LSU is on the verge of potentially signing the deepest class in the modern era of college football recruiting.
Capitalizing on a deep pool of in-state talent, Les Miles’ Tigers sit atop the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings with national signing day only a couple of days away. Nineteen of LSU’s 23 commitments are ESPN 300 honorees, which ties Alabama’s 2014 class for the most ever -- and the Tigers are not done yet.
As LSU pushes toward Wednesday’s recruiting finish line, here is the 11th-hour checklist that Miles and his staff are addressing as they attempt to sign the nation’s top class:
Finish strong with remaining targets: Decisions by several remaining uncommitted prospects could ramp up the excitement level within LSU’s football offices on Wednesday.
For starters, the Tigers will sign a ridiculous collection of cornerback talent if all goes according to plan on Wednesday.
LSU already has No. 31 overall prospect Saivion Smith on campus as an early enrollee. The Tigers are still in the running for Kristian Fulton, the No. 27 overall prospect on the ESPN 300 and the top uncommitted prospect in Louisiana (No. 3), as well as Floridian Trayvon Mullen, the No. 18 overall prospect. If LSU lands all three, it will have signed three of ESPN’s top four cornerback prospects for 2016.
Mullen -- who lists LSU, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville and TCU as his final schools -- is the first of 13 prospects scheduled to announce their decisions live on ESPNU on Wednesday. Mullen will announce his decision at 9 a.m. ET. Another LSU target, No. 1 safety Deontay Anderson (Ole Miss, LSU, Texas) will announce his decision on ESPNU at 10 a.m.
Expected to sign 26 or 27 players in this class, LSU might use other remaining slots to bolster the line of scrimmage. ESPN 300 offensive tackles Jauan Williams and Scott Lashley -- who visited LSU over the weekend -- are potential targets, as is outside linebacker Sci Martin.
Martin committed to TCU in December, but LSU continues to pursue the three-star prospect from New Orleans. Miles staffers believe his 6-foot-4 size, speed and athleticism would make him an ideal edge rusher in new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s scheme.
Hold off rivals’ last-second pitches: Landing a verbal commitment is only one step in signing a prospect. Keeping him committed is another issue altogether -- and every staff deals with concerns that some prospects might change their minds at the last minute.
LSU does not appear to have many concerns in that area this week, although outside linebacker Erick Fowler is one player to keep an eye on between now and Wednesday.
A potential instant-impact player at outside linebacker, the longtime LSU commit has received considerable attention from Charlie Strong and Texas lately. He took an official visit with the hometown Longhorns two weekends ago and got an in-home visit from Strong on Saturday. Stay tuned on this one.
Sign a quarterback: After weeks of uncertainty, LSU finally addressed its need at quarterback with Lindsey Scott Jr.’s commitment over the weekend.
The Tigers pursued a number of options after longtime commitment Feleipe Franks flipped to Florida late in the process and then early enrolled in January. They finally settled on homegrown prospect Scott -- he starred at nearby Zachary High School -- within the final weeks of recruiting.
ESPN lists the 5-11 Scott as a three-star prospect and the No. 41 dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 class. He will join Brandon Harris, Anthony Jennings, Purdue transfer Danny Etling and redshirt freshman Justin McMillan as competitors at what has been LSU’s most frustrating position for much of Miles’ 11-year tenure.
Clean up in-state: LSU has already accomplished this goal, but it can add some extra icing to the king cake on Wednesday.
Louisiana produces top prospects annually, but the key to LSU’s 2016 class is that this is an especially strong year for in-state recruiting ... and Miles’ staff has cleaned up among the top players.
Louisiana produced a whopping 21 ESPN 300 prospects this year and LSU already has commitments from 13 of them. Further, the Tigers have commitments from six of ESPN’s top 10 prospects in the state, with two -- Fulton and fellow cornerback Shyheim Carter -- still on the board.
Finally, LSU already has commitments from four of the state’s eight top-100 prospects -- No. 12 Rashard Lawrence, No. 16 Willie Allen, No. 51 Michael Divinity and No. 74 Edwin Alexander -- and Fulton could potentially make five.
Louisiana is always Miles’ stated top recruiting priority, but this was an especially important year to dominate within the state’s borders. LSU has done exactly that.