What's going on with the Class of 2014?
Donnie Alexander and Ed Paris both committed to LSU in the same week at the end of February. Since then, things have seemed relatively quiet on the recruiting front. We have not seen any new commitments and LSU has not hosted any recruiting events. But behind the scenes, the LSU staff has been busy doing evaluations and offering numerous out of state prospects. At the same time, a number of other programs have been busy offering Louisiana prospects.
Here is a position by position look at what's going on with some of LSU's top targets:
Parkway Bossier's Brandon Harris continues to emerge as the state's top quarterback prospect. He was recently offered by Arkansas and is also showing strong interest in Baylor and Texas A&M in addition to LSU. Per Nola.com, Harris talked with Les Miles for a while on Sunday. It sounds like LSU wants to get a close look at Harris at camp this summer, but they may not have the luxury of waiting that long. I suspect LSU will put some eyes on him during the spring evaluation period. Harris definitely fits the "dual threat" mold and put up some awfully impressive numbers as a junior.
LSU also extended an offer to Toldeo, OH prospect DeShone Kizer a couple of weeks back. Kizer is 6'5" 205 pounds. He looks like a great athlete but seems a bit raw as a passer. His offer list is impressive and includes Alabama, Nebraska, Louisville and Tennessee in addition to LSU.
Rock Hill, SC quarterback Mason Rudolph is also a prospect with an offer from LSU that is showing a high level of interest.
St. Aug's Leonard Fournette continues to be the big prize here, and LSU seems to be in great shape. If nothing else, no other school is ahead of LSU at this point. Fournette has not taken too many visits this spring. Originally slated to visit Alabama this upcoming weekend, Fournette will instead be at a camp in Houston, TX. Anytime he seems to be scheduled to visit another school, whether it's Bama, FSU, Texas or Texas A&M, he never seems to make the trip. However, he did visit LSU for their "Boys From The Boot" Junior Day. Fournette still plans to wait until January to announce his decision.
John Ehret's Darrell Williams is garnering more and more attention and recently gained offers from Georgia and Mississippi State. LSU has their eye on Williams but is taking their time with his recruitment. I would not expect to see an offer any time before the summer. Williams has nice size at 6'1" 210 and plenty of speed.
East Ascension scat back Sione Palelei and Sotlandville's Dontrell Hilliard are two other in-state guys to keep an eye on.
Out of state, LSU has only issued a handful of offers to the nation's elite. Oxford, AL star Racean Thomas could be one to watch. Originally thought to be a heavy lean to Alabama, Thomas now seems much more open. LSU signed Kwon Alexander a couple of years ago from the same high school as Thomas. He's likely to stay to stay in the state of Alabama for college but if he leaves the state, LSU could be his top option.
LSU issued three early offers to in-state receivers in Speedy Noil, Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre. Those guys continue to be at the very top of LSU's wish list and rightfully so. They are all nationally ranked prospects with huge offer lists. At this stage, LSU seems to be in pretty good shape with all three.
Aside from those three, LSU also has a very close eye on Ouachita's Cameron Sims, a highly ranked player in his own right. Sims claims offers from Alabama and Georgia among many others. At camp last summer, Sims reportedly didn't run the fastest time in the world and LSU would like to get a closer look before offering him a valuable spot in what should be an elite receivers class. I'd expect an offer to come out this summer, if it comes at all.
A few out of state players with LSU offers to keep an eye on include Keenen Brown form Houston, TX, Markell Pack from Purvis, MS and Saeed Blacknall from New Jersey. Pack's film is especially impressive, and he's very good after the catch.
Dutchtown's Corey McBride is another in state guy to watch for an offer as is Pearland, TX receiver Tony Upchurch.
Personally, I like Sims as a player over any of the out of state guys mentioned with the possible exception of Pack. No, Sims doesn't show off crazy speed on his highlights, but he looks fast enough and despite his 6'3" frame, he's pretty solid after the catch.
LSU commitment Devin Voorhies could also end up at wide receiver so he may factor into the numbers at the end of the day.
