To gear up for 2013 national signing day, GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney will break down every commitment in the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class.
Vitals: TE Desean Smith, Lake Charles, La./Barbe, 6-4, 230
Committed: July 2, 2012
ESPN Grade: 83, 4-star prospect
Picked LSU over: A number of offers, led by Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska and Notre Dame.
State of the position: LSU will be in need of help with senior Chase Clement departed and his primary backup, Nic Jacobs, having a very unclear status after not dressing out for games late in the season. Smith and junior college transfer Logan Stokes figure to get a lot of playing time right away.
Pros: A fantastic pass-catcher, Smith turned heads in the Louisiana Class 5A playoffs with two touchdown receptions in both the semifinals and the state championship game. They weren't made-for-the-tight-end, goal-line catches, they often came with Smith split wide and beating cornerbacks deep down the field like a big wide receiver. On a couple, he got behind coverage. On the others, he used his height and soft hands to haul in touchdowns over smaller defenders. Smith has good speed for a tight end and remarkable ball skills.
Cons: Not a traditional tight end, Smith will have to adjust to the physical, blocking requirements of an LSU tight end in a power-based Les Miles offense. In high school, Smith was usually one of four wideouts in the state's most prolific passing offense. That's not LSU's identity.
Similar to/potential role: LSU has lacked many true hybrid tight ends, and the closest thing it's had to Smith was the perhaps under-utilized DeAngelo Peterson. In a perfect world, the Tigers would like for him to develop in the mold of Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert.