Yesterday, LSU hosted a recruiting event, the Les Miles Recruiting Picnic. Thus continues the staff's impetus on hosting family-centric events to help build recruiting report, starting last season with the "Boys from Boot" day. It's hard to not point to Frank Wilson's efforts in creating and organizing these events... things we never saw under Larry Porter's still successful recruiting tenure. Wilson has only strengthened LSU's stranglehold on instate talent, and typically has his hands all over the premier instate recruits from the class. Yesterday only continued that trend, with the addition of three commitments as well as positive inroads with a few additional recruits. More after the jump.
Derrick Raymond, New Orleans, LA
At the beginning of May the name Derrick Raymond was unknown, even to those in recruiting circles. Raymond has traveled across the state, attending three high schools in three years, starting at Lee High in Baton Rouge as a freshman, then to Port Allen, where he didn't play sports and finally back to his home in New Orleans, where enrolled at East Jefferson in January of 2010. He was ineligible to play sports due to transfer rules, but his head coach, Nick Saltaformaggio, noted he was easily their best player, and this was just from seeing him in practice.
Still, Raymond remained relatively anonymous until two recent events: the 4A State Track Meet and the Under Armour Combine in New Orleans. Raymond claimed the state title in both the 100 (10.52) and 200 (21.51). Sensational times for a junior presumably without much formal training. In short, he can flat out fly. He timed out at a 4.4 flat at the New Orleans combine. Listed at 6'2, 175 lbs, he's expected to play corner, but does have the versatility to play safety. His head coach claims he's picked up 45 offers... since May 1st. Obviously, there's quite a bit of draw to the kid.
There's no tape out there, so I have no further take on him, but his speed and size make him a very intriguing prospect.
Jerald Hawkins, Baldwin, LA
Hawkins is a 6'7, 285 lineman from Baldwin, Louisiana. With a bevy of highly rated out of state linemen with high interest in LSU, the staff has slow played the instate guys a bit thus far. In fact, Hawkins is the first OL commitment in the class. Just a few weeks ago Hawkins won state in the shot put... a sport he only picked up this season. That should give you some idea to the level of athlete he is. Just two weeks ago he pledged to A&M, which of course was followed by the usual Aggie "we're making inroads in the state!" type of reaction on TexasAgs. This played out as it usually does, with the home team winning.
Here is some (not so great quality) video of Hawkins:
His future is obviously on the OL, though you can tell from his DL tape that the kid can definitely move well for a big guy. Hell, at the 1:15 mark he picks off a pass and runs it back 30 yards before being brought down. He's obviously pretty nimble. Over the past few years Miles has seemed to place an impetus on finding linemen who are light on their feet and can move. Hawkins fits that mold perfectly. This is just another one of those naturally big, naturally strong, naturally athletic guys with raw ability and seemingly unlimited upside.
Jerquinick Sandolph, Hahnville, LA
PK said it best, this is a 2012 Name of the Year contestant. Sandolph is yet another under the radar prospect (there seems to be a theme developing here). There's also another thing to note here: never doubt Ron Cooper. Cooper may not have the plaudits of Wilson and the flashy five-star recruits to back up his reputation, but I'll give you the flashy recruiting coach and I'll take Cooper and win every time. Give credit where it's due, because this guy is one of the absolute best talent evaluators and coaches in the country. A lot of is made of the "Nick Saban stamp of approval" when it comes to defensive backs (and rightfully so), but Cooper is probably just a step behind him in that regard. He knows what he is looking for and he goes out and gets it.
Anyhow, back on topic. Like Raymond, he is a tweener safety/corner prospect with good size (6'1, 180) and speed (4.5).You might recognize the WR he's running stride for stride with on the first highlight in the below clip:
In the limited tape I've seen, you can obviously tell Sandolph has good playing speed. He's also a solid tackler that knows how to wrap up and shows some aggressiveness in bringing people down. If the staff views Sandolph as a corner, he could be the final commitment at the position, but his flexibility does award the staff some options.
Davante Bourque has been one of the most frequently debated members of the 2012 class. In a weak in-state RB class, Bourque is thought to be the lead dog. He's currently committed to A&M with a slew of offers from schools across the south. Bourque is a big, upright runner with solid speed. He's not a flashy runner, and reminds me a bit of Alfred Blue stylistically. The big news over the weekend is that he did get an offer, which was a big question mark heading into the season. Bourque got his RB offer and many expect he will jump on it.
Derek Edinburgh is a big, big (6'8, 330) OT prospect from New Orleans that many expected to get an early offer (perhaps on NSD). When that offer didn't come through, many speculated that the staff may pass on the big man. Alas, Edinburgh got his offer yesterday. He claims he will continue to take his time with the recruiting process, but I suspect he will be a Tiger when NSD rolls around.
Lorenzo Phillips, yet another Aggie commitment, was also in town. He's a big time LB prospect that would be a very nice addition to the class.
This brings the class to 12 commitments. There's still a multitude of highly talented OOS prospects still on the board. All in all, Saturday was like the Cotton Bowl all over again, where we were just kicking A&M's sorry ass all over the field. Also, this funny A&M chart.