Saturday, June 2, 2007

7th Commitment

LSU received its 7th verbal commitment for the 2008 recruiting class yesterday. Matt Branch, a tight end who is likely to be a 4-star recruit, committed to the Fightin' Tigers. Here's a picture:

He is the first tight end commitment of the 2008 class, hopefully to be joined by Tyler Edwards (brother of former LSU tight end Eric Edwards) and Chase Clement (close relative of former LSU great Eric Andolsek). He will join three tight ends signed for the 2007 season: Jordan Corbin, Alex Russian, and Mitch Joseph, plus two tight ends signed in 2006: J.D. Lott and current starter Richard Dickson.

You may ask yourself, why are we signing so many tight ends. Party, the answer is that an awful lot of really good tight ends want to sign with us, and it's hard to turn down a great athlete at any position. But the primary reason we are signing so many tight ends is that tight ends are extremely versatile.

A tight end, if he is a good athlete, can bulk up and move inside to tackle or guard. He can move to the fullback position and use many of the same skills. He can move to the other side of the line and be a defensive end like Marcus Spears. If he's undersized for defensive line and sufficiently athletic, he can be a linebacker.

As for Mr. Branch, he is 6'7" 240# according to Rivals, and Scout gives him similar numbers. Many think he will eventually be moved inside to the offensive line. Branch made a comment about that. "Coach Miles was excited. He said it was a good place for me and they were going to give me a fair shot at tight end." In other words, he said, "I'm moving to the offensive line." At least, that's my take on it.

He'll have to gain about 50 pounds, but he's only a junior in high school. He will likely put on 20 pounds before graduation, but even then his body will have to continue to develop if he will make the move.

Either way, he's the biggest name to commit to LSU for the 2008 signing class thus far, and his commitment is excellent news.


uberschuck said...

I think we don't use our TEs as passing targets as much as we ought to. That may be in part because we've had great WRs the last several years. Might Gary Crowton change that?

Richard Pittman said...

That's the word. I don't know if we'll change it or not, but I think it's safe to assume our tight ends will catch more than 8 passes next year, which is all they did last year.