Even with the LSU football program’s long history of sending cornerbacks to the NFL, finding big-time cornerbacks is not as easy as it might seem. Here’s a look at the current LSU cornerback commitments, as well as a key prospect to keep an eye on moving forward.
If you have not noticed, LSU has this ‘thing’ about sending cornerbacks to the NFL. Yes, many of them were so talented almost any program could have helped them reach the NFL.
Still, LSU just always focuses on cornerback play and coaches it at a high level. Does not seem to matter which coaching staff or scheme is in place, there’s likely a cornerback on the LSU depth chart about to be drafted. With that in mind, the Tigers need at least one more cornerback for the class of 2022 after securing the commitments of two cornerbacks already.
The Cornerback Commitments
Latterance Welch, 6’1”, 180-pounds, Lafayette (La.) Acadiana
247 rankings: 186th nationally; No. 24 cornerback
Rivals rankings: 94th nationally; No. 14 cornerback
JaDarian Rhym, 6’1”, 170-pounds, Valdosta (Ga.) High School
247 rankings: 171st nationally; No. 20 cornerback
Rivals rankings: 212th nationally; No. 26 cornerback
If one considers the concept of upside, Welch and Rhym bring exactly what LSU cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond desires: speed and length. These are two young men with natural ability, plus the proven football skills to play at the SEC level. Now, differentiating between Welch and Rhym can prove to be difficult, but that’s okay.
Either one of these young men could play the field cornerback position against a future NFL player. These two having that skillset is a blessing for LSU, but there’s more.
The versatility factor of Welch and Rhym is where cornerback recruiting and projecting the future LSU defensive backfield depth chart becomes tricky, yet entertaining. Either one of these young cornerbacks could play outside, but each could add enough bulk and strength to play boundary cornerback as well.
Welch might even be a great free safety candidate as well. That provides Raymond several opportunities. Mixing and maximizing coverages can and will be available with Welch and Rhym’s talents, as well as simply placing one of these two young men on a special wide receiver and allowing them to cover all over the gridiron.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
There’s still one key element to consider. College football is about spread offenses. That means needing at least three true cornerbacks during any given play is a reality. That’s why the Tigers need to land at least one more cornerback. Not to mention, it’s very likely that junior cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr. will head to the NFL Draft after the conclusion of the 2021 season.
While it’s all but impossible to replace Stingley with one prospect, it’s a good reason to consider signing four cornerbacks for the class of 2022. There is safety in numbers, as they say. If LSU does just land one more cornerback, however, it needs to be a special talent. That’s why the following player is so valuable to LSU recruiting.
A Top Target that Can Play Nickel Cornerback
Not every cornerback is physically or mentally capable of playing the nickel cornerback position. Taking on offensive linemen during screens, as well as tight ends during those same screens, can be a chore. Then there are those jitterbugs that line up as slot wide receivers.
You know the ones. The speedsters with the hips and ankles to provide a highlight reel moment without warning. A quick juke and there goes the defender headed in the wrong direction. That’s why LSU needs another cornerack.
Amongst many great options, a fantastic addition would be Earl Little, Jr. He’s used to playing elite high school competition while competing for Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage, and he’s a great complement to LSU’s other two cornerback commitments.
Little has a unique set of official visits lined up with Southern Cal (June 11) being his only summer visit. This fall, Little will sojourn to Florida (Sep. 17), Florida State (Sep. 24), LSU (Oct. 2) and Alabama (Nov. 6). With that list of elite programs coming after Little, there’s little question that his recruitment will be hard fought and full of changes in recruiting momentum.
Keep that recruiting narrative in mind, here’s why elite programs want Little to represent their institutions. He’s an elite playmaker going against ‘dudes’ that make plays of their own. Keep in mind, Little plays in Broward County, Fla., the same county that just produced 12 NFL Draft picks by itself.
You read that correctly.
When Little goes and plays seven-on-seven or just goes to his own high school for practice, there’s a good chance there will be multiple future NFL players on that same field. It’s one of the reasons he’s so determined.
Feisty might be a better distinction. Little is not the biggest guy at 6-feet-0, 175-pounds, but he will compete through the whistle. He can take on those big tight ends and at least hold his own when an offensive lineman comes his way.
In today’s college football world, every cornerback will be tested. Little is the type of young man that will dust himself off when he gets beat, and then go right back at his opponent. That’s how a cornerback survives. He must persevere.
As for LSU, there will be ample time for the Tigers to make their mark with Little and any other cornerback that comes to Baton Rouge for an official visit. Just know that Little is a great fit with Welch and Rhym, and he’s the type of physical cornerback needed for LSU to play championship football.
LSU could be right back to being “Cornerback U.” with the type of cornerback prospects already in the fold as well as the possibility of landing a stud like Little that complements the two LSU commitments.
It’s a long process, but LSU fans should know that this cornerback group is already very good, and it could end up being a lot better with one more key cornerback recruit added to the class.