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Which Way Did He Go: An LSU-Esque CFB Preview

Let’s put an LSU spin on a CFB preview.

If you’re like me, you’ve grown past the going out to the games, preferring the relaxing environment of kicking back in the recliner, beer in hand (I’m more of a Corona guy when it comes to relaxing Saturdays) some good hot wings, two games on rotation on the TV and another on the tablet. From 11 in the morning to about 10 at night, you are situated in the chair outside of refills and trips to the bathroom.

The problem is some need more motivation to watch two teams that have no correlation to LSU or are unranked teams but that’s all there is at that time slot. Insert this article. Tigers transfer out to other schools, head to JuCo and then wind up at other schools, recruits go elsewhere at the last minute. This will put all of those players in one easy-to-find article, so keep this by your side for the coming Saturdays when you are wondering to yourself why you are watching that game.

Preface: Since this is slightly in advance of opening depth charts, I’ll be using Phil Steele’s preview for the players spot on the depth charts.

Alabama: You could write a whole article on the LSU-Alabama recruiting battles, so I’ll try to keep it brief. Isaiah Buggs is listed as a backup to the drunken sleeper Da’Shawn Hand at defensive end. Expect to see Dylan Moses and Chris Allen to get playing time at LB throughout the season. Tony Brown may have a record for the number of times in Saban’s doghouse, but he is still listed as the starting nickel back. Hootie Jones has been a bust so far and is listed as the backup SS behind Minkah Fitzpatrick. If you want an odd one, Joseph Bulovas may be Alabama’s starting kicker as a freshman after LSU’s staff decided on not taking another kicker. I know there’s plenty more, but do you really need more reasons to watch Alabama?

Arkansas: Once an LSU commit out of high school, Brandon Martin couldn’t get in due to his grades, went the JuCo route, where he got a little more interest from the Tigers, but wound up at Arkansas, where he’s listed as a starter at receiver. Quarterback Cole Kelley, who many were praying LSU would take due to his 6-7 frame and arm, is listed as the Razorbacks No. 3 QB and at 258 pounds. Pillsbury Throwboy Part II? Briston Guidry is listed as a starting DE as a redshirt freshman. Linebacker De’Jon Harris was another that LSU fans were pining for, but at 6’0 and 255 pounds, had a little too odd of a frame but is listed as their starting middle linebacker. Henre’ Toliver has made the most of his time, returning as a starter at CB. There’s always recruits that come on late in their process, Santos Ramirez, who is a starting safety, was one of those but never got enough interest.

Auburn: The SEC will always have a decent number of players throughout for the in-conference battles. Nate Craig-Myers, listed as a starting wide receiver, was one of the Florida receivers LSU is always in on. Prince Tega Wanogho was an interesting recruit with his 6-8 frame playing at end, but Auburn held on and has transitioned him to an offensive tackle. Jeff Holland, listed as the starting Buck linebacker, slipped past LSU despite heavy interest from LSU as another Florida recruit that the Tigers were continuing to keep their stronghold in the state.

Cincinnati: Normally, it’s not fun to be the younger brother, and Avery Johnson was definitely no exception. Johnson transferred out of LSU due to no playing time, and is penciled in as a starter at receiver.

Clemson: While he isn’t on the depth chart, freshman Travis Etienne has had a strong offseason for the national champs and could find himself some playing time if it continues. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen was down to the two Tigers, Clemson and LSU, before staying close to his home state Florida. Mark Fields, penciled in as the starter opposite Mullen, is the son of former Saints linebacker, which helped LSU get into his top list. Dexter Lawrence, who had 7 sacks from his tackle position last year, showed some interest in LSU, but they couldn’t come close to getting him to leave the East Coast.

Florida: Oh Feleipe Franks, what a trainwreck of a recruitment that one was. In the same aura of the chest-less Gunner Kiel, Franks was committed to LSU but skirted around and ended up at Florida, where he is in competition to start at QB, which could mean bad news for the Gators. CeCe Jefferson, a starting end, had a lot of interest at LSU when he was in his senior year, but LSU just couldn’t keep off the in-state Gators. Martez Ivey, listed as the starting left tackle, had some interest from LSU but stayed with the in-state Gators.

Florida State: Some of these may hurt. Cam Akers was a huge LSU target at running back last year, setting them up in the post-Guice years. Akers went to FSU, where he will compete with Jacques Patrick for the starting spot. Wide receiver Da’Vante Phillips was an LSU target, but a recent arrest may likely mean he is done at FSU. George Campbell may have had tough hands, but his athleticism was off the charts as the Seminoles have him starting at WR. It would be fun to imagine once-LSU target Brian Burns in that Arden Key role under Aranda, but Burns is starting at DE for the Seminoles. That damn honey chicken cost LSU massive DT Marvin Wilson, who is set to back up DeMarcus Christmas. Tarvarus McFadden was one Raymond barely missed at CB, and it hurts as McFadden is coming off an 8-interception season. Dontavious Jackson, a linebacker out of Texas, is a backup at middle linebacker.

