Two weeks ago, Georgia LB Monty Rice surprisingly picked LSU, despite a 100% crystal ball prediction percentage of UGA. Rice, at the time of his announcement, was actually a silent Georgia commit. For the past week or so there have been murmurings that this change was in order. Today, Rice made it official and called the staff to notify them of his decision.
This is a pretty big blow to LSU’s signing class. LSU remains thin on LB targets and has only one commitment, from Livonia 4-star Patrick Queen. Rice was an EE that looked as if he could be an early contributor in Baton Rouge. Instead, the staff will now have to hit the trail hard to work on flipping other committed prospects.
Atop that list is 4-star Oklahoma commit Jacob Phillips. The staff will work to get Phillips on campus for an official visit in January in hopes of persuading him to flip.
Another player the staff will continue to try and flip is LB Chris Allen, of Baton Rouge. Allen committed to Alabama the day after Orgeron was announced as the head coaching hire. The staff has not relented on recruiting him and he recently did an interview stating LSU still has a shot and that they’ve been working hard to flip him.
A new target on the board appears to be Nick Smith, a 3-star from Orlando, that is currently committed to NC State. He’s set to visit on the last weekend in January.
LSU remains in the hunt for 4-star K’Lavon Chaisson, who recently named LSU in his top 2. Chaisson is an OLB prospect, but more in the mold of Arden Key as a pass-rushing specialist.
The major need remains at ILB. Devin White will surely fill one starting spot in Dave Aranda’s defense in 2017, but the options alongside and behind him leave a lot to be desired. Donnie Alexander looks ready to take the annual “I figured it all out as a senior and now I’m a stud” position previously occupied by Debo Jones and then Duke Riley. Adding talent to the pool here is essential, both in the 2017 class and beyond.
LSU has constantly had issues landing top flight LB recruits. Even when they do, like in the case of Clifton Garrett, they never seem to pan out. LSU’s best LBs in the past decade have largely been lower ranked gems they’ve turned into all-conference players. So, in that sense, perhaps we shouldn’t be as concerned?
Yet, talent wins ball games. And this is one unit that’s sorely in need of a talent influx.