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LSU Football Recruiting: What Targets Remain?

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Taking stock of where the Tigers sit with the early signing period two weeks away.

Auburn v LSU Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

After last night’s break with Ja’Quon Griffin, LSU’s signing class is currently sitting at 18 total commitments. O has emphasized he’d like to sign all of these players during the early signing period in two weeks. Assuming all 18 sign, that leaves seven open spots to fill out the class to a full 25. Let’s take a look at LSU’s remaining big board, again assuming all 18 current verbal commits sign.

Quarterback (1)

The staff will take one. We’re down to a handful of names.

Justin Rogers - 4 star

The in-state star was sidelined due to a horrific leg injury early during his senior season. He committed to TCU back in May, though the staff has stayed after him. Rogers took an official visit to Baton Rouge during the Texas A&M game. The staff is still seemingly trying to flip him, but all signs point to him ultimately sticking with TCU.

James Foster - 4 Star

Foster became a hot name a few weeks ago, after receiving offers from LSU, Alabama, FSU and others. He promptly de-committed from Missouri. He still has a full allotment of official visits and recently named this top five:

He then removed FSU and named Alabama a contender and then again yesterday, said FSU is back in the mix. I think Foster is the guy most expect to wind up in LSU’s class though FSU and Bama may present serious competition. How his OVs shake out should be interesting to monitor. My guess is that either Arizona or Kentucky would wind up getting dropped for FSU/Bama. The crystal ball shows 100-percent LSU with predictions all coming in the last month or so. I think LSU are the prohibitive favorites and the staff will prioritize his commitment, perhaps either trying to get his last official or pressing for a commitment and cancellation of remaining visits.

Gerry Bohanon - 4 Star

Bohanon’s name shot up the board around the same time as Foster, begging the question which quarterback the staff would prioritize. Bohanon took an official visit during the Arkansas game, but things have been very quiet since then. The crystal ball in heavily tilted to Baylor, though with only one recent prediction. My guess is the staff turned eyes to Foster and Rogers and were okay letting Bohanon pass.

Prediction

I expect one commitment here and I expect it to be James Foster. The staff feels confident, but Bama and FSU’s presence is not to be ignored. My guess here is the staff will push Foster to commit and never step foot on either campus. LSU has explored late-bloomer Matthew Baldwin of Texas high school power Lake Travis, but as of today he doesn’t have a scholarship offer. If that changes, that could signal that they don’t feel confident in Foster.

Running Back (1)

Currently sitting on two commitments, the staff will look to sign one more player.

Harold Joiner - 4 Star

The 6-3, 218-pound Alabama back has been the focus of RB recruiting for the bulk of the year. His crystal ball points 100-percent LSU. He’s yet to take any official visits, though did take in unofficial visits to Alabama (twice), Auburn and Ole Miss in recent months. Still, most believe he will wind up in Baton Rouge, who he has repeatedly named his favorite. Joiner is a fringe top 100 player and would be the highest rated RB, ahead of Chris Curry and Tae Provens, for this signing class.

Anthony “Pooka” Williams - 3 Star

The three-star from Hahnville is presently committed to Kansas. At 5’8”, 165, he’s a diminutive back, but a true game breaker. Many believe he’s the best back in the state of Louisiana and even one of the top backs in the Southeast. However, academic difficulties have caused his recruitment to unfold slowly. LSU offered back in September and he took an unofficial that same month. Things have slowly picked up and reportedly his academics are in much better standing now. He seems like more of a niche back that could be dynamite as the jet sweep man in Matt Canada’s offense.

Prediction

There’s been too much smoke with Joiner for too long for me to think it breaks differently at this juncture. Williams is a nice piece, but I’m guessing he’d only wind up in this class as either a fallback option OR a potential gray shirt type.

Receiver (2-3)

Cloudy picture here.

Terrace Marshall - 5 Star

Marshall, like Parkway teammate Justin Rogers, was sidelined with an injury this year. Unlike Rogers, Marshall is widely considered a heavy LSU lean. He’s taken visits to FSU, Texas, Texas A&M and for the A&M game at LSU. He will sign in the early period and enroll early at his school of choice. LSU is still the betting favorite here, but there’s some late chatter of A&M working back into the mix with the Fisher hire. Considering he’s already taken his official visit there, I think those odds are slim.

Justin Watkins - 4 star

The former LSU/FSU/Texas (yes, you read that right) pledge, is back on the market and now down to a final two of LSU and Alabama. Watkins is an exciting player with the ball in his hands, and would be an excellent slot option in Matt Canada’s offense. Like with Marshall, betting odds are on LSU here. Unlike Marshall, he will not be announcing until the Under Armour All-American game and signing during the later period.

JaMarr Chase - 4 star

The staff is still hot after Chase, and he will not sign until the later period. He’s presently uncommitted and took an official visit to Michigan with TCU on the horizon. The staff will keep leaning on him, but it hasn’t seemed to make a dent yet.

Devonta Jason - 4 star

He’s still committed to Kansas, in a bit of a shock. LSU has long been after Jason, but a reported visit during the A&M game didn’t come to fruition when the staff had it pushed so they could focus attention on Marshall. Late money seems to be on Mississippi State here.