Georgia: LSU has fared well at WR the past few years, which means some like Michael Chigbu, who is listed as a starter for Georgia, was on the outside looking in. Jeb Blazevich, Georgia’s backup tight end, kept LSU around his top schools for awhile. It seemed as if Lorenzo Carter was going to be donning the purple and gold with how interested he was in the Tigers as recruit, but Georgia came through at the buzzer and Carter is listed as the starting strong-side linebacker after registering 5 sacks last year.

Houston: The eye of every coach was on defensive tackle Ed Oliver two years ago with LSU among his favorite throughout the process. But Houston secured his signature after hiring his high school coach to be the tight end coach.

Kansas: Once an LSU target before signing with Alabama, wide receiver Daylon Charlot transferred to Kansas and is penciled in as a starter (which may not be enough to watch this bad team).

Kansas State: Another one of the many Texas wide receivers LSU has pursued over the years, the 6-4 Carlos Strickland is set to start for the Wildcats

Louisville: Wide receiver Devante Peete has impressive size at 6-6, but LSU was never fully able to get him to venture far from his home state of Florida.

Miami: The Hurricanes haven’t caused much damage in LSU’s pursuits in Florida, but that could change with Richt at the helm. George Brown transferred out of LSU and could be pushing to start at either tackle position. Chad Thomas, like Burns at FSU, would be a dream in Aranda’s 3-4, but LSU couldn’t convince him to leave Florida. Gerald Willis would be on this list, but he needed a “break” and won’t be playing this season.

Michigan: Unable to get him too far away from home, LSU stayed in it for Rashan Gary, who is listed as a starting defensive end for the Wolverines, before falling off in the end to the closer Michigan.

Minnesota: One of the all-time LSU message board favorites to the point that it got his dad on the board, Melvin Holland was an underrated wide receiver that got a real late push from LSU in his senior year. Holland is listed as a second-string wideout, but with new coach P.J. Fleck and his high-flying offense, Holland may get some significant time.

Mississippi State: In most other years, Keytaon Thompson would have been in LSU’s class, but with quarterbacks Lowell Narcisse and Mississippi’s own Myles Brennan in, Thompson, who is listed as the Bulldogs’ backup, was the odd man out. Leo Lewis, who spearheaded the Ole Miss investigation, seemed like he was in LSU’s class on a number of occasions, but the in-state Bulldogs won out and he is now a starting linebacker. The third-person king himself, Willie Gay got LSU fans excited when he was basically coming to Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, momma had her way and he stayed in state, but he did at least help us get Jacob Phillips so not all is lost there. Jamal Peters, the backup free safety, was another Mississippi recruit with Lewis that could have helped LSU make huge in-roads into the state.

Missouri: One of the top d-line recruits in his class, Terry Beckner was the next in line for LSU in the Midwest after Clifton Garrett, but he stayed with the other Tigers, where he is listed as a starting defensive tackle.

Nebraska: Like several others on this list, receiver is a tough position at LSU, and Stanley Morgan, who is a starting wideout for LSU, was another in-state numbers casualty.

North Carolina: After a tumultuous career at LSU, quarterback Brandon Harris is now set to be the starter at North Carolina

Notre Dame: After settling in at defensive tackle, Jerry Tillery is one of seven returning starters for Notre Dame on defense

Ohio State: Coming out of Texas, quarterback JT Barrett quickly rose to the No. 1 target for LSU, even making us one of his finalists before making the decision to go North as he prepares for his third season as a starter. Binjimen Victor is a large target at wide receiver for Barrett at 6-4 and was one of many Florida recruits that LSU was in on.

Oklahoma: Hey Oklahoma, we beat you out for Jacob Phillips. Sorry, had to to do it. Normally a team that has a lot of LSU interest, Chanse Sylvie, who is a backup CB and a numbers casualty for LSU, is really the only ex-recruit of note.

Oklahoma State: A wide receiver more suited for the Big 12, Jalen McCleskey had 812 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns for the Cowboys last year. Many thought quarterback Mason Rudolph could have been in the LSU class, but the Tigers went in a different direction and are paying for that one unfortunately. Keenen Brown was a wide receiver target out of Texas that has since bulked up to 250 pounds and is OSU’s starting tight end. Wide receiver Tyron Johnson is eligible this season after transferring out of LSU due to a lack of targets.

