We’re sprinting to the finish in the 2017 recruiting cycle, with 3 big official visit weekends on the horizons, beginning this weekend, with the most star-packed group of them all. LSU’s class is currently sitting at 19 commitments and will likely take 6-8 more players in this cycle and close out as well as anyone in the country in these final weeks.
Let’s take a look at the visitors this weekend and where LSU stands with them.
Wilson is the primary target on the board for Orgeron and staff. The single biggest fish still out there to pull in. They’ve long been in the mix, though at times, various outlets have believed he’s been a lean to FSU and then Ohio State. Not coincidentally, in my opinion, those perspectives came on the heels of his visits to each. This is a major point in LSU’s favor, as Wilson presently has no other visits scheduled and he’s already visited three of the others in his top five (Ohio State, Florida State and Oklahoma). South Florida is the lone team excluded, but it’s not likely he will make a trip to Tampa.
Some Florida State folks remain confident, but my guess is that is because of his strong visit to Tallahassee. However, that visit was all the way back in October, and Orgeron has a strong chance to close on this one. Wilson’s bond with Coach O is tight and Baton Rouge remains in close proximity to Houston. In the end, I think there’s a strong chance the good guys win out.
Just after the New Year, LSU’s linebacker haul looked in dire straits. Dylan Moses opted to stick with his Bama commitment. Monty Rice flipped to Georgia after verbally committing to LSU. Things continued to look bleak with Chris Allen. And no other elite talents seemed significantly at play.
Fast foward 10 days and LSU is suddenly swimming in top 250 players at the position. Taylor looks to be a lean to his home state Georgia Bulldogs, but he’ll be on campus to hear Aranda’s pitch this weekend. Could that be enough to change his mind? I’m not counting on it.
The four-star stud from Amite remains a top priority in this class. Things looked dead in the water for a while, but Orgeron has slowly restored bonds. LSU, Alabama and Miami, in that order, will receive his three official visits. Smith is very much up for grabs at this point, and I wouldn’t consider any school to have a significant lead. Many expect he will pen with Alabama, but LSU has made significant headway and he’s apparently liking what he hears from new OC Matt Canada.
This one will come down to the wire, and LSU needs to make a strong impression on Smith this weekend to remain in the chase.
Mathis’ recruitment has largely been pretty quiet throughout the season. This one comes down to a two-team race between, you guessed, LSU and Alabama. Like Smith, opinions seem pretty mixed on this one. How his visits go the next two weeks will likely determine where he signs. LSU must emphasize he’s a priority to their class and not just a guy playing second fiddle to the more highly acclaimed Marvin Wilson.
It’s worth noting that Mathis is from Monroe, an area where LSU has struggled in recruiting in recent years. Can O rebuild that pipeline? He is former teammates with Rashard Lawrence, so I wouldn’t be shocked if that’s his host for the weekend. As with Smith, the staff needs to make a big impression here. It wouldn’t shock me if they pushed for his commitment and for him to not make his trip to Tuscaloosa next weekend.
McMath is a receiver a lot of evaluators really like. At 6’3”, 215 pounds he’s got SEC ready size right now, but it’s not clear if he has a committable offer at this point. McMath will visit LSU this weekend and A&M next weekend, and he also included Mississippi State in his top three. Whether or not McMath winds up at LSU will likely depend on if LSU really wants him.
Harris, from Plaquemine — just a few minutes outside of Baton Rouge — has official visits lined up to LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss over the next three weekends. Most believe this will also be an LSU/Alabama battle. LSU already has two top 100 safeties on campus in Jacoby Stevens and Grant Delpit, so Harris is, in some ways, a luxury recruit. Of course it’s always nice to have talented depth in the backfield.
Chaisson named a top two of LSU and Texas, though he will take official visits to LSU, Texas, USC and Colorado over the next few weeks. The house money is on Texas here, as it seems, much like Eric Fowler last year, Chaisson’s momma wants him at home.
That said, Chaisson seems to love LSU and this is the weekend to win momma over, much like Orgeron was able to do with the Key family just a few short years ago. Chaisson, unlike the other remaining linebacker targets in this class, is a pure pass-rushing LB prospect that’s being recruited under the promise of filling Key’s role. Ultimately, though, it seems what momma wants will be the deciding factor here.
Brooks initiated contact with the staff and will be visiting on Monday, after taking in Oregon over the weekend. Notre Dame seems like the favorite for his commitment, but it’s interesting he sought out LSU and put the wheels in motion for this relationship. Could the staff make a major splash on Monday? It should allow for plenty of one-on-one time, which may prove beneficial in this case.
Tommy Moffitt’s will be taking his only scheduled official visit to Baton Rouge this weekend. No worries here, but will be nice having a long time commit on campus to help recruit.
Listed as an athlete on most sites, Kirklin will come to LSU as a defensive back. He’s a Warrick Dunn award finalist. Kirklin won’t take any other visits and there’s no concern here, but like Moffitt, will be nice to have on campus.
LSU’s lone RB commit became a very important recruit once Cam Akers opted to sign with FSU. CEH put a little scare into LSU fans when he said he was re-opening his commitment a few weeks back, but he quickly recanted after a phone call from Orgeron. CEH is here to stay and may prove to be a very important recruit if the staff is unable to sign another RB.
Shelvin gave some odd quotes a couple weeks ago saying he wasn’t 100-percent committed, but no one seems much concerned. The top-50 player isn’t going anywhere and may prove especially important this weekend, due to his close bond with Marvin Wilson. He should be helping in the recruiting process.
Another long time LSU commit, Vincent has a bond with Chaisson and Wilson, which makes the timing of his visit seem to be entirely calculated by Orgeron and staff. Vincent loves LSU, and won’t be making any other visits, so like the other commits, he will be in town to help lure other top players.
Ingram, much like fellow East Texas commit Kary Vincent, will be on campus to help recruit Marvin Wilson and K’Lavon Chaisson. This is smart strategy by the staff, trying to bring together recruits with a common bond.
The staff’s FB commitment will also be in tow to take in his lone official visit and help recruit.
I imagine most will wait until National Signing Day at this point. NSD could be the most action packed day for LSU in recent memory. Orgeron has the Tigers in play for a high number of elite players, many of which are waiting for NSD announcements. It’s another sign of a shift in philosophy, as Miles often locked up his class in the preceding weeks with only a player or three with signing day announcements. Orgeron, who is proving to be a PR master, wants those early February headlines to help generate excitement for his program.
I don’t anticipate any commits this weekend, but hold on to your hats, folks. We’re in for a wild finish.
Huge news broke last night when it was revealed that Alabama commitment Chris Allen would no longer be taking an OV to Tuscaloosa this weekend and instead is headed to Baton Rouge. This is a significant bit of news and a major boon for LSU. Clearly the full court press will be on this weekend to lure Allen to stay home and play for the Tigers and to never take his official visit to Alabama.