With Signing Day less than two months away, LSU looks to put their best foot forward with some of the big names left on their recruiting board. LSU will host a trio of big name targets this weekend, and they'll also try to shore up their standing with several commitments who are also visiting.
Fort Lauderdale, FL defensive tackle Maquedius Bain is one to watch. The former Florida State commitment has also visited Miami and Oklahoma recently and will likely make his decision soon. LSU looks to be in good shape with the 6'3" 310 pound tackle, and a good visit may just seal the deal. As a player, Bain looks like a good one. He shows off some pretty unique athleticism for a guy his size, also averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds per game for the basketball team. He played both offensive and defensive line as a senior, showing off his versatility and his willingness to help the team however possible. The recruiting sites have mixed opinions on Bain, but ESPN rates him as the #43 overall player in the nation. Go ahead and put Bain on commitment watch, starting Friday.
The biggest name to watch this weekend is Arizona defensive back Priest Willis, who will be in town with his entire family to visit. Willis has had an odd recruitment in that he hasn't tipped his hand once. Willis is also considering UCLA, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Florida State and Virginia with UCLA seemingly providing the toughest competition for LSU. Defensive backs coach Corey Raymond has built a solid relationship with Willis, dating back to when he coached at Nebraska and he's a big reason why Willis has sincere interest in the Tigers. He seems excited to make the visit:
Visiting LSU next week Friday lets see what all this talk about DBU is about— Priest Willis Jr. (@pwillisjr3) December 5, 2012
As a player, Wills is a great fit in LSU's defense. He's a big, physical corner that can hold his own in man coverage. He could also grow into a free safety. That versatility makes him a great candidate to earn playing time early in his career at LSU in their nickel and dime packages. Willis is highly rated by all of the recruiting sites and is ranked as a 5-star by 247 Sports. Willis plans on announcing his decision at the Under Armour All-American game on January 4.
Miami, FL safety Jamal Carter will also be taking an official visit to LSU this weekend. Carter is currently committed to Miami, but is willing to take a look at LSU with so many uncertainties surrounding Miami's program and possible NCAA penalties coming down soon. Carter plays a very physical style of football and has a ton of raw talent. He would be a nice fit as a strong safety at LSU. I suspect his visit will go well and that he'll give LSU a long look. If Miami is hit with their NCAA sanctions prior to National Signing Day, then flipping him may be more realistic. LSU certainly seems to be trying hard to add another safety to this class, especially with current commitment Jeremy Cutrer's academic standing in doubt.
LSU may also host tight-end Josh McNeil, an Alabama commitment. Anything can happen if a prospect visits campus, but McNeil seems pretty solid to the Tide, and I'd honestly be surprised if he shows up this weekend.
In addition to those guys, LSU will also host five commitments on their official visits. In-state players Josh Boutte and John Diarse will be on hand along with Andy Dodd, Ethan Pocic and Anthony Jennings. I like the mix of committed and uncommitted prospects that LSU has coming in this weekend. It's not too big a group to where the uncommitted guys, or even the out of state commitments, feel lost in the shuffle and don't get the personal attention they need. But it's big enough to where the targets can get a feel for the class and how the players interact with the coaches. Enough commitments will be on hand to a provide a pretty legit sales job too. Both Pocic and Jennings plan on enrolling at LSU in January which is one reason why they are taking their official visit now.
Peeking around at the rest of the recruiting landscape...
East Felciana's Kendell Beckwith took his official visit to Alabama last weekend and of course returned home with nothing but glowing reports. LSU seemed to have gained momentum in Beckwith's recruitment, but he's a really tough guy to get a read on. He will announce his decision on January 4 at the Under Armour game and is scheduled to take his official visit to LSU later in January. He visited LSU multiple times this season for games. His decision truly seems like it could go either way right now.
After a very strong performance in the state championship game in front of LSU's coaching staff, Rummel tight end Cethan Carter seems to be on the verge of receiving an offer. Unless LSU gets a flurry of commitments from some big time prospects, I expect that offer to come. If I'm right, I fully expect Carter to accept the offer and become a part of this class for LSU. I love what Carter brings to the table. He shows off a ton of versatility, able to line up on the line, as an H-back or in the backfield as a fullback. He also shows off solid athleticism as a receiver and runner. I hope LSU finds room for him.
LSU will continue to monitor the academic status of junior college wide receiver Courtney Gardner. If he's able to get himself eligible, I suspect LSU will find a way to put him in this class. But, we probably won't hear any news on Gardner, one way or the other, for at least a month.
LSU is taking their shots at at some big time defensive ends, the biggest of which is the nation's top prospect Robert Nkemdiche. LSU has never slowed their recruitment of Nkemdiche, and they perhaps have a glimmer of hope in landing him. James Smith of Nola.com had everyone buzzing earlier this week, when he wrote that Nkemdiche was actually a "silent commitment" to LSU at one point prior to his public commitment to Clemson. Ole Miss has a lot going for them in this recruiting battle, and I suspect it will be too much for Brick Haley and LSU to overcome, but it's certainly worth watching.
LSU is also after Auburn commitment Tashawn Bower. The 6'5" 240 pounder is looking around a bit after the coaching change at Auburn and is trying to make plans to take an official visit to LSU. The Tigers may also be pursuing Washington commitment Daeshon Hall, who will reportedly take an official visit to LSU. Hall is from Texas and was once committed to the Longhorns but changed to Washington since he has some family in that area. However, now he's looking at visiting Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and LSU. So....? Yea, we'll see.