OK, guys. we've entered the home stretch of the 2009 recruiting season. In fact, as we have entered a dead period prior to Wednesday's signing period, the actual recruiting is done. Now it is just up to the kids to make their final decisions and fax their letters of intent to whomever the lucky team is.
Here at ATVS, we will not have blow-by-blow National Signing Day coverage. While I would love to do that sort of thing, this is a hobby that must be indulged around my work and family schedule. As it stands, I anticipate being quite busy at work on Wednesday. Expect a morning pre-mortem and an evening post-mortem.
In the meantime, let's discuss whatever uncertainty there might be in LSU's recruiting. This will be a series that continues into tomorrow and Wednesday, so don't think these are the only guys. Keep in mind, recruiting is part science and part art, where kids will bust as often as they succeed. These last few undecided kids are no more important than the first few who gave their pledges to LSU.
Defensive back Janzen Jackson is a 5-star from Lake Charles. He's something of a safety/corner hybrid and is as physical a corner as you will ever see. If he really has the speed and the swivel to be a corner, he will be a very difficult matchup for any wide receiver. He was an early commit to LSU, as he has been listed on LSU list for almost a full year now. But he started getting a lot of attention from Alabama, and took visits. To make matters more nerve-racking for LSU fans, his father Lance Guidry was a coach at McNeese State who has been interviewing for better jobs. He interviewed at Tennessee, who also turned up the heat on Janzen, but he ultimately took a job at Miami (OH). It has disturbed the sleep of many a Tiger fan to think of losing this kid to either Alabama or Tennessee. For what it's worth, Guidry has always said the right thing about not letting teams manipulate his son through his job situation. He seems solid to LSU now and is very likely to sign with LSU in the end.
If you're one of the many people who do not like the state of LSU's linebacker corps (I am not exactly one of you, but I see your point), then Jarvis Jones of Carver High in Georgia is an important recruit. He is one of the top-rated linebackers in the country, though Rivals recently moved his position to defensive end, for reasons I cannot fathom. It seems everyone's recruiting him as a linebacker. He has a good combination of size and speed and will be a solid prospect wherever he goes. Jones has been all over the map in terms of where he stands on LSU. He was at one time a heavy LSU lean, but it is said that the coaching changes on the defensive side of the ball and some negative recruiting by Urban Meyer set us back. He took a visit to LSU this past weekend, the last of the year, and we were forced to play some catch up. He reportedly liked his visit, and liked what he heard from the new coaching staff. While LSU is hopeful, I cannot say we are confident. He could end up at Florida, Georgia, or USC.
If you follow this site, you know a little of the story of Deangelo Benton. He is a very talented wide receiver out of Bastrop. He signed with LSU as a 4-star with the 2007 class, but could not get qualified. He went to Hargrave and got bumped up to a 5-star, but got homesick and left before completing the program, hoping to get qualified through correspondence courses. That didn't work out, and his former high school coach has accepted some of the blame for that, saying he did not fully understand what Deangelo was required to do. He continued trying to get himself qualified, and now, word is that he has done everything he needed to do. It is only a matter of getting the go-ahead from the Clearinghouse, which should be an agonizing process because they have to check on regular high school classes, Hargrave classes, correspondence classes, and standardized tests and see how they all mesh together (the Clearinghouse will apply a sort of "repeat-delete" policy, which helps players, but makes it more complicated to figure out borderline cases). Just in time for that, Benton decided, after two years of being solid to LSU, to take a look around and see what else is out there. He took a visit to Auburn on the second to last weekend of recruiting, and then took his visit to LSU this past weekend. No one knows if he was just taking a free trip or if he was really serious about Auburn, but most expect him to be in Baton Rouge in June with the rest of the incoming freshmen (and yes, he will be a FRESHMAN, with 5 years to play 4, though he will be eligible to declare for the NFL after just one year in college). LSU coaches are reasonably confident he will be a Tiger, but he may not sign any more letters of intent making it official, keeping his options open. That would be bad news. Benton is a guy who would probably be an immediate contributor at either LSU or Auburn.
We'll leave it there for today. More tomorrow and Wednesday.