BATON ROUGE, La. -- How big is it for LSU to land Jarrell Martin, the No. 14-ranked player in the ESPN 100?
Martin, who committed to the Tigers on Thursday in an assembly at Madison Prep Academy, is the most coveted recruit to commit to the Tigers since Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who was ranked as the nation's No. 13 player when he pledged in 2004. If LSU coach Johnny Jones was hired to improve recruiting, Martin's pledge is proof that he's delivering.
That makes Martin the the most coveted player to commit to LSU since Davis who, like Martin, prepped at a local high school, as Davis attended University Lab.
Martin should provide Jones with plenty of the firepower he wants in implementing an up-tempo, fast-break offense at LSU.
At 6-foot-7, Martin projects as a power forward, but he said he hopes to move inside and out, depending on how he's matched up -- and Jeff Jones, Martin's coach at Madison Prep, agreed with his star player's assessment, comparing him to North Texas standout and former Johnny Jones pupil Tony Mitchell.
"Really what will help Johnny with his system are the guys he'll have in John Udoh and Deng Deng and [Jordan] Mickey and [Tim] Quarterman," Jeff Jones said. "... There will be a lot of places to move Jarrell around. And whatever you ask Jarrell to do, he's going to do it."
Martin sees his versatility as being similar to a particular player who never even considered attending North Texas.
"I'd say I see my game like LeBron James -- I just take whatever is there," Martin said. "If a big guy is on me I'll go out and use my perimeter game, if a small guy is on me I'll go down low."
In light of that versatility and willingness, the presence of other big men among LSU commits could be a boon for Martin offensively.
Add in LSU's previous commitment from forward Jordan Mickey, the No. 46 player in the ESPN 100, and LSU has two Top 50 players in the same class for the first time since 2005 when Mitchell and Magnum Rolle both signed with the Tigers as top 50 recruits on Rivals.com. LSU also has a pledge from Tim Quarterman, the No. 66 player on the Rivals 100 and junior college forward Deng Deng. John Odoh, a junior college center, will join the team in January.
Better than that, Jones' new batch of recruits already have some experience playing with each other.
"I actually played against Tim Quarterman and Jordan Mickey," Martin said. "Me and Jordan Mickey used to be together at the camps, and he was one of the guys that we'd be together at the camps and become close friends."
But it's Martin who stands out among the trio of prospects. LSU has had other top players since Davis, but stars such as Tasmin Mitchell (No. 20, Rivals) in 2005, J'Mison Morgan (No. 26, ESPN), Aaron Dotson (No. 45, ESPN) in 2009 and Johnny O'Bryant (No. 46, ESPN) in 2011 were all highly regarded recruits, but not as much as Martin.
It should also be noted that Morgan signed with LSU when John Brady was still head coach and was let out of his letter of intent by Trent Johnson, eventually winding up at at UCLA before transferring to Baylor.