LSU's football team took part in their first scrimmage of spring practice on Saturday. As usual, the coaching staff invited some recruits to attend. It's always good to get these players around the team and the coaching staff and perhaps most of all...around each other. Relationships can be built, and it's those relationships which ultimately result in signatures on the first Wednesday of each February.
A lot of big-time prospects decided to take accept LSU's invitation and before you knew it, the coaching staff had a full blown recruiting event on their hands. In fact, LSU had more talent on hand Saturday than they did for their second Junior Day.
A lot of the familiar names were on hand such as CB Tony Brown, DB Hootie Jones, WR Trey Quinn, LB Kenny Young, and LSU Commitment Will Clapp. LSU didn't squeeze any commitments out of these guys during their visit, but they were not really expecting to. In each case, the staff simply built on their already strong relationship. As things stand now, I'd be really surprised if LSU missed on any of these prospects. Clapp and Quinn have developed a friendship recently, so it's good that they were both on campus together. I understand that watching a Cam Cameron-led LSU practice made a big impression on Quinn, inching him closer to pulling the trigger for the good guys.
A pair of teammates from Mobile, AL made the trip as well. Linebacker Deshaun Davis and defensive end Justin Thornton both have LSU among their favorites. Davis seemed set to commit to LSU on his visit until LSU let him know that they wanted him as a fullback and not as a linebacker. The word is that after seeing him in person, LSU realized that Davis was much smaller than his listed weight of 6'0" 220 pounds. We will have to see what transpires but for now, Davis wants to play linebacker at the next level.
I absolutely love Thornton as a prospect. At 6'5" 220, Thornton has the perfect frame for a defensive end in LSU's scheme. He's a really special player with an almost perfect blend of size, quickness and strength. He reminds me a bit of LSU signee Frank Herron. Thornton really likes Florida, and it will be hard for LSU win this battle, but his visit this weekend was the first major step.
LSU also hosted South Carolina quarterback Mason Rudolph. The 6'4" 210 pound passer holds an offer LSU along with Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and a few others. Rudolph is a good looking prospect, despite not being rated terribly high by the recruiting services at this point. I think that if he goes to some camps this summer to showcase his skills, he'll climb the boards. He put up some nice stats as a junior, completing 346 passes in 536 attempts (65%) for 4,010 yards with 41 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. LSU is the highest profile school on Rudolph's list right now but also one of the furthest from home. He seems pretty high on LSU at the moment, and we'll have to see if that excitement sticks once the newness of his visit wears off. He plans to make a decision sometime this summer.
One guy who could not make it to campus was Karr athlete Speedy Noil. Noil was tied up elsewhere with a track meet but will try to get to campus sometime this week to take in a practice and spend some time with the coaches. At this point, I'm not too worried about Noil and feel very strongly that he'll be a Tiger. For those who care about such things, Noil was recently bumped up to a five star prospect on 247 Sports and is now ranked as the nation's #1 receiver and #17 overall prospect in the nation.
NUC Combine in Zachary
On Sunday, The National Underclassman Combine hosted a camp at Zachary High School which attracted some of the top talent across the region, including some LSU targets. Shreveport quarterback Brandon Harris took home the quarterback MVP Award, and Harris said he plans on camping at LSU this summer. It will be interesting to see whether LSU is able to see Harris at camp before Rudolph makes his decision.
Also listed among the top 2014 performers included LSU tight-end commitment Jacory Washington, East Ascension running back Sione Palelei and Ville Platte tight-end Kendall Ardoin. Palelei and Ardoin are both guys that will get strong looks from LSU this summer. Palelei is up to 5'9" 197 pounds and took home the overall MVP Award at the event.
The combine also gave us a glimpse into what the state has to offer for the Class of 2015 and a few players stood out. First was Loreauville receiver Rhashid Bonnette. The 6'0" 165 pound speedster was reportedly one of the top overall players at the combine. He looks absolutely electric on his highlights. Catholic-New Iberia quarterback Jason Pellerin gave Harris a run for the top quarterback at the event. He's already got nice size at 6'3" 210 and is one to watch next year. The state's top two offensive line prospects for 2015 were both on hand in Many's Garrett Thomas and Evangel's Jerry Tillery. Both guys could be elite prospects. Tillery stuck around the area and attended LSU's practice on Monday. Lastly, a pair of defensive backs really stood out. East St. John's Xavier Lewis and East Jefferson's Deshawn Raymond, brother of LSU's Derrick Raymond, both impressed. Lewis looks like a Top-10 player in state next year.
More Visitors This Week - Commitment Coming?
Fort Pierce, Florida defensive end Sharieff Rhaheed is scheduled to visit LSU on Tuesday. Rhaheed is a bit under the radar but is someone that LSU's staff really, really likes. Word briefly broke that Rhaheed had committed to LSU late last week, but the staff apparently wants him to come to campus before making things official. Jimmy Smith over at NOLA.com thinks that's exactly what will happen on Rhaheed's visit Tuesday. Rhaheed also has offers from Ole Miss, Tennessee, Louisville and Penn State among others. He's on the smaller side for a defensive end, listed at 6'4" 215 pounds. Is he really that big? Maybe that's what the staff wants to find out Tuesday.
Lastly, according to TigerSportsDigest's Hunter Paniagua, New Jersey wide receiver Saeed Blacknall will take a visit to LSU on Wednesday of this week. Blacknall has seen his stock rise a lot lately, with offers from schools such as Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and more. After this visit, I'm sure we'll have a better picture of where LSU stands.