Big month pushes LSU up rankings

For a program that churns out talent at the rate of LSU, sitting at No. 13 in the first ESPN team football recruiting rankings for 2013 is probably a little low for most Tigers fans' tastes.

But it's a bit crazy to think back to where this ranking would stand a month ago. In April and the beginning of May, there was legitimate concern among LSU fans that the Tigers' recruiting efforts were going slowly. Much-needed quarterback prospects were slipping off the board, and most of the big names were staying mum on their decisions. In that time span, things have warmed up.

The Tigers have landed seven commitments since the beginning of May, a hot streak that has seen them add ESPN 150 offensive tackle Ethan Pocic, ESPN 300 quarterback Hayden Rettig and ESPN 300 defensive end Frank Herron, among others. The bevy of commitments have seen LSU address several of its big question marks for this class -- most notably defensive end and quarterback.

It's a good lesson to keep in mind: national signing day is still far off. With a huge summer camp looming in July, not to mention the festivities of official visits during the season and the inevitable surge of activity next January, a lot can change in a short amount of time. Last month the Tigers had nine commits; now, the class is starting to look a bit crowded with 16 members.

LSU has paid a surprising amount of attention to offense in the early going. Pocic and Rettig carry the day as the two biggest offensive stars, and they both come not only at positions of need but positions of importance -- quarterback and offensive tackle are two of the three most important positions in football, according to the adage.

Following that logic, the third important position is defensive end, and the Tigers are addressing that need as well with two so far in this class. Herron's status as a ESPN 300 member jumps out immediately, but he is joined by Winnfield, La., product Michael Patterson, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound three-star in his own right.

Given the type of all-world classes being assembled at places like Florida, Georgia and Alabama, it's easy to understand the middling No. 13 ranking in Baton Rouge -- for the time being. But a quick glance through the class shows that the Tigers are assembling much better talent than one would expect from the 13th team.

An eye-opening 10 of LSU's commitments to this point are rated as four-star prospects -- which is more than the Tigers picked up in their entire 2012 class. There is quality talent across the board -- be it the Tigers' five potential wide receiver commitments, highlighted by four-star receiver Chuck Baker and four-star athlete John Diarse, who could line up at either receiver or safety.

Even the Tigers' unrated prospects offer some intrigue. At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, junior college commitment Quantavius Leslie offers the possibility of a big, college-ready deep threat who could complement LSU's current batch of smaller receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. LSU's other junior college commitment, tight end Logan Stokes, is interesting in that he has just 58 career receiving yards to his name -- but the coaches are excited by the mismatch opportunities to be caused by a 6-foot-4, 240-pound target with sure hands.

With all of that in mind, No. 13 isn't where any LSU fan wants to see the Tigers end up. But considering how things have changed in just a month, it's a strong start.