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Take Two: How realistic is a No. 1 recruiting finish for LSU?

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Elias Ricks
Elias Ricks

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Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the network of team sites or a regional analyst.


There has been so much discussion about Clemson’s recruiting class this cycle, and rightfully so, since the Tigers had landed five five-stars in a row and shot up to No. 1 in the team recruiting rankings.

But LSU has also done a phenomenal job so far with the 2020 class and there is definitely a path it can take to jump Clemson in the team rankings and take over the top position.

These Tigers from Baton Rouge have already landed three five-star commitments from Woodbridge, Va., linebacker Antoine Sampah, Washington (D.C.) St. John’s receiver Rakim Jarrett and Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei cornerback Elias Ricks.

That means LSU has not tapped the regional five-star market yet and with eight four-star pledges - only two of them are from in-state prospects - there is a lot of room left for the Tigers to load up in this class.

LSU has not led the SEC team recruiting rankings since 2004, a lot of that having to do with coach Nick Saban’s dominance at Alabama. But could this be the recruiting cycle that coach Ed Orgeron and his staff not only finish atop the conference rankings but also finish No. 1 overall?


“LSU has recruited at a far more national level than ever before to position itself among the top current team rankings, with commitments from seven different states and Washington D.C. And, as evidenced by Saturday’s addition of St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) lineman Marlon Martinez, the Tigers intend to maintain that coast-to-coast approach.

“Keeping most of Louisiana’s top remaining prospects, such as receiver Koy Moore, lineman Sedrick Van Pran, running back A’Shaad Johnson, defensive back Major Burns and defensive linemen Jaquelin Roy, Jacobian Guillory and Jalen Lee in the state will be critical the rest of the way.

The difference between No. 1 and Nos. 2, 3 or 4 could come down to which remaining two to five out-of-state prospects Orgeron and company can convince to round out that nationwide effort. For instance, can they sway Ohio State o-line commit Paris Johnson Jr. to leave the Buckeye State? Will the Tigers be able to add a top out-of-state running back target, such as a Zachary Evans, Bijan Robinson or Kendall Milton? What about another defensive playmaker or two in Demouy Kennedy, Lathan Ransom, Branard Wright, Xavion Alford, Darrion Henry or Keshawn Lawrence? If they do that, LSU could have a real chance.”


“LSU can make a run at No. 1 because they’re recruiting out-of-state. Normally, they don’t finish first because they’re recruiting regionally so much. They have California kids in there, Maryland kids, D.C. kids and they have kids from numerous states outside of their recruiting footprint that are interested in.

“When you’re getting five-stars from all over the place and four-stars from all over the place, that’s the way to put together a No. 1 class. Will they do it? I still think Clemson is going to have the No. 1 class. The only way they don’t is if Clemson doesn't reach 20 commits. If Clemson has 19 commitments and they can’t take any more and LSU takes 20-plus, then LSU would have the advantage. You can’t count Alabama, out but the quality in the classes right now goes Clemson, LSU and then Georgia when you’re talking about quality prospects committed.”