locks to take their talents to the NFL draft.

Talented players like Jermauria Rasco and Justin Maclin remain behind them. But the Tigers added only one defensive end -- 6-5 prospect Danielle Hunter -- in 2012. Pickups like Herron are essential if LSU is to maintain its stacked rotation of defensive ends. After seeing how successfully the Tigers were able to stay fresh with Montgomery and Mingo splitting time with Edwards and Kendrick Adams, that depth is something Miles should want to maintain.

The addition of a big, talented end in Herron is the start of that process.