- David Helman, Reporter, RecruitingNation
There's still just enough up in the air to keep this thing interesting, but the skill components of LSU's 2013 recruiting class seem to have taken shape some time ago. There are always bound to be some twists and turns, but the Tigers seem set to bring in a healthy crop of talent in their offensive playmaking positions.
LSU got in and got out on the quarterback front this season. The Tigers nabbed two of the better prospects in the country before mid-summer and haven't looked back. Hanging on to at least one, if not both, has to be a priority -- because there aren't many other directions to go in should the Tigers suffer a bad surprise.
1. Hayden Rettig (Los Angeles/Cathedral): The 15th-best pocket-passer in this class and ranked No. 210 overall, Rettig is bouncing back from his 2011 ACL injury in style, as he's thrown for 1,300 yards with 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions so far this season. Rettig has a great relationship with LSU quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe, but distance will always be a concern for an SEC school trying to sign a West Coast player. His older brother, Chase, plays across the country for Boston College though, which bodes well for a long-distance decision. Rettig plans to take his official visit Nov. 3 for the Alabama game. This is a commitment few will feel safe with until a letter gets signed, but it's reasonable to feel optimistic at this point.
2. Anthony Jennings (Marietta, Ga./Marietta): LSU covered its bases on the signal-caller front, earning a June commitment from the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in Jennings. The dual-threat label is a bit misleading for Jennings, though. He earned a spot in the Elite 11 finals this past July as the top quarterback from the South regional. Jennings took an unofficial visit Sept. 8 for the Washington game, and he appears to have closed his recruitment.
LSU doesn't have an apparent need for a running back in this class, what with five high-caliber guys already on the roster and a loaded class coming in 2014. But things can change and there seems to be at least one target on the radar screen.
Adam Taylor (Katy, Texas/Katy): Taylor, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound prospect from East Texas, is a curious case. Reports indicated that he committed back in April, and Taylor still maintains he is an LSU commit. But that does not appear to be the case. With only three spots remaining in the class and the abundance of ball carriers already on campus, running back just isn't a priority. But crazier things have happened.
LSU was already doing pretty well for itself on the wide receiver front, and then one of the nation's top prospects threw his hat into the ring. It's a sore subject around Baton Rouge, but it can't be ignored: The wide receiver spot is especially interesting given the way LSU is struggling in its passing game. Starting with the big fish:
Ricky Seals-Jones (Sealy, Texas/Sealy): This is the first time LSU has been in the race for a receiver of this caliber since Rueben Randle in 2009, and we all know how that turned out. Seals-Jones checks in as the No. 10 player in the country and the best receiver in the class. His 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame is straight out of a video game's create-a-player feature. His knee injury from this past September has been well-documented, but Seals-Jones appears to be well on the road to recovery. He includes the Tigers in his final two along with Texas A&M after Texas stopped recruiting him in September. Seals-Jones hopes to take an official visit for the Alabama game. Given his proximity to College Station and the Tigers' woeful air attack, LSU would be wise to show him something.
And the commits:
1. Chuck Baker (Slidell, La./Salmen): One of the Tigers' first commits all the way back in February, Baker is the No. 25 receiver in the class and the No. 183 prospect in the country. Baker's skill set is a fun fit for the Tigers, as his 6-foot-2 height makes him a good downfield target. But he is also renowned for his blocking -- which is sure to be a plus for a run-happy team like LSU.
2. Quantavius Leslie (Hogansville, Ga./Hinds Community College): Leslie, at 6-foot-3, gives the Tigers the vertical threat they lost in Randle and don't currently have on the roster. He's also got a good shot to contribute right away as a junior college commit. Of course, no one in the area has stopped pursuing Leslie since his commitment in May. He just received an offer from Auburn this past weekend, and Ole Miss is just up the road from Hinds and pursuing his services.
3. Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Hargrave Military Academy): Johnson was supposed to be with the team by now, but academic issues sent him on the long route to Baton Rouge instead. He's not the first Tiger to spend time at Hargrave -- defensive tackle Ego Ferguson and former running back Keiland Williams played at the school. The plan is for Johnson to get his grades in order, and he'll join the roster as part of the 2012 class in time for spring football.
4. John Diarse (Monroe, La./Neville): Diarse is listed as an athlete -- the No. 19 athlete in the country, at that -- but it looks very likely he'll play receiver for LSU rather than safety. That's where the coaching staff would like to see him, barring new developments. He doesn't boast jaw-dropping size, but having watched him play, he's got exceptional hands and he just seems to make plays. Diarse plans to enroll early and be a part of spring practice.
There's still just enough up in the air to keep this thing interesting, but the skill components of LSU's 2013 recruiting class seem to have taken shape some time ago.