LSU picked up some momentum on the recruiting trail on Friday evening when four-star edge rusher Jaxon Howard chose the Tigers over a group of finalists that included Miami, Michigan and Minnesota live on CBS Sports HQ.
As the top-rated commit in LSU's 2023 recruiting class, Howard provides an immediate boost in the recruiting rankings for a Tigers class that started the day at No. 48 in the country and No. 8 in the SEC.
As a prospect, Howard ranks No. 96 overall in the 247Sports Composite and checks in as the No. 11 edge rusher in the 2023 class. The Minneapolis native also ranks as the top prospect in the state, giving Brian Kelly a notable recruiting win against the likes of Michigan and Minnesota in the Big Ten footprint. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Howard is a multi-sport athlete who also plays baseball and participates on the track team throwing the shot put and discus. 247Sports' recruiting analyst Allen Trieu writes that Howard "has an ideal frame" for the defensive line and "looks physically ready to compete early in his career." More from his scouting report:
Has been recruited as both a tight end and defensive lineman and has played both positions at the high school level. As his body continues to grow and develop, we are leaning more towards defense in college. He has an ideal frame for that position. He has filled in and looks physically ready to compete early in his career. He shows some twitch and ability to get off the ball on defense and pursues hard. On offense, he is a good route runner and can make a little happen after the catch also. As it stands, we believe he is a Power Five prospect at either position, but he may be more of a rarer specimen on defense. We believe he can be a combo inside-outside player on the defensive line.
Even the short time that Brian Kelly has been LSU's head coach should let us know that this is just the beginning of the Tigers continuing to improve the quantity and quality of their 2023 recruiting class. The transition from Ed Orgeron from Kelly included a significant amount of turnover on the roster, but the LSU staff closed strong on the trail and worked the transfer portal to finish the 2022 cycle ranked No. 12 in the country and No. 3 in the SEC.