Tigers might have to branch out to sign tackle in 2014
Fittingly, there were clouds over Baton Rouge on Wednesday afternoon following West Monroe offensive tackle Cameron Robinson’s commitment to Alabama over LSU.
Losing the nation’s top offensive tackle prospect to its top recruiting rival is going to sting the Tigers unless they can get Robinson to flip to LSU sometime between now and the start of the national signing period on Feb. 5.
Barring that unlikely event, where does LSU go from here?
The Tigers have two offensive linemen among their 14 commitments so far for 2014: University High’s Garrett Brumfield (6-foot-4, 285 pounds) and Brother Martin’s Will Clapp (6-4, 270), son of former LSU defensive lineman Tommy Clapp.
Problem is, Brumfield and Clapp are both guards. If LSU wants to make an offensive tackle part of its 2014 class, it will likely have to look to a junior college or outside the state.
A potential target, according to 24/7 Sports, is Damien Mama, a massive 6-4, 370-pound prospect from Bellflower (Calif.) Saint John Bosco.
Mama is also a guard but has the size to play outside. He reportedly has USC in the lead, but he also liked Alabama. Now that Robinson has become the Crimson Tide’s sixth offensive line commitment, the Tigers could possibly take Bama’s place in Mama’s mix.
Another possible target for LSU, according to 24/7, is Brian Wallace (6-5, 283), a true offensive tackle from St. Louis Christian Brothers in Missouri.
Wallace has also been considering Alabama along with Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State, but could cool on the Crimson Tide now that Robinson has made his pledge. LSU has shown some interest but there has been no scholarship offer as of yet, meaning the Tigers would be coming from behind.
An interesting possibility is Dominick Jackson (6-7, 304) out of San Mateo, Calif. Jackson switched his commitment from UCLA to Alabama in June, but 24/7 Sports speculates that Jackson be looking for a better chance at playing time now that Robinson has made his choice
Despite Robinson’s decision to go out of state, Louisiana remains full of highly ranked prospects who are considering the Tigers.
Topping the list is St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette (6-1, 226), ranked as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect by ESPN and Scout and a must-have for LSU’s recruiting haul.
“It makes Leonard Fournette an even more important recruit,” ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton said of the Robinson commitment.
Eight of ESPN’s top 50 prospects are from Louisiana. Two of them — Lake Charles Barbe wide receiver Trey Quinn (6-1, 200) and Bossier City Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris (6-2, 186) — committed to the Tigers.
Aside from Fournette, the other top Louisiana recruits in play include Edna Karr’s Speedy Noil (6-0, 176), the nation’s top athlete prospect; Monroe Neville’s Laurence “Hootie” Jones (6-2, 208), the No. 2 safety; John Curtis wide receiver Malachi Dupre (6-3, 187), the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver; and Karr defensive tackle Gerald Willis (6-3, 275), the No. 3 defensive end.
“LSU’s only true competitor for players in (Louisiana) is Alabama,” ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill said. “Those remaining uncommitted players in Louisiana will dictate who ends up with the No. 1-ranked overall class in February.
“It’s going to be LSU or it’s going to be Alabama.”