Sometimes it's really easy to tell what's missing from a program's roster.
For instance, take a look at LSU's losses heading into 2013, and the abundance of commitments along the defensive line makes sense. Consider the dearth of experience at linebacker this year, and you immediately understand why LSU signed six linebackers in its 2012 recruiting class.
It becomes a bit trickier to project if you look into the future, however. What positions will LSU be lacking when the Tigers line up for the 2014 season? Early departures for the NFL, transfers and injuries all play a role. The best bet is an educated guess, but with that you can begin to glean the Tigers' tendencies in recruiting for the coming year.
Positions of need for 2014:
Eric Reid is almost assuredly a goner after this season, and even if he opts to return for his senior season, he's guaranteed to depart after 2014. Same goes for fellow starter Craig Loston, who will graduate after the 2014 season. The Tigers are bringing in a lot of defensive back talent in this 2013 class, but not much of it translates to the safety spot. ESPN 300 athlete John Diarse (Monroe, La./Neville) could play safety, but wide receiver looks like the destination for him. Luckily, LSU has already gotten a jump on this spot.
ATH Devin Voorhies (Woodville, Miss./Wilkinson County): Voorhies is already on board as part of the 2014 recruiting class, and he doesn't seem like a candidate to waver, as he lives just an hour up the road. The ESPN Watch List member stars at quarterback, receiver and safety for Wilkinson County, but safety seems like the safe bet for the college level.
S Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville): Jones mainly plays cornerback for the Tigers, who are three wins away from a repeat state championship. Having seen him play, it seems much more logical to see the 6-foot-2 monster take a step back into the safety spot. Jones has an absurdly long stride like former corner Patrick Peterson, which allows him to blanket receivers. Another ESPN Watch List member, the junior promises to be one of the state's top prospects next year.
S Brandon Simmons (Arlington, Texas/Timberview): He's the safety among the trio of uncommitted Texas defensive backs the Tigers are pursuing. Simmons is almost always talked about in the same breath as teammate Ed Paris (Arlington, Texas/Timberview) and Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen). All three are talented, there's no doubt. But the roster seems flush with corners, whereas safety should be a priority going forward.
It makes sense not to add a tailback to this incoming LSU class. The Tigers are stacked with blue-chip talent -- five guys who are capable of starting anywhere, to be exact. Even if one of their three juniors leaves early for the pros -- Spencer Ware seems the safest bet -- that would leave an incoming freshman stuck behind the likes of Alfred Blue, Michael Ford, Kenny Hilliard and Jeremy Hill in 2013. But Blue, Ford and Ware are all guaranteed to be gone by the end of next season, which means some depth will be needed for the youngsters. Of course, anyone who follows LSU recruiting should know which name comes next:
RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine): Perhaps the most talented player in Louisiana for 2014, and also perhaps LSU's top priority for 2014. There are no shortage of other suitors for the 6-foot-1, 232-pound tailback, who coincidentally already wears purple and gold for St. Augustine. I'll have plenty more to say about Fournette after I get to watch him play state title contender Edna Karr in the Class 4A quarterfinals this weekend. Having seen him once already this season, though, there's no doubt Fournette fits the archetype of the LSU power run game to a T.