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Best class ever? LSU, Tide have a shot

By JC Shurburtt | 247Sports

If LSU can finish like it wants during the 2014 cycle, the Tigers will have signed the best class on paper in the modern recruiting era.

Florida's 2010 class totaled 321.8 points and is the best-ever class numerically according to the 247Sports team rankings.

The number of high-level prospects in the state of Louisiana this cycle, plus the LSU staff working a fair number of highly-regarded out-of-state prospects has created a potential perfect storm for the Tigers to top that number.

Here is the ideal finish to this cycle for Les Miles and company according to those familiar with the recruiting efforts of the Bayou Bengals.

Leonard Fournette, RB, New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine
Adoree' Jackson, CB/ATH, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Tony Brown, CB, Beaumont (Texas) Ozen
Speedy Noil, WR, New Orleans (La.) Edna Carr
Malachi Dupre, WR, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis
Gerald Willis, DT, New Orleans (La.) Edna Carr
Clifton Garrett, LB, Plainfield (Ill.)
Laurence "Hootie" Jones, S, Monroe (La.) Neville
D'haquille Williams, WR, East Mississippi Junior College (must flip from Auburn)
Travonte Valentine, DT, Miami (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic (must flip from Miami) or Garrald McDowell, DT, Covington (La.)
Kenny Young, LB, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis or Darrel Williams, ATH, Marrero (La.) John Ehret (must flip from Arizona State) or Russell Gage, ATH, Baton Rouge (La.) Redemptorist

According to the LSU 247Sports Class Calculator (where you can plug in potential commits and get the class score using various scenarios), this finish would give the Tigers 320-322 points (any combination of the or prospects), which would put them in position, considering the changes that will occur in individual prospect rankings between now and January, to have the best-ever class.

Fournette, Jackson, Brown, Dupre, Willis, Garrett, Jones and Williams all rate as five-stars in some form in the various recruiting industry rankings.

The biggest challenges here, based on current information, with this scenario for LSU would be landing Jackson and Jones (Alabama is a strong player) and flipping D'haquille Williams, a Louisiana native, from the other Tigers in the SEC West. Valentine also is a Florida prospect committed to the Canes, who are putting together an excellent class and have a big need at defensive tackle (early playing time) this cycle. But even without those in the class, the score is still more than 300 and depending on what other programs do, it could rank as the No. 1 class this cycle, giving the Tigers the recruiting championship.

The Crimson Tide, which has signed the No. 1 overall class the last three recruiting cycles, doesn't have the huge upside that the Tigers do based on the Alabama Class Calculator and the various scenarios, but as we've all learned there will be some surprises and if Alabama can land Jones and then steal Fournette, the Tide will finish No. 1 and depending on which other prospects round out the Alabama class, could be in a position to have the best-ever.

Jones is shaping up to be an important recruit. An early-enrollee, his destination will long be decided prior to national signing day (Feb. 5). If he heads to Tuscaloosa, that puts the Crimson Tide in better position to finish No. 1. If it's Baton Rouge, then the potential “best-ever” class becomes more of a possibility for LSU. Currently, 247Sports Crystal Ball predicts the Tigers at 54 percent, but Alabama has had momentum in recent weeks.

LSU has 15 verbal commits in the 2014 cycle and the No. 13 class nationally. Alabama has 21 commits and is ranked No. 1.

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