If you're on top of the recruiting world, many of the top high school football players in America spent the week in St. Petersburg or San Antonio respectively, depending on the All-American game they were selected for. A host of current Tiger commitments, as well as a handful of potential commits, are in attendance. This post will serve as both a recap of the week of practice, as well as a preview of the coming announcements.
Under Armour All-American Game, January 2nd, 3:00 PM CST, ESPN
QB Brandon Harris
OG Garrett Brumfield
TE Jacory Washington
Of the three commits in attendance, Harris has garnered the most attention, being named a top performer on 247 Sports on both Day 1 and Day 2. Others have been skeptical of all of the QBs in attendance, including Harris. I think it's fair to say he's pretty much what we have come to believe: super tools but very raw. Apparently he's really force fed the ball to Jacory Washington and Speedy Noil (an uncommitted LSU target from New Orleans) all week.
I heard Brumfield struggled on Day 1, but seemed to rebound Day 2. Have read little else on Twitter or otherwise. Jacory Washington won the skills competition, an impressive feat for a 6'5", 230 lbs.
RB Leonard Fournette
CB Tony Brown
WR Speedy Noil
DE/DT Gerald Willis
S Jamal Adams
WR Malachi Dupre
ATH Adoree Jackson
DE Lorenzo Carter
S Hootie Jones
Five are set to declare during the game this afternoon.
Fournette is largely considered one of the top two prospects in the nation, across all major sites. Many believe he's the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson. At 6'1", 230 pounds he's already built like an NFL runner, but his all-around skillset is what truly intrigues. Fournette is, quite literally, the perfect running back for the Cam Cameron offense. He's an excellent receiver out of the backfield, to go with his tremendous agility, power, and explosiveness.
His announcement has been one of the worst kept secrets in recruiting, as he's heavily, heavily an LSU lean. Expect good news. And also don't be surprised if he ascends to the top of LSU's depth chart in short order. This kid has the goods.
Brown impressed early in the week, with 247 calling him the model of the new age CB. At 6'0, 188 pounds, he's got good college size already. His outstanding athleticism is what truly excites people about his future. Tony is a nationally heralded hurdler, and intends on running track in college along with playing football. There have been reports that he may be a bit of a workout warrior, but he impressed in coverage early this week. Unfortunately, he injured his shoulder, and they are leaving his decision to play up to him.
Brown's sister, Bealoved, is already an LSU student athlete, choosing to pursue her track career. Many believe that factor alone would push him to LSU, as they are close. Outside of a few murmurs about Alabama, Brown's considered a heavy LSU lean. It'll be a surprise if he picks anyone but the Tigers.
Noil's been the star of the show all week, wowing onlookers with his route running, explosiveness and hands. No matter who is watching, they've all been impressed, particularly with the fact that he seemed to so easily transition to playing WR, despite being Edna Karr's QB this season. It's safe to say that Speedy is a special prospect.
On the recruiting front, however, things have grown murky. Throughout his recruitment, LSU has been considered a heavy favorite here, with reports that he and Willis desired to play ball together on the next level, after competing together in HS. Reports are beginning to surface that Noil may pledge to Texas A&M, the only other school that's really stood the test of time in his up and down recruitment. Noil's infatuation with A&M is clearly their unique and explosive offense, one that would use his talents superbly. He's a smaller, shifty WR, listed about the same size as Odell Beckham Jr. coming out, though I doubt he adds the 20 extra pounds we've seen Beckham put on, due to his slighter frame. Reports are that Speedy's family, specifically his mother, would prefer him to stay home. On Monday, he said his decision has been made and that his mother would be the happiest, but as the week unfolded, more and more people are beginning to think A&M is the destination. The Aggie side is very confident, and the LSU side seems to be losing faith.
