Pearland, TX wide receiver Tony Upchurch visited LSU with his family on Friday and took in a spring practice. After practice, Upchurch talked to Les Miles and pulled the trigger, giving the head man his verbal pledge and becoming LSU's seventh commitment in the class...the third from the state of Texas.
Upchurch is a thick receiver at 6'2" and a very well put together 215 pounds. However, he moves like someone closer to 190 or 200 pounds. He's not a burner by any means, but he's fast enough. He uses his powerful lower body to his advantage, getting in and out of his cuts very well and then running like a running back after the catch. He's pretty similar to John Diarse but with a bit more size. Eric Martin is another good comparison. He should be an asset working the middle of the field with the strength to fight linebackers for position on slant routes or crosses, but he has enough size to work on the outside too. He shows a nice ability to find the ball in the air and put himself into position to catch it.
Upchurch caught 46 passes for 1,006 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. He also ran the ball from the backfield a good bit and averaged 11 yards per carry, which shows off his versatility.
Rankings-wise, Upchurch is ranked as a three star on 247 Sports and unranked by Rivals. Scout has him as the #253 overall player in the nation. I have a feeling that if Upchurch hits some camps this summer, he'll end up as a solid four star prospect.
I really like the pickup. LSU is in very good position with in state receivers Trey Quinn, Malachi Dupre and Speedy Noil. Assuming they're able to land those guys, the big question was who the fourth receiver would be in this class. Upchurch looks like the answer. Will LSU take a commitment from anyone not named Quinn, Dupre or Noil from this point forward? I don't think so...at least not for a while. They'll continue to recruit several other receivers very hard in case they don't land who they want.
What about Cameron Sims? The Ouchita standout will no doubt get a serious eval from LSU's staff this spring and hopefully at LSU's camp again this summer. LSU's staff saw both Sims and Upchurch at camp last summer, and Upchurch was the one who earned the offer. Would a strong showing by Sims shake things up?
LSU hosted another Texas prospect in running back / athlete Kevin Shorter on Friday. While on his visit, LSU extended an offer to Shorter, and he now claims that the Tigers are the leader for his services. Texas A&M has also offered Shorter and is LSU's primary competition.
Shorter is 6'0" 185 pounds and shows off really good burst, acceleration and speed on his highlights. He's lighter than your typical LSU back, but it's easy to see him bulking up to the 205 - 210 range at the next level. At this stage, he reminds me of Richard Murphy coming out of high school. I think Shorter would be a very nice compliment to guys like Leonard Fournette and Nic Brosette, who LSU hopes to land in the next couple of years.
John Curtis stud receiver Malachi Dupre was a visitor at LSU's practice Saturday. The more times LSU's staff can get guys like Dupre to campus to continue building relationships with them, the better.
A number of LSU's top targets were in Houston over the weekend at a Rivals camp event, and many performed extremely well. On offense, Rivals named Speed Noil as the top skill guy at the entire event while U-High's Garrett Brumfield won the offensive line MVP. Others names in Rivals' top offensive standouts Karr tight-end Anthony Jones, LSU commitment Jacory Washington and Texas receiver Keenen Brown, who holds an offer from LSU.
On defense, Plaquemine defensive lineman Davon Godchaux won the defensive line MVP and was the top defensive player there according to Rivals. I've questioned whether Godchaux has the burst needed to play defensive end at a place like LSU. I thought he may be better suited playing inside at tackle. But after seeing some video clips from his performance this weekend, I may be changing my mind a bit. Granted, camp settings are much different than actual games, but Godchaux looked excellent. If his academics check out this semester, I suspect LSU will offer and put the press on.
Other notables mentioned as defensive standouts include Karr defensive linemen Gerald Willis and Joyan Williams, St. Aug corner Jermaine Roberts, Covington defensive lineman Garrald McDowell, New Iberia defensive tackle Tae Thibodaux and LSU commitment Donnie Alexander.
One last note...the guys at Land Grant Holy Land had a great interview with Illinois linebacker Clifton Garrett. While most expect Garrett to end up a Buckeye, LSU has offered and he routinely mentions the Tigers as one of his top schools. He did so again in this interview. If LSU can get Garrett in town for a visit, then anything can happen. The Tigers' lone commitment from Illinois a year ago, Ethan Pocic, is proof of that.