A Look at the Top Targets LSU Football Hopes to Land in the Final Months of the 2021 Recruiting Cycle

Brian Smith

As we head into the home stretch of the recruiting calendar, here are five LSU targets to know more about.

With LSU’s history as a defensive program, this list will start on the defensive side of the football. This list will concentrate on primary traits and areas each player could grow his overall game.

Maason Smith, DT, 6-foot-4, 315, Houma (La.) Terrebonne

A national recruit that the Tigers continue to recruit ardently, Smith provides something that most defensive tackles simply do not. The ability to rush the passer. That’s like gold for a defensive coordinator.

Smith’s ability to swat away an offensive lineman’s hands is impressive, as is his ability to quickly negate the space between himself and the offensive lineman in front of him. Smith’s quickness often causes offensive linemen to overextend and be out over their feet; that’s when the combination of his hand swipe and club move often lead to a quarterback pressure or sack.

  • Incredible power; ability to penetrate with basic principles
  • Athleticism and hand-eye coordination allow Smith to use multiple pass rush moves.
  • Needs to continue to develop his pass rush moves, plus balance his moves like ‘rip’ to his repertoire. Mixing up his moves will garner more success.
  • Sometimes gets too high during pass rush and exposes his chest to offensive linemen. Subtle changes to his footwork will lead to Smith collapsing the pocket more often.

Sage Ryan, S, 5-foot-11, 195, Lafayette (La.) Lafayette Christian School

A player with a natural feel for the game, regardless of what position he’s being utilized during a particular play. Ryan will be waiting on a crossing wide receiver, juke the first three defenders when he returns a punt, or find the opening in a zone when playing wide receiver. He’s just scratching the surface of his capabilities, too.

It’s Ryan’s penchant for contact as a safety that’s most exciting. He back pedals well and he’s explosive when attacking the line of scrimmage to cover a screen or running play. As he learns more about playing coverages, Ryan’s game will continue to grow.

  • Brings power through his hips when bringing down an offensive player.
  • Change of direction skills are elite. Can make his way through traffic to create big plays.
  • Needs to simply learn more and more about coverages and how to disguise what he’s going to do.
  • Ryan could be a devastating defensive player if he’s able to learn nickel cornerback and safety. That’s more about mental than physical, as it’s very technique oriented to play nickel cornerback, as well as additional playbook memorization.

Ga’Quincy McKinstry, CB, 6-foot-1, 190, Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley

Length and athleticism to play cornerback, safety or wide receiver. McKinstry already displayed his incredible hands, leaping ability and speed during the first three seasons of high school football. He’s going to become more explosive (scary) with a college weight program.

The foundation is present, but now McKinstry needs to finetune his skills as a cornerback, as that’s his most likely long-term position.

  • Since he played so much wide receiver in high school, McKinstry will be able to read movements and tendencies of college wide receivers. That’s a big bonus.
  • With his overall athletic talents, McKinstry will eventually be able to lock down the opponent’s top wide receiver, one-on-one.
  • Once McKinstry is consistently placed in bump-and-run situations, he needs to learn the nuances of how and when to turn and run. He also needs to learn which specific hand to use depending on how the wide receiver comes off the line of scrimmage. It’s a long learning process.
  • Also would be a good candidate to play some nickel cornerback, but that means learning how to play against tight ends and running backs in addition to slot wide receivers.

Korey Foreman, DE, 6-foot-5, 255, Corona (Calif.) Centennial

A powerful and versatile defensive end, Foreman already began to expand his pass rush moves before entering his senior year of high school. That’s a primary reason why some consider Foreman the No. 1 prospect for the class of 2021.

Lateral quickness of a player that’s 215-pounds, in combination with those pass rush moves, allows Foreman to keep offensive linemen guessing. He’s also quite strong, and he’s good at using leverage to stay underneath the pads of offensive linemen.

  • A multi-faceted pass rusher with hand swipe, rip, club, and bull rush all in his arsenal.
  • At the snap of the football, Foreman’s ability to literally move from one gap and then past an offensive lineman and into the next gap, change direction, and penetrate is impressive.
  • Foreman could be a lethal interior pass rusher if he desires the opportunity to play some three technique. He would be hard for guards and centers to handle, especially in pass rushing situations.
  • Continue to learn how to use his hands to keep offensive linemen uneasy about what they will see during the next play. The more moves Foreman uses well, the more likely he will be successful.

Tristan Leigh, OT, 6-foot-5, 290, Fairfax (Va.) Robinson

A versatile offensive lineman that could play either tackle spot in college, in addition to playing along the interior, Leigh’s athleticism makes him a unique prospect. It’s hard to pinpoint one position that he should play. It’s a good problem to have.

His quick first step and long arms would seem to make him a prime left tackle candidate, and that very well could be where he lines up in college. Do not discount his drive blocking ability either. Leigh does a fantastic job of keeping his feet churning when run blocking.

  • Tremendous flexibility and length go along well with Leigh’s ability to run in space.
  • Quickly gets his hands on the defensive lineman in front of him.
  • Could use a more aggressive ‘punch’ during pass sets, at times.
  • Needs to add lower body strength to help anchor versus bigger and more powerful pass rushers that will attempt to bull rush Leigh at the college level.