The weekend has finally come that recruitniks are most excited for during the football offseason. The Spring Game. Fans get their first glimpse at their team in action, the early enrollee freshmen and how the team will replace their departures. For the coaches, it gives them a chance to bring in a number of recruits to showcase their team and make yet another solid impression before the season begins. With the recruiting talent on this coaching staff, it comes as no surprise they have put together one remarkable list. And with that, let’s get under way
One Huge Surprise
Yes, he may be the younger brother of former Seminole Dalvin Cook, but five-star Florida State commit James Cook will be in attendance. It was reported recently that running backs coach Tommie Robinson and the staff had been in constant contact with Cook, and now it looks like that attention has paid dividends.
While it will be a near impossible task to pry Cook from FSU, the staff has two solid angles. First, the depth chart. Florida State reeled in five-stars Cam Akers, the No. 1 running back, and Khalan Laborn, the No. 1 all-purpose back, along with four-star Zaquandre White last year. Those three alone provide a crowded backfield. A quick look at the LSU depth chart shows after Guice is gone, there is a huge opening for the starter. The other: setting his own legacy. His brother Dalvin basically owns the Florida State record book at the position. Does James want to play in that shadow and face that constant comparison? He can blaze his own trail in Baton Rouge, a place even he recognized as “RBU” (yes, I understand the acronyms are becoming a little more, but I just write what’s printed). Either way, Robinson can only put LSU’s best foot forward here.
Commits Will Be Doing Their Part
LSU will have a number of their 2018 and 2019 commits in attendance. All 13 commits from the 2018 class are scheduled, and two of the three 2019 commits in Kardell Thomas and Kenyon Green will be there doing their part to help those numbers grow. That is huge for the staff to have 15 players currently committed to the Tigers there to help in recruiting some of the bigger names in attendance so every recruit can get their share of attention from their position coach.
The In-State Crop
A who’s who list of top Louisiana recruits will be in attendance, headlined by a few names. The biggest focus may be on the Parkway duo of QB Justin Rogers and WR Terrace Marshall. Rogers has said he wants to commit before The Opening starts on June 2, so this could be the last time the staff has him on campus. TCU holds a slight lead, but Matt Canada will get his marquee shot to haul him in. Rogers decision will likely have a huge ripple effect, starting with Marshall. The five-star receiver may be the best receiver I’ve seen come from the state in a long time, and those two could be a huge start for Canada’s first year. Rogers has also said he would recruit four-star receiver JaMarr Chase, who will also be in attendance.
Two names that have seen constant Alabama mentions, Crimson Tide de-commit Dare Rosenthal and current LSU commit Kelvin Joseph will be visiting. Rosenthal has been very quiet since his de-commitment, leading many to believe he won’t stray too far from home for college. If LSU is DBU, Alabama may be DBU Jr., which is part of the reason Corey Raymond has his work cut out keeping Joseph in Baton Rouge. Recent reports have put Joseph in the more solid side of things, but you never know these days.
The 2019 in-state crop will be represented by running backs Tyrion Davis and John Emery and defensive tackle Ishmael Sophser. When it come to Sophser, the staff won’t be able to breathe easy until he is actually on campus. Most already know the Amite debacle, and the “Barber” controversy, so anything is skeptical right now when it comes to that area. With Emery, expect he and former Louisiana and Texas resident, and current IMG attendee Noah Cain to be the two headliners at RB for LSU in 2019. If they took three, Davis would be a solid close.
Sorry Aggies, WE Run This State
With something that has begun to be repeated like a broken record, LSU continues to find success recruiting in the Lone Star State and 2018 is no different with three of the current 13 commits from Texas to go along with Kenyon Green for 2019. Don’t expect LSU to stay at that three with a slew of marquee Texas names highlighted by cornerbacks Anthony Cook and Jalen Green. At some point, other defensive back coaches are going to realize Corey Raymond will take who he wants, then they can fight for what’s left. Wide receivers Brennan Eagles and Jaylen Waddle have spots for them in a loaded receiver class for LSU. Other names to watch for 2018 include Joseph Ossai, Keondre Coburn, Chad Bailey and Rafiti Ghirmai.
Like with the attention Matt Canada has paid to Justin Rogers, the offensive coordinator has his eyes set on Grant Gunnell for 2019. While Texas A&M is the presumed leader for Gunnell, along with the fact his older brother is a preferred walk-on at College Station, that can be changed quickly. Canada has made a huge impression on Gunnell and this weekend will give him yet another prime opportunity to leave an impression.
Okay, But Who Is Going To Commit?
Even though we’re nearly halfway full with our 2018 class if the projections for a class of 30 holds true, there’s always the chance of that number growing. Any time tight end Glenn Beal is on campus, there’s a good chance his commitment could pop. He nearly did it back on NSD, so it could come at any point. LSU is nearing the point where the rest on their list is the big names that will let the process play out, but a wide receiver like Eagles could look to make 100-percent sure he has a spot in that loaded WR class by committing. Maybe someone like Emery from recent LSU feeder school Destrehan could make some noise for the 2019 class.
Mentioned previously, this stuff put their recruiting bravado out there for all to see with this list, which looks to be one of the best Spring Game lists. Add in the fact these recruits will get to see a new offense and the second year of an impressive defense under Aranda, albeit one with a number of integral parts from his debut season missing that will allow Aranda to show the recruits that you will play if you have the talent. The staff may need the voodoo artists of New Orleans to collaborate with the rain gods to try and keep the rain away, but like they always say “It never rains in Tiger Stadium.” Either way, the staff will ensure this weekend is a great one for the recruits, rain or shine.