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Monday, January 7, 2013
Recruiting Week in Review: LSU

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- No LSU commit won MVP, nor scored a touchdown at the Under Armour All-American game.

Yet, it was a huge, huge game for LSU recruiting.

Kendell Beckwith
Kendell Beckwith's commitment this weekend was necessary good news for LSU.
LSU landed its two biggest commits in its 25-man 2013 class at the Under Armor game as defensive tackle Maquedius Bain, ranked No. 43 in the ESPN 150, committed Wednesday. Kendell Beckwtih, ranked No. 19 by ESPN, then committed during the first quarter of the game Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The context of their commitments is what makes their pledges so important for the Tigers.

LSU was coming off a Chik-fil-A Bowl loss to Clemson and was in the middle of a stretch where it lost eight underclassmen in four days to the NFL, starting Thursday when ESPN's Joe Schad reported junior defensive linemen Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo and Bennie Logan will all leave for the NFL. There have been rumblings that running back Michael Ford and safety Craig Loston might leave as well.

With the loss in the bowl game and the roster losses to attrition, it was huge for LSU's program to land a couple of highly-regarded players to break up the streak of bad news. Prior to their arrivals, the highest-ranked player in the class was cornerback Jeryl Brazil, who won the hands competition at the UA Game. LSU had plenty of participation in the UA Game with defensive tackle Greg Gilmore and offensive lineman Ethan Pocic joining Brazil and the two new commits in the game.

The UA Game also represented LSU's best hope for its immediate recruiting future. The top two targets remaining on LSU's wish list -- consensus No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive end, and defensive back Priest Willis -- also played in the game. And, after the departure of middle linebacker Kevin Minter to the NFL, the Tigers could try to work itself into the sweepstakes of Reuben Foster, the uncommitted linebacker who was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

LSU also had strong representation at the U.S. Army All-American game. Wide receiver John Diarse, tight end Desean Smith, offensive guard Josh Boutte and cornerback Tre'Davious White, all LSU commits, started for the West. LSU commit Hayden Rettig came off the bench for the West team and defensive end Frank Herron came off the bench for the East.

At the Semper Fi game, LSU commits Jeremy Cutrer and Christian LaCouture suited up.

The all-star weekend grabbed the recruiting headlines and left LSU in much better shape. The Tigers increased their haul of ESPN 150 recruits by 50 percent, up from four to six.