The final SI99 rankings for the 2021 class were released on Friday afternoon and five new faces on the LSU roster made an appearance after stellar 2020 season.
The group was headlined by defensive lineman Maason Smith, who shot up the SI99 rankings from No. 36 to No. 18 after a stellar senior season at Terrebonne High School. Smith committed and signed with LSU back in December during the Early Signing Period and is one of nine early enrollees who arrived to Baton Rouge ahead of the spring semester.
Smith has really dedicated himself to his body over the last year, losing weight while becoming a quicker and stronger player who will compete for snaps as a freshman.
"I've seen him grow up into a man," Orgeron said of Smith. "I think he's gonna be a dominant football player and a team captain for our football program. He's always on the phone recruiting, talking to other guys, has a great personality and excited about him."
Safety Sage Ryan also shot up the SI99 rankings to No. 82 after initially being listed at No. 90 overall. While Ryan didn't get to play in his state championship game with Lafayette Christian, he comes to LSU a proven winner and an electric athlete.
Ryan won his third state title as one of the premier players for his team as well as the state over his high school career.
Safety Derrick Davis and running back Armoni Goodwin also remained a part of the SI99 rankings but there wasn't much movement to either one of their rankings. Davis was one of three safeties, including Ryan and Matthew Langlois who signed on with the program while Goodwin was one of the last signings of the class but figures to be a prolific piece for years to come.
But the biggest riser of the SI99 rankings was running back Corey Kiner, who made his first appearance on the list at No. 87 after previously being unranked. Kiner capped off a prolific high school career at Roger Bacon High School in Ohio, rushed for 7,130 yards and 125 total touchdowns while also being named Ohio's "Mr. Football."
“Being named Mr. Football means the world to me,” Kiner said. “I am very honored to win this award not only for myself, but for my school. My father told me that I would do great things in high school football but I would never thought that it would amount to this.”
During his illustrious high school career, Kiner rushed for 200+ yards 18 times and 300+ yards on four additional occasions. Kiner will join Goodwin, John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price to form an electric backfield for the Tigers in 2021.