Ole Miss: A team once filled with LSU targets, the investigations have paid their toll on the Rebels roster. Shea Patterson is obviously the highlight and makes LSU fans wonder if he would be donning the purple & gold if Orgeron was the coach at that time. Miles and Patterson’s family never saw eye to eye, which caused Patterson to go elsewhere. DaMarkus Lodge, a top receiver out of Texas, wound up at Ole Miss and is among the second team. Greg Little, the top offensive tackle in his class out of Texas, is likely one of the reasons the NCAA put the pedal down on the investigation, but Little is their starting left tackle. Breeland Speaks, who is starting at defensive tackle, was an interesting late-rising recruit in his class, coming down to LSU and Ole Miss before picking the in-state Rebels. Deontay Anderson, listed as the backup rover/safety, received a rude awakening to SEC football last year compliments of Fournette.

Oregon: LSU was heavy in the transfer market this offseason and grad transfer Scott Pagano out of Clemson was one of the targets. Pagano decided to head back home out West and play for the Ducks.

Penn State: One of the more memorable LSU summer camps saw a quad of wide receivers in Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn, Speedy Noil and Saeed Blacknall (along with even Cam Sims). Blacknall got a little scared of the competition and decided to stay out east, where he is a starter for the Nittany Lions for the second-straight year.

SMU: Once a part of one of the best WR classes at LSU, Trey Quinn transferred out due to a lack of targets. With Chad Morris at the helm, Quinn could be dangerous for SMU.

Stanford: Brother of LSU alum Eric Reid, Justin Reid had 57 tackles and 7 pass breakups from the safety last year, and is returning as a starter for a second year

TCU: Another WR transfer out of LSU, John Diarse had 442 receiving yards and 3 TDs for TCU last year and is penciled in as a starter in the high-flying offense. KaVonate Turpin has become a jack of trades for TCU due to his diminutive stature, helping as a wide receiver, speed back and returner. Emanuel Porter was yet another Texas wide receiver LSU was in on. Sewo Olonilua was an intriguing recruit as a senior with the ability to play on either side of the ball, settling at RB for TCU. Cornerback DeShawn Raymond was very close to being a member of the LSU class, but wanted more of an opportunity at a place like TCU.

Tennessee: LSU has started making some footprints in Tennessee, and Kyle Phillips was one of their first targets, losing in the end to the in-state Volunteers, where Phillips is a starting DE. Justin Martin, listed as a starting CB, had a lot of interest coming out of JuCo, but became a numbers game and was too far down the list.

Texas: Once thought to be an LSU lean, Toneil Carter struggled in his last year in high school and the hiring of Tom Herman intrigued Carter to stay in state, where he is the backup running back. Malcolm Roach recorded three sacks in his freshman year to go with 33 tackles, putting him as the starter at end. D’Andre Christmas-Giles came on late in his senior year, but LSU missed out on the Louisiana prospect. Jeffrey McCulloch and Malik Jefferson were top linebacker recruits in Texas that LSU went hard after, but couldn’t break down the border. Linebacker Gary Johnson may have been in the LSU class if it weren’t for his poor grades in JuCo, but will now start at middle linebacker for the Longhorns. Kris Boyd and Holton Hill were the prototypical 6-2 cornerbacks that Raymond loved, but both are set to start on the outside for Texas.

Texas A&M: Once an LSU commit, Jhamon Ausbon, who was originally from Texas but was playing at IMG, flipped to Texas A&M and is now listed as a starter at wide receiver. Clyde Chriss was a numbers casualty at receiver when he was a senior and wound up at A&M, where he is among the second stringers. Daylon Mack was a huge national target when he came out with heavy LSU interest, but stayed in state at A&M, where he hasn’t fully lived up to the hype but is listed as a starting tackle. LSU at one point thought they had cornerback Priest Willis, who wound up staying on the West Coast at UCLA before going the JuCo route and ending at Texas A&M, where he starts for a struggling secondary. Roney Elam was a Texas corner that had a lot of LSU interest, and is listed among the depth chart. Another corner, DeShawn Capers-Smith played high school as a small QB and thus became a numbers casualty for LSU at cornerback.

UCLA: Another message board favorite, Eldridge Massington was another solid WR out of Texas that missed out in the end and decided to go to the west coast. Kenny Young, who had 90 tackles for UCLA as an inside linebacker, was just one of those Louisiana recruits that wanted to go out of state, which sucks seeing that he could be forming one solid duo next to Devin White.

