The Tigers signed 24 players for the class of 2016 and focused heavily on the defensive side of the ball, specifically the defensive line. After receiving little from their front-seven signees the last two years, Miles and the Tigers made it a priority to load up in 2016. It also helped the state of Louisiana was loaded with big-time talent up front.
Of the 24 players signed, six were defensive linemen. Rashard Lawrence, a 6'3", 305-pound defensive tackle from Monroe, Louisiana, is the headliner.
Miles, speaking about his class, felt filling needs was more important than what recruiting services had the Tigers ranked, according to Jim Kleinpeter of the Times-Picayune.
"Whether it was No. 1 or No. 3—when I left the room it was No. 1—the key piece is that you answer needs, get the guys you need to fill the holes you need," Miles said. "You do so with great players."
And the Tigers signed several great players—on both sides of the football. LSU signed 10 players who were ranked in the top 10 of their respective position nationally.
With a terrific class on board and the return of offensive standouts Leonard Fournette, Brandon Harris, Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre, the Tigers are poised to make a run at the national championship in 2016.
Now, let's take a look at the LSU Tigers' 2016 recruiting class.
|LSU Tigers' 2016 Recruiting Class|
|Kristian Fulton||5-star||CB||2||Metairie, Louisiana|
|Rashard Lawrence||5-star||DT||5||Monroe, Louisiana|
|Saivion Smith||4-star||CB||5||Bradenton, Florida|
|Eric Monroe||4-star||S||3||Houston, Texas|
|Michael Divinity||4-star||OLB||5||Marrero, Louisiana|
|Edwin Alexander||4-star||DT||8||Hammond, Louisiana|
|Stephen Sullivan||4-star||WR||21||Donaldsonville, Louisiana|
|Drake Davis||4-star||WR||22||Bradenton, Florida|
|Devin White||4-star||RB||5||Springhill, Louisiana|
|Donavaughn Campbell||4-star||OG||6||Ponchatoula, Louisiana|
|Glen Logan||4-star||DT||17||Destrehan, Louisiana|
|Willie Allen||4-star||OT||16||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Dee Anderson||4-star||WR||37||DeSoto, Texas|
|Rahssan Thornton||4-star||WDE||13||Killeen, Texas|
|Andre Anthony||4-star||WDE||15||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Andraez Williams||4-star||CB||20||Shreveport, Louisiana|
|Jamal Pettigrew||4-star||TE||9||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Cameron Lewis||4-star||S||13||Monroe, Louisiana|
|Caleb Roddy||3-star||SDE||19||Denham Springs, Louisiana|
|Lindsey Scott||3-star||DUAL QB||25||Zachary, Louisiana|
|Jakori Savage||3-star||OT||90||Bay Minette, Alabama|
|Connor Culp||3-star||K||10||Phoenix, Arizona|
|Lloyd Cushenberry||3-star||OG||103||Geismar, Louisiana|
|Da'Monte Coxie||3-star||WR||92||Reserve, Louisiana|
|247Sports composite rankings|
The Tigers Own Louisiana
It's not exactly a surprise to see LSU dominate the recruiting scene inside the state of Louisiana. In fact, it's expected. Unfortunately, in recent seasons, schools like Alabama have came into the state and plucked some elite talent. Remember Landon Collins?
That didn't happen in 2016.
The Pelican State was loaded with top-flight talent in this recruiting cycle, and the Tigers took full advantage, signing nine of the state's top 10 players and 14 of the top 18. Each of those 14 players was at least a 4-star recruit.
Lawrence, 5-star cornerback Kristian Fulton and linebacker Michael Divinity were the top three players in the state and all could play big roles in next fall. Miles effusively praised Divinity today in his signing day press conference, per Kleinpeter:
Again, Michael Divinity, a 6'2", [218-pound outside linebacker], from Marrero, Louisiana, John Ehret High School; very violent and very fast, very capable, really going to be a guy that fits into this Okie defense and the opportunity for him to stand up and play very significant football as a true freshman.
Several other in-state players have a chance to be special, too. Offensive tackle Willie Allen—the No. 10 player in the state—has a bright future and has the size and athleticism to come in and help immediately. Miles recognizes Allen's ability, according to James Moran of the Tiger Rag:
James Moran @SmartestMoran
Les on Willie Allen: "We need to keep the best players in Louisiana home and he's certainly one of them." #LSU2016-2-3 22:15:05
Top Offensive Playmaker
Allen is certainly in the mix as he could win the starting right tackle job with a strong summer.
