Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Running back tops LSU 2014 needs
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's a bit of a gamble.
LSU took no running backs in its 2013 signing class and enters 2014 with only four scholarship running backs on its roster. Given a good season by sophomore Jeremy Hill -- who will be three years out of high school by season's end and, thus, draft eligible -- LSU might lose two more at season's end (Alfred Blue is a senior).
It would have made sense to prop up the numbers this year by taking a running back. The goal is to leave a void and use it to entice 2014 star Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine), the top running back to come out of the state in years. If LSU lands Fournette, the gamble pays off. If not, well, the Tigers better find somebody to fill the void.
Running back headlines the list of needs LSU will be looking to address in the 2014 recruiting cycle. Here are LSU's biggest areas of need:
Leonard Fournette is Louisiana's top skill position player in 2014, and will be LSU's top target.
1. Running back: Perhaps LSU wanted to pave a clear path for Fournette by not bringing in any 2013 backs to compete with him.
But even if the Tigers do get the state's best skill position prize, he'll need company.
The Tigers are likely to take at least two running backs, maybe three or four, particularly if one can play fullback, where the Tigers will lose senior J.C. Copeland after next season.
2. Defensive back: The only safety commitment LSU got in 2013 was Jeremy Cutrer (Kentwood, La./Jewel Sumner) and he did not sign because of academic issues. The Tigers will move at least one of their four cornerback commitments to safety to fill the need, but it will likely want to add at least one true safety in this class.
ESPN Watch List member Laurence "Hootie" Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) would be a great fit in that regard. Athlete Devin Voorhies (Woodville, Miss./Wilkinson County), who is already committed, could also play safety.
LSU will also look to add high-end cornerback talent. The Tigers will go hard after elite talent Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen).
3. Wide receiver: LSU replenished the position this season but with two seniors set to finish their careers and with juniors Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. looking at possible draft years, the Tigers will again be looking to replenish its stock.
LSU could take as many as four receivers and the Tigers are in luck because Louisiana has its deepest receiving class in recent memory with four Watch List members, led by 6-foot-4 deep threat Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis) and the prolific Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe).
4. Offensive line: LSU will lose senior guard Josh Williford and there's a good chance La'el Collins ends up being a draft pick after his junior season.
Four offensive linemen in this class would be ideal and LSU already has one ESPN Watch List commit in Will Clapp (New Orleans/Brother Martin). Look for the Tigers to go hard after two more in-state Watch List prospects, Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La.) and Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University).
Others: Look for LSU to target a quarterback after taking two in 2013. The Tigers already have a commitment from tight end Jacory Washington (Westlake, La./Westlake). LSU had a big defensive line class in 2013, but it could had as many as four in 2014. LSU might also take a true fullback or a kicker, depending on how comfortable the coaching staff is with players in the walk-on program or, in the case of fullback, players from other positions that may fill the role.