USC: Teammates of Adoree Jackson in high school, Rasheem Green, a starting d-tackle, and John Houston, a backup linebacker, were getting the push from LSU in hopes of getting the whole Serra trio. Jackson stayed in California and thus closed that door. Oluwole Betiku, a backup defensive end, was one of the first California targets Orgeron pursued heavily as it seemed Betiku was wide open. USC had a strong season under Clay Helton and that was that. Jamel Cook had the size Raymond coveted, and coming out of Miami, a hotspot for Raymond’s pursuits, it seemed like there was a good chance. Cook decided to go much further west however and the Tigers missed out.

Vanderbilt: At 6-3, Joejuan Williams had the size Corey Raymond loves for his CB, but Williams decided to stay at home, where he is a starting CB on the depth chart.

And just to give some names unrelated to LSU to increase the watch list

Alabama: Bo Scarbrough, RB; Najee Harris, RB

Arizona State: Kalen Ballage, RB; N’Keal Harry, WR

Arkansas State: Dee Liner, DT (That name is just too perfect)

Auburn: Jarrett Stidham, QB; Kamryn Pettway, RB

Boise State: Brett Rypien, QB

Boston College: Harold Landry, DE

BYU: Corbin Kaufusi, DE

Clemson: Hunter Johnson, QB; Deon Cain, WR; Hunter Renfrow, WR (Alabama’s arch-nemesis), Christian Wilkins, DT

Florida Atlantic: De’Andre Johnson, QB; DeAndre McNeal, WR

Florida State: Deondre Francis, QB; Auden Tate, WR; Matthew Thomas, LB

Georgia: Nick Chubb, RB; Sony Michel, RB

Houston: Kyle Allen, QB (Texas A&M transfer); Steven Dunbar, WR; Reggie Chevis, DE; Nick Thurman, DE

Indiana: Tegray Scales, LB

Iowa: Josey Jewell, LB

Kansas State: Reggie Walker, DE

Kentucky: Matt Elam, DT (I mean he’s 6’7”, 360 lbs.)

Louisville: Lamar Jackson, QB (As long as he doesn’t face LSU)

Maryland: Kingsley Opara, DT

Miami: Jeff Thomas, WR; Lawrence Cager, WR

Michigan: Ty Isaac, RB (6’3” 240 lbs.); Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR

Michigan State: LJ Scott, RB

Middle Tennessee: Brent Stockstill, QB; Richie James, WR

Mississippi State: Nick Fitzgerald, QB

Missouri: Marcell Frazier, DE

NC State: Bradley Chubb, DE

Nebraska: Freedom Akinmoladun, DE; Tanner Lee, QB (Tulane transfer)

Notre Dame: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR (So sophisticated)

Ohio State: Mike Weber, RB; Nick Bosa, DE; Tyquan Lewis, DE

Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield, QB; Kyler Murray, QB (If Baker goes down); Rodney Anderson, RB; Jeff Badet, WR (Kentucky grad transfer); Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB

Oklahoma State: James Washington, WR;

Ole Miss: AJ Brown, WR

Oregon: Royce Freeman, RB; Troy Dye, LB

Penn State: Saquon Barkley, RB (Will challenge Guice for top RB); Trace McSorley, QB)

Rutgers: Janarion Grant, WR/KR

SMU: Courtland Sutton, WR; James Proche, WR

South Carolina: Deebo Samuel, WR

Stanford: Kaden Smith, TE

TCU: Kenny Hill, QB; Shawn Robinson, QB (If Hill goes down)

Tennessee: Khalil McKenzie, DT; Jonathan Kongbo, DE

Texas: Shane Buechele, QB; Chris Warren, RB (6’4” 250 lbs.

Texas A&M: Christian Kirk, WR; Armani Watts, SS

UCF: Cordarrian Richardson, RB

UCLA: Josh Rosen, QB

USC: Sam Darnold, QB; Ronald Jones, RB; Porter Gustin, DE; Iman Marshall, CB

USF: Quinton Flowers, QB

Utah: Lowell Lotulelei, DT

UTSA: Marcus Davenport, DE

Virginia: Andrew Brown, DE; Quin Blanding, S

Washington: Jake Browning, QB; Myles Gaskin, RB; Vita Vea, DT

Washington State: Luke Falk, QB

West Virginia: Will Grier, QB (Florida transfer)

Wyoming: Josh Allen, QB

And there you have it. Print this article out, save it in your bookmarks, anything you need to do and you’re set for the coming months. Obviously, I could have put more SEC players, but seeing as we’re LSU fans, it’s basically a given. If I missed any former LSU players/recruits, please fill free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do what I can to keep this updated. So, pick out your favorite beer, kick your feet up and you are ready to go through January.