The question is, how much is true? Speedy's been a kid that enjoys the attention, often making top 3 lists without LSU included. He likes the drama and attention. Could this be one last dramatic ploy before he pledges to the Tigers? Possibly. But there's a real chance he picks A&M, too. I really don't know what to believe on this one. It seems odd to me that he'd go months presumably heavily favoring LSU, only to flip to A&M days before his announcement date. He's an early enrollee as well, so the odds of his decision changing after he announces is pretty slim. Brace yourselves for bad news on this one, but it could still turn out for LSU.
Willis, the younger brother of Alabama safety Landon Collins, is a 6'3", 275 DE/DT prospect. He impressed early on, forcing the coaches to use double teams to slow him up. Reports are that he may be a bit thinner than his listed 275, and while I think he projects to DT, he may be a DE initially. Willis, like Speedy, is an early enrollee, so the months of being in a college weight training program could get him to capable size by the 2014 regular season.
Willis, like Fournette and Brown is widely considered an LSU lean. His top two are LSU and Florida. He's stated publicly that he'd like to play with Noil at the next level. LSU is the only school that is in both Willis' and Noil's top two. Whether that still holds, remains to be seen. Willis' mother, of recruiting drama fame, strongly prefers him to stay home. His father, as well, reportedly has an outstanding relationship with Frank Wilson. This is another one that would be a major upset if he didn't pick the Tigers.
Adams has drawn outstanding praise from every outlet throughout the week. Onlookers praise his range, vocal leadership and physical play (he hit a WR in a non-contact drill). Adams drew praise for his CB-like cover skills, as well. But he's a safety all the way at the next level.
His recruitment's gone a bit differently than the others, as LSU really put the press on him later in the process. Adams made a pair of trips to Baton Rouge in two weeks, first unofficially for the Arkansas game, then officially the next weekend, with a slew of LSU commits. He's close friends with current LSU commit Ed Paris. His top three include LSU, Florida, and Ole Miss, though Ole Miss is considered a distant third. His godfather, Joker Phillips, is a WR coach at Florida. But the consensus is heavily in LSU's favor on this one. Expect him to pick the Tigers.
Dupre is still hampered somewhat by a hamstring injury, one that forced him to miss the State Championship, so he hasn't had the opportunity to display his skills in full. Unlike Noil, and even Quinn somewhat, Dupre is more of the big-bodied target (6'2", 190 pounds).
Dupre's considered a heavy LSU lean, with a current 100% to LSU prediction on the Crystal Ball at 247. He won't be announcing at the game, and he still has some official visits to take. You'll probably hear a slew of rumors, but expect him to be a Tiger in the first week of February.
People have raved all week about his explosiveness and athleticism. It's not clear yet whether Jackson's future is on offense or defense, but he's a spectacular athlete, despite his slight size. LSU is still in heavy pursuit of Jackson, with USC and Florida being the other major competitors. He won't be announcing at the game, but I think LSU feels like there's a real shot to lure him from California. Jackson is originally from St. Louis, and he's done multiple interviews stating he wasn't overly enthused with USC's hire of Steve Sarkisian. This one will come down to NSD.
Carter's been impressive all week, and the 6'5" 230 pound DE looks the part of a prototypical DE under John Chavis. Carter stated this week he'll be visiting LSU on January 17th, but his top two are Georgia and Alabama, with LSU trailing a bit. Getting the official visit is huge, though, so we'll have a chance to impress. Hard to know much else about him at this point.
I've written plenty enough about Hootie. He drew some praise early for his skills in coverage and his range. His recruitment has officially reached that Twilight Zone level of WTF IS GOING ON, and honestly, I'm not about to try and navigate through all the rumors to figure out what's going on. There's some debate about whether LSU is still in play here, or even holding a spot for him, but I felt I should mention him since he's been a player we recruited all season and he's playing in this game.
Andrew Bone reported that Hootie will announce his final decision at the game tomorrow. He's an early enrollee, and I'm really not sure what he's going to say, but my guess is Ole Miss.
