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Recruiting Weekend Visitors: Jan. 20-22

Two weekends, eight spots, it’s crunch time

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Louisiana State vs Louisville Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Following one of the busiest recruiting weekends for LSU this season, Coach Orgeron and the staff still have two more weekends remaining before the big day approaches on February 1. While this weekend isn’t as prospect-heavy as last weekend was, there’s still a few significant names that will be in town of great importance to Dave Aranda.

The List

Willie Gay (4-Star LB, Uncommitted)

It’s time to put the money, well in his case his signature, where his mouth is for Willie Gay. With how much the talented linebacker praised LSU during his time at the Army All-American Game, you would have thought that he had been committed to the Tigers since he was about a sophomore. However, the Mississippi product is still uncommitted and will be taking his final official visit this weekend. After the Bulldogs got their shot last weekend, the Tigers get the final shot.

The Skinny:

With a good visit, I think this is a done deal. I understand some recruits like the limelight, especially when it’s shining bright on them like it would at an all-star game. I do believe there is a lot of truth and merit to Gay’s interest in LSU and the fact that Patrick Queen is the only current LB commit is a huge draw. Add in the fact he is being coached by Aranda and will be on one of the nation’s top defenses, there’s way too much going for the Tigers, despite the usual tough challenge of pulling a recruit from Mississippi.

Jacob Phillips (4-Star LB, Oklahoma Commit)

The other, but less quiet, part of the duo that heaped praise at LSU during the Army All-American Game, Jacob Phillips is in the mold of a MLB that defensive coordinators like Aranda dream of. At 6’3.5” and 228 lbs., Phillips is a large figure in the middle combined with athleticism you wouldn’t expect from a guy his size. The Tennessee product has been committed to Oklahoma since October, but when Ed Orgeron was given the head coaching position, the interest in Phillips ramped up. Unfortunately, it seemed like it might be too late as Phillips had already burnt up his official visits.

However, with the power of the staff, primarily Orgeron, Aranda and Austin Thomas, and a linebacker from Mississippi, Phillips has decided to take an UNOFFICIAL visit to Baton Rouge with both of his parents. What that means is they are buying three plane tickets to visit a school two weeks before National Signing Day. Speaks volumes right?

The Skinny:

Phillips has stated he is still committed to Oklahoma. The insiders state that Phillips is firm and they are certain he will stay put. Doesn’t this sound like a certain linebacker LSU had committed last year? Erick Fowler perhaps? Not only is the family paying their own way, but five coaches from Oklahoma, including head coach Bob Stoops paid an in-home visit to Phillips this week prior to the visit. You know what that smells like? Desperation. Smells like a head coach that knows if he lets Phillips board that plane, he has lost a key recruit he has had committed for months. Add in the fact that Willie Gay will be there this weekend and his Tennessee buddy, Jacoby Stevens, is already enrolled. Well, I think that spells out one letter...

Markaviest Bryant (4-Star DE, Uncommitted)

Like the sales pitch K’Lavon Chaisson got last weekend, Markaviest Bryant will get a similar pitch as if Aranda is selling timeshares to a condo. While listed as a defensive end on the recruiting sites, at 6’4” and 226 lbs., Bryant is in that same mold as Arden Key and Chaisson, assuming that role opens once Key heads pro after next season.

The Skinny:

While things look good for the first two mentioned in this article, Aranda and LSU have their work cut out for them if they want to reel in Bryant. The Georgia product has the Bulldogs in the lead spot with Auburn slightly behind him. We’ve definitely seen crazier things happen this close to NSD, like the recruitment of Key, so it remains to be seen what happens. The staff may also slow play a little just to keep the door wide open for Chaisson if they, and hopefully later commit Marvin Wilson, can convince him.

Marlon Williams (3-Star WR, Uncommitted)

Dameyune Craig is adamant about adding one more wide receiver to the class of Mannie Netherly and Stephen Guidry as evidenced with two WR recruits visiting last week. This week it will be former Southern Cal commit Marlon Williams’ turn to get the sales pitch, and it could lead to a commit as we get closer to February 1st. Williams had a solid showing at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game, and at 6’1” 180 lbs., Williams showed the sharp routes and hands that got the attention of teams like LSU, Tennessee, Ole Miss and USC, who he de-committed from on January 10 after being committed to the Trojans for nearly a year.

The Skinny:

Craig has ramped up his recruitment of Williams since his performance at the All-Star game, and that could pay dividends for the Tigers. Williams may be underrated, but his skillset and work ethic are things a coach loves to have. He is friends with current LSU commit Neil Farrell, who is also visiting this weekend.

Justin Harris (3-Star DE, Uncommitted)

A late addition to this visitor list, Justin Harris was supposed to be visiting Texas A&M this weekend and LSU next, but concerns about academics caused one side or the other to cancel his visit to A&M this weekend and Harris will instead be in Baton Rouge. He replaced his original visit to LSU next week with one to Baylor, but it remains to be seen if he makes that trip as well. A previous Central Florida commit, Harris was initially skeptical about LSU as the staff under Miles wanted him at TE. With Orgeron at the helm, the interest has more turned to Harris playing at DE, but there’s still the option of moving to offense, whichever gets him on the field the soonest.

The Skinny:

Like previously mentioned, Harris has some current grade concerns, so while the interest is there for LSU to add Harris to this class, expect this visit to be more of an exploratory one for the staff in getting something down with Harris that he can turn things around and be good to go at the end of this semester.

The Commits

While the fans will have their attention to the previously four mentioned recruits, six LSU commits will also be taking their officials visits. Myles Brennan, Stephen Guidry, Patrick Queen, Neil Farrell, Saahdiq Charles and Seth Stewart will all be in Baton Rouge this weekend as well. Two commits of note are Neil Farrell, who has a visit to Florida state left but that may not happen after this weekend or there will be nothing to worry about. The other is Patrick Queen, who has become friends with Willie Gay and will likely be around both Gay and Phillips this weekend in an attempt to shore up the linebacker class.

But Corey, Will There Be Any Commits?

Like I mentioned in my recap of last weekend’s visits, we are so close to NSD that a lot of these recruits will just wait to make their announcement in February, bringing a little anticipation and excitement to their choice. If he is really pressed this weekend, I could possibly see Marlon Williams commiting, but don’t expect to see anything happen with the other three. However, expect good news from the first two in a couple of weeks.