However, LSU's top offensive playmaker from this class will be wide receiver Stephen Sullivan.
An early enrollee, Sullivan has outrageous size (6'5", 230 lbs) and could figure prominently in the mix as LSU's No. 3 wide receiver in 2016.
While Dural and Dupre have good size, they aren't nearly as big as Sullivan. He could give a struggling offense a red-zone weapon the Tigers lacked last season. That, in turn, makes Harris a better quarterback.
While Sullivan has good speed, he often lulls defensive backs to sleep because of his size. Most defensive backs are surprised at Sullivan's speed, and he goes right by them. He is quicker than his size would indicate and can take a short screen to the house. He gets consistent separation at the line of scrimmage, but it won't be quite as easy in the SEC.
Not surprisingly, Sullivan has a wide catch radius and is a physical runner after the catch.
Sullivan isn't the strongest route-runner at this point in his development, but he won't need to be.
Top Defensive Playmaker
This could be Fulton or Lawrence. Both players will likely see the field in 2016. There are some veterans ahead of both players, but it shouldn't take long for the talented freshmen to move their way up the depth chart.
One player with a quicker path to playing time is Divinity.
The super athletic outside 'backer enrolled in January. Both LSU starting outside linebackers from a year ago are no longer on campus, clearing the way for Divinity to make an immediate impact.
This spring will be big for him.
Divinity is fast and plays with tremendous instincts. He can rush the passer or drop into coverage with ease. If he shows a good grasp of new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's defense, he will start.
The one knock on Divinity is he needs to add some weight. He has a lanky frame and that could get him into trouble as he meets some of the SEC's bigger offensive linemen in the hole.
Divinity will see the field this fall. Sullivan has a prime opportunity this spring to show coaches he deserves to be in the two-deep at receiver.
Smith is a player to watch. While Fulton gets most of the accolades, Smith is an accomplished cornerback himself. At 6'1", 175 pounds, Smith has good length. He will obviously need to spend some time in the weight room, but he has the opportunity this spring to get a head start on that.
Smith has tremendous physical gifts. He will blossom at LSU with good coaching. One area he must improve is willingness to take on contact. Miles already identifies him as a player who could make an immediate impact, per Kleinpeter:
Jim Kleinpeter @JimKleinpeter
#LSU coach Les Miles on early impact: PK Connor Culp, Saivion Smith, Kristian Fulton, Rashard Lawrence, Greeedy Williams.2016-2-3 22:32:59
White could see the field as a handcuff to Fournette. The Tigers do already have some talented backups on campus in Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams. So, despite enrolling early, it may be in White's best interest to take a redshirt in 2016.
Anderson is another intriguing receiver. At 6'5", 205 pounds, he could vie for the same spot Sullivan is aiming for in 2016: a red-zone threat with size.
Three-star quarterback Lindsey Scott was not LSU's first choice. Or second choice. Or even third choice. However, he could end up being one of the more surprising players in this class.
Fortunately for the Tigers, there's no need to rush Scott. Harris has two years of eligibility remaining and backup Anthony Jennings has one year left.
Scott led his high school to the state 5A title in December—an impressive feat.
The biggest knock on Scott is his height. At 5'11", 205 pounds, Scott isn't built like a prototypical quarterback. But stop if you've heard this before: Russell Wilson is 5'11", too.
Miles seemed pleased with the signing of Scott, per Kleinpeter:
We think he'll be a guy that can throw it, run it, and extend plays, and yet really give you a very bright leader on the field. I think many times there's the opportunity given to a bright, athletic, throw and run quarterback, a dual threat. I think that those guys have the opportunity to do things that are pretty special, and so we're going to look at Lindsey Scott and look at that. He looks pretty tall to me.
Scott has a strong arm and is a terrific athlete. Much like most quarterbacks of his stature, the biggest question will be can he throw from the pocket? The answer is yes, although Scott is even more comfortable throwing on the run.
All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.
Bryan Manning covers college football for the Bleacher Report and you can follow him on Twitter @bdmanning4.