One of the 2013 recruiting classes that doesn't get enough respect belongs to the LSU Tigers. Maybe it was the surprising group of guys that Ole Miss was able to put together, or the continued dominance of Alabama, but Les Miles and his staff did an impressive job in their own right.
The class includes a plethora of defensive talent that will help contribute in the first year, and playmakers on the offensive side that could actually produce a passing game in Baton Rouge.
Who would have ever thought that would actually happen?
Along with predicting an air attack for LSU that produces more than 200 yards a game, I see two players in this class that could be even better than defensive legends that recently suited up for this program. There is a lot to like with this 2013 class, which means it is time to throw all of the predictions out on the table before they begin their collegiate careers.
Here are the bold predictions for the 2013 LSU Tigers recruiting class.
If we are going to be honest for a minute, LSU doesn't exactly have the most talented group of wide receivers. Now some of this has to do with the subpar quarterback play, but looking at the depth chart, you just don't see many guys that are capable of taking over a game.
This is why John Diarse is going to receive immediate playing time and is one of the reasons he has enrolled early on campus. The 4-star recruit (Rivals) played a little bit of everything at the high school level, but should contribute immediately on the offensive side of the ball.
He isn't huge at 6'0", 205 pounds, but he plays much more physically than his size indicates, and he doesn't shy away from contact. Diarse isn't a flashy player, but he has the ability to go across the middle, has sure hands and just does everything the right way at the receiver position. His style of play is going to pan out well in Baton Rouge and allow him to be that physical player within the offense.
Diarse isn't going to appear on many highlight films, but his toughness will allow him to put up impressive numbers in his first season.
LSU was spoiled with having two pure pass-rushers coming off the edge in Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo on the same team. But while both of them are busy preparing for their future in the NFL, the Tigers will just add somebody like Kendell Beckwith into the mix.
The kid is going to be special once he gets coached up a bit and adds on a little more weight for the collegiate level. With so much athleticism and natural ability, Beckwith actually played defensive end and quarterback in high school.
As a defender, the 4-star recruit (Rivals) already does a nice job of using his hands and covers a lot of ground from sideline to sideline. It was actually his relentless pursuit that won me over in a play where he was able to chase down a running back and prevent a sure touchdown (second play of the highlight film).
Beckwith has incredible upside, and you figure he is only going to get better once he is taught a few things by this LSU coaching staff. I feel the best is yet to come at the defensive end and outside linebacker position for LSU.
This is what I'm talking about. LSU has brought in an elite pass-catching tight end in DeSean Smith, somebody who can actually provide a real receiving weapon for the quarterbacks for the first time since Brandon LaFell in 2009.
Smith is listed as one of the top tight ends of the 2013 recruiting class, but he played more of a massive wide receiver at the high school level. Often lining up off the offensive line, he would simply run his route and go up there and catch the football. At 6'4", 225 pounds, Smith still has to grow into his tight end frame, but the two things that already stand out are his speed and incredible leaping ability. This guy can jump with anybody and consistently win jump balls with defensive backs.
If Smith is ever going to be a true tight end, he must bulk up his upper body and improve his blocking ability. However, with the things he has shown as a receiver, I say line the kid up and let him go out there and catch the football.
Whatever Les Miles has planned for him, I see Smith being a huge part of this offense and becoming the go-to target for LSU quarterbacks sooner than later.
The Tigers have produced an insane amount of talented defensive backs over the years; guys like Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid, Morris Claiborne and of course, Patrick Peterson, Baton Rouge is the place you want to be if you are a player in the secondary.
Tre'Davious White has some big shoes to fill if he is going to join that company, but this is somebody who has the skill set to get the job done.
An athlete who played both sides of the ball in high school, including quarterback, White will likely stick to his routes at the cornerback position. This is somebody who can change direction quickly, is quick in and out of his breaks and has developed good ball skills from playing receiver.
Another thing that stands out with the 4-star recruit (Rivals) is his ability to get physical. At 5'10", 180 pounds, you wouldn't expect somebody his size to stick their nose in there in run support and jam guys at the line, but he plays much bigger than he is on the field.
White is actually Claiborne's cousin and when you throw in his ability to contribute on special teams, I see a few comparisons to Peterson being tossed around in a year or two.
Les Miles has only had one 3,000-yard passer since he has been with LSU. That was JaMarcus Russell during the 2006 season.
Whenever Hayden Rettig gets a chance to take over the offense, he will become the second to accomplish such a feat. A recruit that went under the radar for the most part, Rettig brings a lot of things to the table that Tigers fans should be excited about.
The first thing that stands out is his strong arm, as this kid can simply let it fly on the gridiron. Usually throwing a tight spiral, Rettig also displays a nice touch on the ball and doesn't just rely on pure arm strength to get the job done. He has the typical size that you would like to see from a pro-style quarterback at 6'3". He still needs to bulk up his upper body and add about 20 more pounds to his 190-pound frame, but things are looking good for him so far.
Once Zach Mettenberger graduates from the program, there will be an open quarterback competition. Rettig will then be able to put his name into the hat and become one of the few signal-callers that has had any success under the current coaching staff.