Lawrence Keys III - 4 star

LSU remains in pursuit. He’s more of a slot option at 5’10”, 160 pounds. My guess here? He’s a back-up option to Justin Watkins. If Watkins somehow pops for Bama, the staff will dial up the heat on Keys. If not, he will wind up at Houston or Notre Dame.

Prediction

This is a really tough call. You start penciling in too many of these guys and you run out of numbers quickly. At the end of the day, I’m betting on Marshall and Watkins to sign with the duo of Jaray Jenkins and Kenan Jones.

Tight End (1)

LSU already has a commitment from a move TE in Zach Sheffer, so I expect only one more take in this class.

Glenn Beal - 3 Star

At 6-5, 250, Beal is a huge man for a high school senior. He’s a true blocking tight end that will hearken back to the Les Miles power football days of old. Beal is a fine player, but I do wonder if his offer is a bit contingent on how the rest of the class shakes out. Most expect him to wind up at LSU, but if JaMarr Chase wants in does the staff still hold to that?

Prediction

I think Beal winds up with a spot.

Offensive Line (1-2)

All eyes on one junior college target and trying to steal another.

Badara Traore - 4 Star

The big guy from New York is receiving an in-home from O today. This one is down to a Texas/LSU battle and even Horns writers are predicting him to LSU. Looking good here.

Dylan Wonnum - 4 Star

LSU has steadily recruited Wonnum all season and Grimes has taken to Georgia twice in the last couple of weeks to visit him. He has yet to take any official visits. Regionally this one makes a ton of sense, though there’s been little talk of his recruitment. Wonnum is currently crystal balled to South Carolina.

Nicholas Petit-Frere - 5 Star

Like Wonnum, there’s been little action here, but Grimes is trying to get into the game with multiple visits in the past two weeks. Petit-Frere is your prototypical long, athletic tackle. The crystal ball projects him to Florida, but there are votes for Notre Dame and Alabama as well. He still holds his full allotment of visits. You would think this is a long shot, but Grimes is a helluva recruiter.

Daniel Faalele - 3 Star

Faalele is 6’8” and 400 POUNDS. The IMG product has an equal split of Michigan/Georgia/Tennessee predictions. Another guy Grimes has visited multiple times in recent weeks.

Curtis Dunlap - 4 Star

Dunlap de-committed from Florida today. He holds an LSU offer, so I’m just speculating that Grimes may try and get back in with him here.

Prediction

LSU will sign Traore. I have a lot of faith in Grimes to pull a shocker, though LSU has really been on the fringe with these guys and spots are really tight.

Defensive Line (1-2)

Pretty full class already, but still some targets out there.

Dominic Livingston - 3 Star

This is the big one, literally. The 340-pound nose tackle de-committed from A&M in October. He’s considered an LSU lean, and is set to visit this weekend. Could a commitment be looming?

Prediction

Guessing Livingston winds up in the class. Nose tackle depth is an unsexy position to recruit, but can pay major dividends down the road.

Linebacker (0)

No real targets here. LSU is set with their current commitments after taking a big LB haul last season.

Prediction

LSU finishes with their current commitments.

Defensive Backs (2-3)

Several big targets on the board.

Patrick Surtain Jr. - 5 Star

The big fish of the 2018 signing class. Surtain is a heavy LSU lean and you’d think Jimbo Fisher’s departure from FSU can only help that. He named LSU his leader in October. Everyone thinks he’s coming to Baton Rouge. He won’t be signing early, however.

Anthony Cook - 5 Star

LSU and Corey Raymond have done a phenomenal job recruiting Cook. The five-star from Houston has already pushed his decision date back, but he is an early enrollee so it looms. Betting money is on Texas, but LSU continues to give Cook something to think about with how Texas finished their season and the continued slew of DBs put into the NFL. I’m guessing the home team wins, but amazing work to get this far.

Kelvin Joseph - 4 Star

The top-50 player and former LSU commit re-opened things back in October. He won’t sign early, and he’s only taken a single official to FSU. Thus, Bama and LSU visits still await. But I think the staff feels good about their position here.

Joe Foucha - 3 Star

New Orleans safety is more of a back-burner option that the staff is keeping touch with.

Prediction

Surtain Jr. and Joseph to close it out. I want to believe on Cook, but I think the lure of UT will wind up being too much.

Making the Math Work

So here’s my predictions:

James Foster, QB
Harold Joiner, RB
Terrace Marshall, WR
Justin Watkins, WR
Glenn Beal, TE
Badara Traore, OT
Dominic Livingston, DL
Patrick Surtain Jr., DB
Kelvin Joseph, DB

If you are crunching numbers, you can already tell they don’t add up. How can LSU add 9 more when they will cap this class at 25? I’m not entirely sure. I’ve long argued throughout the season this class isn’t terribly impressive for Orgeron’s first go. There’s some quality depth in the current commits, but it truly lacks star power. That star power will come in the remaining targets, which should drive up the ranking.

I don’t know how they will bend the numbers to work, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the lesser ranked players in the class wound up elsewhere. Can they get creative with back counting Damien Lewis, Badara Traore and Travez Moore? From all I’ve read, no. But who knows.

What about the receiver quandary? What if Cook does want to jump on board? What if LSU can get into the mix with one of these top ranked offensive tackles?

The staff has some decisions to make, but having too many prospects that want to come is a nice problem to have.