There's a chance that LSU could go five for five tomorrow, picking up five five-star prospects. That would be enough to propel them to the no. 1 recruiting class on 247's Team Rankings. I feel extremely confident LSU will get at least four, with Speedy Noil the lone player creating doubt. I don't really know how to feel about Speedy. He's an absolutely dynamic talent, but the high jinks turn me off a bit. If he wants to go to A&M, that's perfectly reasonable, so no need to make a game of it all. If it's all a big ruse to drum up excitement when he picks LSU, I'll wish it wasn't. If LSU had to miss on one of their top targets, Noil's loss is the easiest to endure, as LSU already has commitments from stud WR Trey Quinn, as well as speedster D.J. Chark.
Army All-American Game, January 4th, 12:00 PM CST, NBC
WR Trey Quinn
LB Clifton Garrett
CB/S Ed Paris
DE/DT Davon Godchaux
Quinn, shockingly, has torn up the competition all week. He impressed on Monday and Tuesday, with J.C. Shurburtt calling him one of the best route runners they've ever seen at the game. Quinn's been highly ranked throughout the year, but many still (rightly) feel he doesn't get his due. He's performed at a 5-star level throughout his career, and now against other national prospects, he's shining once again. I suspect Quinn will finally get that elusive fifth star in everyone's final rankings. He's simply been too good.
As for the others, I haven't read much. I've read that Garrett looks really natural, and I saw a report about a pass breakup that Paris made. Godchaux can't compete due to his injury, but he checked in 290 pounds, so his future is clearly at DT in the LSU defense. There's no drama around this quarter; all four solidly committed to LSU.
I'm a bit baffled by Kenny Young's current recruitment. LSU is considered the favorite, though there's rarely talk of their pursuit of him. Young had a fantastic senior season, capped off with a dominant performance in the State Championship, that garnered him MVP honors, as well as Outstanding Defensive Player honors in class 3A in Louisiana.
Young has really impressed all week. There are still official visits on the horizon, but I suspect LSU will begin to turn up the heat, and him to eventually join HS teammate Malachi Dupre in Baton Rouge.
Measured in at 6'3", 338 pounds, so he's a big, big boy. He's earned praise from both media and teammates, who labeled him toughest to block. Reports are that he moves exceptionally well for such a big body.
The scuttle on Valentine is interesting. Some in the LSU camp feel confident that he could be flipping to the Tigers in due time. He's stayed true to his Miami commitment for a while, re-affirming his stance as recently as Monday. Some believe he may de-commit this week, but there's no plans for him to announce. I think LSU is still hot after Valentine, but I'm always skeptical of these "silent commits" when they are pledged to another school. Valentine may be bumped to a 5-star after his dominant week of practice, and he's one to keep an eye on as the recruiting season wears on.
McDowell is 6'7", 300 pounds, and listed as a DE. He's currently committed to Michigan, but the standing of that commitment is somewhat in question for the Detroit native. Michigan and Michigan State are the presumed favorites, but McDowell reportedly has family in Louisiana, as well as a strong relationship with Brick Haley. He's scheduled to take an official visit on January 24th, so the Tigers will have a chance to put their best foot forward with him.
He won't be announcing at the game, but much like Valentine, he's one to keep an eye on.
Nacho is a 6'7 WR/TE prospect that named Oregon, Arkansas, A&M, LSU and Missouri his five finalists. He's set to announce during the game, and heavily believed to be headed to A&M. He visited LSU during the season and we seemed to grab his attention, but I think the draw of A&M will prove too strong and he'll stay in Texas for college.
HS teammate and friend to Adoree Jackson, Williams' recruitment is another one that's a bit baffling. His favorites are presumed to be Oklahoma, UCLA and Florida. He's stated the team he's committing to already knows. He will be announcing at the game. There are reports that he's scheduled an official visit to LSU in January, but we shall see. There's some reports that he and Adoree would like to play together, but their lists don't really align. I don't suspect he'll pick LSU, but stranger things have certainly happened.