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LSU and The Opening: 2017 Preview

LSU commits and recruits will be in action.

The Opening Header

All of the summer activities for the high school football recruits culminate with the marquee Nike event in Beaverton, Oregon. While the focus is primarily on the 7-on-7 tournament, it’s not the only thing that goes on throughout the weekend.

SB Nation’s national recruiting team has a ton of information here and here, and will have updates as things break.

Ja’Marr Chase decides July 2nd, Down to LSU and TCU

It appears officially that Archbishop Rummel wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is the only recruit making a commitment at the event, and it just so happens that LSU is right in the thick of it. The four-star Chase, who is due for a big rankings bump, has been one of TCU’s primary targets in Louisiana, and after getting a commitment from Justin Rogers, they are starting to build a little momentum. At the same time, Chase does love the home-state Tigers, but like most offensive recruits, he has some reservations about the offense under Canada and would like to see that to cement his status on LSU. If I had to choose, I would pick LSU right now, but even so, I would say it’s probably 55-45 and 60-40 at best. A duo of Terrace Marshall and Chase could definitely rival some of the top duos LSU has had at the position and in the SEC in general.

Training Camp

On Saturday, the players are put through a combine-esque slate of workouts using Nike’s unique rating system to give them a total score to see who can reign supreme. From a 40-yard dash to testing the vertical, everything is put to the test for the athletes. Speedy Noil and Landon Collins have put on a show in previous years.

Lineman Challenge

On Sunday morning, before the big event gets underway, the offensive and defensive linemen go head-to-head to see who can advance to the finals on Monday and see which side of the ball will come away victorious.

7-on-7 Tournament

What most people wait on, the pool play for the tournament — complete with its usual assortment of colorful names — gets under way on Sunday with the first round happening that night and the finals the next day. As always, LSU is well-represented at the event. Full rosters are available here, via The Mothership.

Team Alpha Menace

You can basically ignore this team. The only recruit of note on their roster is Harold Joiner III, but after taking Curry, Provens and Carter, Joiner dropped LSU from his list so even he isn’t one to focus on.

Team Hyper Strong

While the roster boasts zero LSU commits, there is still a number of players to watch. Even though it was just mentioned LSU took three running backs, Florida State commit James Cook will still be a target of the staff until NSD. Tommy Bush got some attention earlier in the summer and the wide receiver could see the heat increase if some of the names higher on the board drop. The Australian Daniel Faalele is a monster, albeit a raw monster, at offensive line at 6’8” and 390 lbs. and is a guy Jeff Grimes has continued to recruit. This will be a good opportunity to see what he has before his IMG season starts. If he shows out, expect Grimes to increase his attention to the big man. American Heritage cornerback teammates Patrick Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell round out the recruits of note. Surtain has been Corey Raymond’s prized target for 2018, and with the New Orleans connections, LSU appears to be in the driver’s seat and speeding off with this one. Campbell is a little more open, and while Ohio State, where Andrew Chatfield, another teammate, is committed, has gained the recent momentum, there could be a renewed interest in LSU if Surtain were to commit soon.

Team Mach Speed

LSU normally has one team at these events that represent the purple and gold. This would be that squad with Vapor Speed a close second. If you want to think LSU still has a shot at Justin Fields, he’s the main QB for this team. Maybe Canada’s offense will gain some interest from Fields but it remains to be seen for now. John Emery is one of the very few 2019 recruits that was invited, something they do every year. With Tyrion Davis committed already, Emery is a good option to complete that in-state 1-2 punch for 2019. Wide receiver Kamryn Babb is getting renewed interest in LSU again and is definitely near the top of the board.

Tight end Luke Ford shot LSU up his list after his time at the Elite Camp last weekend. LSU commit Nelson Jenkins III will join LSU commit-for-now Adam Anderson on the d-line. Anderson is going to be a challenge with former LSU commit and HS teammate Jamarcus Chatman now committed to Tennessee, but don’t expect Orgeron to go down with a strong fight. LSU commit and Nelson’s high school teammate Micah Baskerville gets the nod at linebacker for the team — he is also one of several current three-star recruits in LSU’s class that could likely gain in the rankings after this event.

Kelvin Joseph rounds out the LSU commits on this team at defensive back. Joseph has been rumored to be an Alabama concern, but he continuously puts out good vibes for the Tigers, so Raymond must be doing something right. Former-LSU-turned-Texas commit Caden Sterns is also on this team, along with Texas A&M commit Leon O’Neal, who for some reason recently talked trash to Derrius Guice on Twitter. First off, stupid idea to go after a guy like Guice, and secondly, he won’t ever see Guice on the college field, and likely the NFL field. So maybe we can get some in-team trash talking going on in the secondary.

Team Savage Pro

Like Alpha Menace, nothing really to watch here. This is your Florida squad with 10 Miami commits highlighting the roster. I guess Mark Richt is doing something right down there in Miami.

Team Untouchable

Another team that doesn’t really garner much LSU interest, but has a few recruits of note. Wide receiver Joshua Moore showed a lot of interest in LSU before committing to Nebraska earlier in the summer. Don’t expect anything to change, but you never know with these kids. Jalen Preston seems to be favoring Texas A&M, but we all know the hot seat Kevin Sumlin is sitting on in College Station. If there’s a coaching change, expect LSU to try and steal that driver’s seat for Preston, who has shown interest in LSU in the past. Michael Thompson is another out of Missouri, like Babb, that has gotten a lot of interest from LSU and could be a solid candidate for Orgeron on the defensive line. Corione Harris is one of the odd Kansas commits out of Louisiana and was once an LSU commit. His spot in the 2018 class may be gone now, but things can change and he could find himself a primary target once again.

Team Vapor Speed

Last but certainly not least. If Hyper Strong is 1A in terms of LSU interest, Vapor Speed would be 1B. Quarterback Justin Rogers committed to TCU back at the end of May, but don’t expect Canada to go quietly into the night. If the offense comes out looking sharp, expect Rogers to start wavering. Hopefully, by the time the 7-on-7 gets underway Ja’Marr Chase will be a commit to the home-state Tigers. If he winds up choosing TCU, just see what I wrote about Rogers. Marshall has a final four of LSU, Texas, Texas A&M and Miami (although most believe TCU is a hidden finalist due to Rogers commitment), but LSU seems to be in the driver’s seat here. Don’t think he won’t try to get one final word in Chase’s ear before he decides.

Brennan Eagles, who is committing on July 17th, had shown a lot of interest in LSU previously, but it seems Eagles is likely Texas bound. That shine could wear off on Tom Herman quick if things falter during the season, and the interest from LSU could heat up if Chase were to choose and stay firm to TCU so keep tabs on Eagles. Ohio State commit Andrew Chatfield was a huge rush end target of Orgeron and Aranda before committing to the Buckeyes. If high school teammate Surtain commits to LSU and fellow teammate Campbell follows suit, there may be some renewed interest.

Cornerbacks Anthony Cook and Jalen Green finish off the roster. Both have a lot of attention from Corey Raymond with Cook probably the focal point right behind Surtain. Ohio State has gained momentum with Cook recently, along with in-state Texas, but he knows the pedigree of DBU. Green seems to be favoring the Longhorns as well, but LSU has had a lot of success in his neck of the woods in Houston and would like for that to continue.

Follow along with SB Nation’s team coverage here: