The 2013 recruiting cycle was full of surprises, but LSU was able to slide under the radar somehow as the Tigers signed the No. 7 overall class in the country according to 247Sports Composite Team Rankings.
Les Miles and Co. was able to bring in a lot of talent that should produce immediately, especially on the defensive side of the football. One of those players is Tashawn Bower.
Bower was an Auburn commit up until signing day, but there were rumors that he was looking at LSU as a final destination for his college career. On signing day he made it official and signed with the Bayou Bengals.
LSU needs a lot of help along the defensive line after losing three starters to the NFL, two of which were defensive ends.
The Tigers have become reliant on the ability of power-rush ends to control the edge of the defense. Bower is the type of defender that can be a shutdown end for this defense.
He is strong in open field pursuit as his top end speed is better than average. Bower is strong at the point of attack on the ball carrier, and he consistently wrap-tackles and drives through his target.
In the Les Miles scheme he will be able to thrive as his athleticism will be the focus, not so much pure technique.
As a pass-rusher, Bower is lacking. He is not the best once engaged with blockers, and shows an inability to use his hands to create separation. He tends to bull rush only and will get blocked out of a play if he pulls a double team.
There has to be a point where he learns how to engage blockers and use his hands to disengage. Simply adding a rip or swim move to his skill set could make him a very dangerous defender for the Bayou Bengals.
He is good enough against the run to be a steady performer in the LSU 4-3. Over time he should develop into a decent pass-rusher, completing his game and making him one of the best defenders that landed in this class.
The immediate need for playmakers along the defensive line may push Bower into service early, but his best days are ahead for this program.
The Tigers were able to pull in a very talented class, but Bower will be one of the names that consistently floats to the top of the stat sheets the next four years.