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LSU, Les Miles Steal the Spotlight on National Signing Day

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LSU, Les Miles Steal the Spotlight on National Signing Day
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
LSU head coach Les Miles

With several key targets uncommitted heading into national signing day, LSU was a program with a lot to either gain or lose as the 2014 recruiting cycle came to a close.

The Tigers closed strong, notching 5-star wide receiver Malachi Dupre from New Orleans' John Curtis Christian High School, along with 4-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine out of Hialeah, Fla.

In the process, head coach Les Miles stole the spotlight on national signing day, reeling in two of the biggest fish left in the recruiting pond.

At 6'2.5" and 187 pounds, Dupre has all of the makings to be a superstar with the Tigers. Playing primarily out of a veer offense at John Curtis, Dupre has fantastic leaping ability and great hands. Once he gets into a college strength and conditioning program, he can be a versatile wide receiver who's dangerous deep and reliable over the middle.

Not only does Dupre have the skills to be a star, but he also has the opportunity to be one right away in Red Stick.

Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. combined to catch 136 passes for 2,345 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, becoming the first duo in program history to top the 1,000-yard receiving mark in the same season. They both opted for the NFL a year early, which opens the door for new wide receivers to develop with a new quarterback in this Cam Cameron-led offense.

Dupre's commitment was huge for LSU, which lost several in-state stars to other programs, including offensive lineman Cameron Robinson and safety Hootie Jones to Alabama and athlete Speedy Noil to Texas A&M.

The farther away you get from the ball at the snap, the better chance you have to make an immediate impact. Dupre will make one for the Tigers.

Valentine, a 6'3", 338-pound defensive tackle, chose the Tigers over Miami. He's the next in line at LSU, which is rapidly becoming "defensive tackle U."

Glenn Dorsey and Bennie Logan were two of several top-tier big men who have filtered through Baton Rouge over the last few years, and now that Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson have moved on to the NFL early, there's immediate playing time to be had for Valentine—who is big enough to be a force right off the bat.

The best programs in America have defensive lines that are not only talented and athletic, but deep enough to rotate eight or nine players in throughout games, allowing those big bodies to be fresh in the fourth quarter. 

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Even if Valentine doesn't start right away, he will provide that depth, which is incredibly important for championship programs.

The Tigers leaped all the way to the No. 2 spot in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings, just behind SEC West rival Alabama, which took home the recruiting national championship.

The late surge is in addition to the signing of No. 2 overall player Leonard Fournette, a 6'1", 226-pound running back who has drawn comparisons to former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson. He too will have an instant impact, after Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue left the program.

LSU had the most to gain or lose on national signing day, and the Mad Hatter and the Tigers stole the spotlight with a strong close to the 2014 recruiting season. 

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.com and all college statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com.

 

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