"Make or break" is perhaps the most fitting idiom to describe the LSU Tigers' upcoming national signing day.
Make the rounds among the LSU fanbase and one finds a shared concern felt by all, which seems to be the other SEC schools' recruiting success in Louisiana.
More pessimistic than optimistic, the fact that LSU landed the No. 1 rated high school player (Leonard Fournette), No. 1-rated linebacker (Clifton Garrett) and second-rated safety (Jamal Adams), per 247 Sports' composition score, makes LSU's fanbase look somewhat avaricious. It's like the losses of Gerald Willis, Speedy Noil, Cameron Sims and Cameron Robinson trump those signature commits to some fans.
It certainly didn't help that two of those losses transpired on national television on Jan. 2.
No doubt LSU needs to do a better job of landing in-state products, but that doesn't mean it has to secure 5-star out-of-state commits Adoree' Jackson and Lorenzo Carter to make up for it. One of those players alone could help generate momentum for this recruiting class, while other recruits of need (defensive tackle and wide receiver) could help make or break the class.
Due to need and necessity of attracting local standouts, here are the five recruits that can make LSU's 2014 a success. If LSU swings and misses on these recruits, the class, despite its impressive ranking, will be an underachieving one.
Spoiler alert—this list involves the athletes I've been writing about for about a month now. However, the ranking puts a perspective on the importance of each target.
All recruit star rankings and info courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
Trey Quinn has drastically been overlooked in LSU's recruiting class.
When top LSU recruits roll off tongues, Quinn's name is usually mentioned fifth or sixth. Imagine that. A high school prospect who broke Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham's record in national receiving yards in a prep career is an afterthought.
That says a lot about LSU's talent in this class. Still, replacing Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham will be easier said than done, which means the Tigers need another big-time wide receiver recruit to commit. Emphasize the word big when describing 6'6", 220-pound Frank Iheanacho.
As I mentioned earlier this month, despite committing to Texas A&M, Frank Iheanacho is interested in playing wide receiver for the Tigers. He committed to the Aggies when he thought LSU was recruiting him to play tight end.
With DeSean Smith in last year's class and Jacory Washington in the 2014 recruiting class, the Tigers want Iheanacho to play at wide out. Will he flip to the Tigers? That remains to be seen, but if he does, he and Quinn could push for some serious playing time as true freshmen.
If you want to call Jan. 2 a failure, you could certainly call Feb. 5 a success if Lorenzo Carter drops a bombshell.
Georgia is the odds-on favorite for landing Carter, but for LSU's sake, perhaps the Tigers can continue that voodoo magic of recruiting stellar prospects from out of state.
The Georgia native is a 5-star defensive end with the athleticism that's attracted the best of the best in college football.
That shouldn't come as a surprise when you watch tape of Carter's first step off the ball. Combine that with size and speed and he could be the next breakout defensive end in the SEC.
If Carter chooses LSU, defensive end could be the deepest position on the Tigers roster. With three starters returning (Jordan Allen, Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter), the addition of Carter would allow LSU to rotate men in without missing a beat.
As influential as Iheanacho could be in the Tigers' passing attack next season, he's not the biggest flip LSU could land.
No sir, that spot is reserved for Breeland Speaks, who is a 4-star Ole Miss commit.
For the obvious reasons of Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson's departures, Speaks' signature would offer an uplifting status for LSU's defensive line in 2014.
Christian LaCouture was the most productive backup last season, providing 11 tackles off the bench. Quentin Thomas added nine and Lewis Neal recorded seven. It should go without saying—the Tigers are in need of a breakout at the position.
With Speaks' 6'3", 270-pound size, he could transition nicely to defensive tackle, giving LSU a quick, mobile defensive lineman off the bench.
It's getting a little warm in here.
Following Travonte Valentine's decommitment from Miami, the Tigers and Hurricanes have engaged in a race to the finish line for this 4-star defensive tackle.
According to 247's crystal ball, LSU is winning that meet by a large margin. With 78 percent of the prediction poll leaning toward LSU, it would be a surprise if LSU does not land the prospect.
As noted on a previous slide, defensive tackle is a strong need for LSU, so his commitment to the university is self-explanatory.
If Valentine recommits to Miami before national signing day and Speaks does not flip, this could serve as the "break" on Feb. 5. I'm talking Bane-shattering-Batman's-back-type break.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Hello, (continuously tapping the microphone) is this thing on?
I feel like a preacher preaching the same message every Sunday. Still, it seems the closer we get to national signing day the more Malachi Dupre's stock rises.
Breakaway speed, the ability to snatch the ball out of the air and the size to go over defenders to make a catch—there's not much Dupre can't do.
With the greatest tandem in school history no longer available, the Tigers will need inexperienced players to mature and produce quickly. With such openings at wide receiver, there's no reason to believe Dupre wouldn't start as a true freshman alongside Travin Dural and perhaps fellow commit Trey Quinn.
Missing out on top Louisiana recruits has rubbed LSU fans the wrong way, but landing Louisiana's top receiving prospect (no offense, Speedy Noil), could heal all wounds with an exclamation point on signing day.