BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU’s biggest uncommitted target of the day -- No. 4 overall prospect Marvin Wilson -- is still on the board, but Ed Orgeron’s staff has already restocked its defensive front seven with plentiful talent.
By announcing that he would sign with LSU on Wednesday afternoon, No. 34 overall prospect K’Lavon Chaisson became the eighth front-seven player to join the Tigers’ class. The group already includes three other ESPN 300 prospects -- defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin and linebackers Jacob Phillips and Tyler Taylor -- and could gain another massive difference-maker if defensive tackle Wilson joins the class at his live announcement at around 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Chaisson picked LSU over Texas and Florida, but said he eventually settled on LSU because of Orgeron's and defensive line coach Pete Jenkins’ reputations as talent developers.
“I chose Coach Jenkins, Coach O and they’ve also got guys from the past where they know what they’re doing,” Chaisson told Houston’s ABC 13 minutes after announcing his decision. “So I trust them with my career and I believe they know what they’re doing and they’ll take me to the next level.”
The Tigers’ staff might need to develop some of that talent early since LSU loses six contributors from the 2016 front seven: linebackers Kendell Beckwith, Duke Riley and Tashawn Bower and defensive linemen Davon Godchaux, Lewis Neal and Travonte Valentine.
That made linebacker, especially, an area of emphasis in this class.
“There’s a void there, so there’s an opportunity to come in and play right away,” LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said on ESPN.
While the Tigers missed out on linebacker targets like Dylan Moses, Chris Allen and Willie Gay, they managed to flip Phillips from Oklahoma and won battles for Taylor and outside linebacker Chaisson to instantly upgrade the talent at the position.
It might not go down as one of the day’s biggest national headlines, but another key win for Orgeron’s staff was landing a signature from defensive tackle Neil Farrell. Florida State and USC both provided late competition for the longtime LSU commitment -- and many recruiting analysts believed that Farrell would flip to FSU -- but LSU held on to Farrell, who could play tackle or end in Aranda’s 3-4 defense.
By landing the three linebackers and ESPN 300 safety Todd Harris at the last minute, LSU has already jumped to fifth in ESPN’s team rankings. Adding Wilson would further solidify what has already been a successful first signing day for Orgeron and his staff.