The national recruiting experts rank classes based on the number of stars attached to a college prospect’s name.
Those rankings will show that LSU has another top 10 recruiting class – ranked either seventh or eighth nationally by the major ranking services, depending on where you look.
But for Ed Orgeron, once the 23 members of his first recruiting class as LSU’s head coach arrive on campus later this year, those stars evaporate.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re five-star, four-star, three-star, two-star,” Orgeron said Wednesday afternoon at his news conference to wrap up National Signing Day. “Everybody’s going to start the same. Everybody’s going to develop.”
Orgeron said the Tigers’ biggest point of emphasis was at linebacker.
“We went out with a specific need, to get middle linebackers,” Orgeron said. “We filled a need with three middle linebackers.
“We have to have guys who are going to come in and play early. Dave (Aranda)’s going to put them in football school in June.”
The Tigers closed well Wednesday, particularly on defense. They landed signatures from defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson of Houston’s North Shore High School, safety Todd Harris of Plaquemine and linebacker Tyler Taylor of Buford, Georgia.
“We worked very hard to close at the end and are very excited about our class,” Orgeron said. “We put our defense (depth chart, including incoming freshmen) on the board this afternoon. We feel we have an excellent foundation with this recruiting class.”
Chiasson, an Under Armour All-American and the No. 34 recruit nationally by ESPN.com, “reminds us a lot of Arden Key,” said Orgeron, who also called Chiasson “the best pass rusher in the country.”
It could have been an even bigger Wednesday haul, but at mid-afternoon, Houston Episcopal High defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, the nation’s fourth-ranked player by ESPN.com, chose Florida State over the Tigers and others.
Besides Harris, seven other members of the class hail from Louisiana – running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and defensive end Aaron Moffitt of Catholic High in Baton Rouge, cornerback Jontre Kirklin of Lutcher, wide receiver Racey McMath of Karr, St. James dual-threat quarterback Lowell Narcisse, linebacker Patrick Queen of Livonia and nose tackle Tyler Shelvin of Notre Dame.
However, LSU lost out on a pair of highly-rated in-state products to Alabama – Amite wide receiver Davonte Smith on Wednesday, and Neville defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis on Tuesday.
“We missed out on some guys,” Orgeron said. “(Louisiana) is always going to be our primary area. The more we win games, the more we win championships, that’s going to help.”
In announcing his commitment to the Tide Tuesday, Mathis offered some negative comments about LSU defensive line coach Pete Jenkins.
“We’re happy to have the guys we want,” Orgeron said. “Pete Jenkins is a great coach. That’s all I have to say about that.”
LSU had six signees enroll last month, including Narcisse. They will be able to go through spring practice.
Orgeron would have liked to had more early enrollees, but “it all depends on early graduating seniors,” he said. “This year we only had seven slots” to still be at the 85-scholarship limit this spring.
Narcisse is joined in the signing class by St. Stanislaus quarterback Myles Brennan, who is more of a pocket passer.
“Myles Brennan is one of the best players in the country,” said Orgeron.