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How recruiting can help LSU improve its defensive line

LSU’s biggest need in its 2016 recruiting class is not an immediate need, but the Tigers need to address it immediately. Here is how Les Miles’ staff is restocking its depth chart on the defensive line:

Biggest need: The good news for LSU is that any defensive lineman who joins the Tigers in this class will complement the returning veterans instead of having to carry a heavy load immediately. Starting defensive tackles Christian LaCouture and Davon Godchaux are returning, as are the main three ends, Lewis Neal, Arden Key and Tashawn Bower.

The problem is that Key is the only member of that group guaranteed to return in 2017. LaCouture, Neal and Bower will all be seniors and Godchaux will be a draft-eligible junior. That means whoever signs with LSU will have a chance to contribute this season -- the Tigers did not have ideal depth along the line, after all, and new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s scheme might require different body types than the Tigers used in previous seasons -- while preparing to truly compete for a starting job in 2017.

Don't be surprised to see defensive line coach Ed Orgeron use several of the newcomers this fall so that they have some on-field experience prior to next year. The Tigers' edge rush needs more explosive contributors, and veteran reserves Greg Gilmore and Frank Herron need battle-tested competition for 2017.

This is a great year for defensive line talent in Louisiana, so the Tigers’ need up front arrives at an opportune time for in-state recruiting. -- David Ching

Recruiting scoop: The Tigers were certainly looking to add depth and impact players to their defensive front and have done just that through recruiting. Four of the Tigers’ five defensive line commits are ranked in the ESPN 300 and the other is a four-star prospect. The group is led by 6-foot-3, 320-pound tackle Edwin Alexander, who is the seventh-ranked defensive tackle in the country. Alexander will be joined by four-star Glen Logan on the interior of the defensive line. Defensive end Rahssan Thornton is the eighth-ranked defensive end in the country and was a standout during the Under Armour All-America practices as was LSU’s other defensive end commit Andre Anthony. Caleb Roddy might not be in the ESPN 300, but at 6-4, 255 pounds, the four-star defensive end already has the size to contribute early.

The Tigers probably aren’t done either. Five-star defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence has LSU at the top of his list along with Ohio State and will make his decision on Jan. 22. The Tigers look to be in a good position for Lawrence and could have an unbelievable defensive line class when all is said and done this year. -- Derek Tyson