With a commitment in hand from Westlake's Jacory Washington, LSU has already nabbed one of the best receiving tight-ends in the country. With new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's history of throwing the ball to the tight-end, a guy like Washington has to be thrilled. LSU will look to add at least one more tight end to this class, and they may not have to leave the state to do so.
LSU has offered Karr tight-end Anthony Jones who is an intriguing prospect. An athletic 6'5" 215 pounds, Jones hasn't played a ton of football. He has only played football for a couple of years and even then, he was Karr's second tight-end behind Miami signee Standish Dobard a year ago. LSU may want to see Jones this spring or at camp this summer before accepting a commitment from Jones if he decided to do so.
Other in-state options include Clay Moffitt (son of LSU strength and conditioning guru Tommy Moffitt) and Ville Platte's Kendall Ardoin.
The state of Louisiana has three blue chip prospects on the O-line, and LSU has them atop their wish list. Brother Martin guard Will Clapp has already committed to LSU, and his commitment seems as solid as it can be. West Monroe's Cameron Robinson may be the most important player in this entire class for LSU. Robinson is a unanimous Top-10 overall prospect in the nation and a guy that Alabama has made a top priority. University High guard Garrett Brumfield is a blue chipper in his own right with offers from the likes of Alabama, Floirda, Florida State, Texas A&M and others.
I suspect LSU will look to sign four offensive linemen in this class. If LSU can land those three in state prospects, then anyone else they add to the class will just be gravy in my opinion.
In state, St. Aug's Joseph Paul is getting a lot of attention and claims offers from Texas, FSU, Florida, and Texas A&M. That's an impressive offer list, but LSU hasn't shown significant interest to this point.
Out of state, St. Louis tackle Andy Bauer and North Carolina tackle Bentley Spain both hold offers from the Tigers and have shown some interest. Bauer is friends with 2013 signee Ethan Pocic, so there is at least a small connection working in LSU's favor.
After signing four defensive ends and three defensive tackles in 2013, LSU can afford to be picky along the DL in 2014. And thus far, they have been, issuing only one offer within Louisiana to this point.
Karr's Gerald Willis is the top defensive line prospect in the state and is currently the only in-state defensive lineman with an offer from LSU. Willis could find a home as either an end or a tackle, but I think he'll eventually settle into tackle if he plays at LSU, Along with LSU, Willis favors Florida and Texas A&M, but I think LSU is comfortably in front at this point.
Plaquemine defensie lineman Davon Godchaux looks the part of a SEC D-lineman and has an Ole Miss offer to show for it. To me, I'm not sure Godchaux has the explosiveness needed to play end at a place like LSU but if he can put on a lot of good weight, I can easily see him playing on the interior. Reportedly, Godchaux was a star at LSU's camp last summer.
Covington's Garrald McDowell is a SEC talent but is undersized as a tackle, at least for now, at just 6'2" 255-ish. He sports offers from Arkansas and Ole Miss, but it looks like LSU wants to see if he can fill out and gain some more weight prior to offering. He's one to watch this spring/summer. McDowell's former Covington teammate, linebacker Otha Peters, plays at Arkansas so he does have a connection to the Hogs.
Westgate's Tae Thibodaux should also be on the watch list for in-state players.
Out of state, Oklahoma's Deondre Clark is the big name to watch right now. The blue chip defensive end has stated that he wants to play in the SEC. Furthermore, he raved about a trip he took to LSU for camp last summer...and his Mom raved about it too. LSU is in good shape for Clark right now.
LSU has issued some offers out of state, to include one to Mobile, AL's Justin Thornton who has the Tigers in his Top 3 along with Florida and Texas A&M. Thornton is a big time player and looks perfect as a big, complete defensive end for a 4-3 defense. But he seems like a heavy lean to Florida right now.
Miami defensive end Chad Thomas also has a LSU offer and could be one to keep an eye on.
LSU is looking to sign no more than three linebackers in this class and with Karr's Donnie Alexander already on board, space is already tight.
Kenny Young of John Curtis is the clear priority for LSU. He's an in-state stud and will have a spot in this class all the way until Signing Day if he wants. So the question is where LSU is looking for that third spot, or if Young decides to go elsewhere.
