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Protect the Bayou

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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Not traditionally known as a state that produces a surplus of elite high school talent, Louisiana is home to two of the top offensive prospects in the class of 2014.

As recently referenced in an article on South Carolina’s ground game, the two biggest keys to becoming a legitimate national title contender in the SEC are defense and running the football, neither of which have been huge concerns for the LSU Tigers under the direction of Les Miles.

It is no coincidence that LSU’s most successful seasons under Miles have come when his teams finished the season ranked the highest in total defense and rushing offense.

And while the Tigers have been relative mainstays near the top of those respective rankings categories of late, the battle to keep pace in the SEC is at an all-time high. The pressure is particularly palpable in the SEC West, where Alabama and Texas A&M have asserted their dominance as the premier recruiting powers in the country.

Though LSU has risen to enjoy status as a national recruiting program, the Tigers, much like every other successful program, attempt to do as much damage as possible in their own backyard.

Special emphasis is likely to be placed on recruiting the Bayou State in the 2014 class, however, as the Tigers have been afforded with a tremendous opportunity to solidify their ground attack for the foreseeable future.

Not traditionally known as a state that produces a surplus of elite high school talent, Louisiana is home to two of the top offensive prospects in the class of 2014: running back Leonard Fournette and offensive tackle Cameron Robinson.

Both Fournette and Robinson are ranked as five-star prospects and the top players at their respective positions nationally by every major scouting service. Fournette is ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in the country by both ESPN and Scout.com.

According the Scout.com, the state of Louisiana did not produce a single five-star prospect in the class of 2013, and produced just one in the class of 2012: safety Landon Collins, who ultimately signed with Alabama.

As LSU hopes to keep pace as a perennial national title contender, taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity to land a pair of anchors for its ground game will be paramount.

The Tigers have already established themselves as one of the preeminent recruiting powers in all of college football, but having an opportunity to land multiple in-state prospects that are ranked as the top players in the country at their respective positions is something that does not come around frequently in Louisiana.

Georgia had a similar chance to take advantage of a surfeit of in-state talent in the class of 2013, but failed to keep many of the top prospects in the Peach State.

It is a mistake that LSU hopes not to replicate.

LSU will likely go on to tremendous success regardless of whether or not it lands Fournette and Robinson, but the Tigers’ chances of bringing home another national championship would increase exponentially if they can take care of business in their own backyard.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.