Illinois linebacker Clifton Garrett is one of the top linebacker prospects in the nation and recently received an offer from LSU. It seems that distance isn't a huge factor for Garrett, and that he is open to visiting LSU. But Ohio State is thought to be his big leader.
Spring, TX (just north of Houston) linebacker Josh Mabin is one that LSU is watching very closely. Mabin visited LSU for Junior Day and is very high on the Tigers. He is invited back for camp and if LSU offers, it will be after that camp performance. He looks like a middle linebacker all the way.
Memphis, TN prospect Petera Wilson is another that LSU is watching closely and that is planning to camp this summer.
LSU already has commitments from Texas prospects Chris Hardeman (scouting report) and Ed Paris. Hardeman is likely a nickel guy while Paris is one that is versatile enough to play either corner or safety.
The big prize for LSU is Beaumont's Tony Brown (scouting report), possibly the best defensive back in the nation. Many believe LSU is Brown's clear leader. Brown's sister is committed to run track for LSU, so there is a big time connection working in LSU's favor.
Dallas's Nick Watkins also has an offer from LSU as does California's Adoree Jackson. Jackson is a ridiculous athlete and once called LSU his "dream school." Despite that, it's probably an uphill climb for LSU to land either guy.
In state, look out for a pair of undersized guys in John Curtis's Terrance Alexander and St. Aug's Jermaine Roberts. Alexander has offers from Ole Miss, Arkansas, Nebraska, Stanford, Vanderbilt and others. Roberts has been on fire lately, racking up offers from Alabama, Florida State, Texas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Nebraska and others. Roberts is a play maker on his film but with guys like Tony Brown potentially leaning LSU's way and Adoree Jackson still in the picture, LSU is going to be extremely picky with what could be the last cornerback spot. I think both Roberts and Alexander need a strong showing at LSU's camp to be considered for an offer.
Out of state, watch for Gulfport's Lashard Durr, who recently took a visit to LSU at the request of Corey Raymond. Durr is flying under the radar right now but that's probably about to change. He's another guy who can earn an offer with a strong camp showing. His highlight tape is awfully impressive.
Potentially, LSU could have two Top-100 safeties already committed depending on where Ed Paris and Devin Voorhies settle in once they get to Baton Rouge. But both could end up elsewhere too, so that makes recruiting the safety position a bit confusing.
One thing that's not confusing is that LSU has Neville's Laurence "Hootie" Jones at the very top of their wish list for this class. The 6'2" 205 physical freak is a natural in the secondary and is one of the nation's top defensive back prospects. LSU will have to battle Alabama for his services.
In the state, Marksville's Ricky Gibson is a guy to keep an eye on but with LSU chasing so many elite defensive backs, it's tough to see him getting an offer.
LSU has issued a few other offers outside the state. Brandon Simmons,(scouting report) a high school teammate of Ed Paris, has an offer and is a strong possibility to land at LSU. USC, Stanford, Tennessee and Notre Dame are just some of his other offers. Houston's John Bonney and Texarkana's Davion Hall, a Baylor commitment, also hold offers from LSU as does Miami's Michael Johnson, a Louisville commitment. Bonney's mother is a LSU grad but despite that, he appears to favor Texas.
If LSU has the kind of success in the state of Louisiana that they are accustomed to and you throw in some out of state guys they feel very good about (Paris, Voorhies, Hardeman, Brown, D.Clark,), then it's easy to peg about 18 to 20 spots in this class already.
A lot of people get nervous when they see an in state player like Jermaine Roberts and Cameron Sims start racking up some serious offers with LSU standing on the sidelines. "What if we wait too long and miss him?!" I'd preach patience. It's only March and we have 11 months to go. Plus, nobody knows these in state players, especially those in the New Orleans area, better than Frank Wilson. My only disagreement with the staff right now is regarding Cameron Sims, but I understand why they want to see him in person again before pulling the trigger.
I like where LSU sits right now and think things are shaping up well to have one of the best classes in LSU history. They're in great shape for the in-state players, even though they will have at least a couple of real battles on their hands.