With only three spots remaining in the 2018 class and those likely filled, the staff turned their attention to a 2019 class that has the potential to be very special this weekend, an event that was less of a junior day and more of gathering of some of the best prospects in the country.
This tweet from Geaux 247’s Shea Dixon offers some perspective on exactly what Ed Orgeron and staff were looking at Saturday:
6 of the Top 50 recruits
9 of the Top 100 recruits
12 of the Top 247 recruits
Focusing more on the in-state recruits, with a few highly-touted targets from outside the Louisiana border sprinkled in, it was a recipe to get a good start to the class, along with allowing players to meet some of the new coaches for the first time.
Four of the six commits for 2019 were on campus over the weekend. Five-star offensive lineman Kardell Thomas, the No. 1 guard and No. 2 recruit in the state, got to meet new offensive line coach James Cregg, who will have some early work cut out for him in reeling back in Kenyon Green. Fellow offensive line commit Thomas Perry was in town as well. Tyrion Davis made the smart decision in committing to play his college ball right close to his high school of Southern Lab with the slew of top 2019 running backs on Tommie Robinson’s list, along with another one that was on campus. Joseph Evans, the three-star defensive tackle, visited and is likely in line for a ratings bump when the recruiting services start to focus on 2019.
The In-State Visitors
Had a great visit at LSU today! pic.twitter.com/w9bPi9fc0d— Derek Stingley Jr. (@JrStingley) January 28, 2018
If Orgeron and this staff wanted to get in the good graces of the recruiting fans, they need to batten down the hatches in north Louisiana, and they started that off on the right foot with getting the top two recruits in that area on campus in defensive-lineman Ishmael Sophser and wide receiver Devonta Lee. The duo represent two of the top three in the state for 2019, including Sophser holding the No. 1 spot, so getting them on campus this early in the process ins paramount for Orgeron and company.
One-time LSU commit Derek Stingley was back in town, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him back in this class by the end of the summer, which would give Corey Raymond two of the top five cornerbacks in the nation with Maurice Hampton already in. Devin Bush could close out the CB class for Raymond alongside Hampton and Stingley.
Ray Parker, a top-25 offensive tackle was in town, and could help round out the o-line class in Cregg’s first year at the helm if he can bring the previously-mentioned Green back in as well.
Wide receiver Trey Palmer, who rounds out the top five with the previously mentioned Sophser, Lee, Stingley and commit Thomas, could make this another memorable receiver class. With Mickey Joseph and Jerry Sullivan teaming up at the position, it could pay dividends for Palmer and Lee.
Out of State Is Just As Important
Both playing at IMG Academy in Florida next year, Starks, who recently made the decision to do so, is right in Aranda’s wheelhouse so expect Starks to come back to Louisiana for college. Cain will be the one that will give fans headaches throughout the season if the past months have been any indication in changes to his top schools as often as the months change. But he was born in Baton Rouge, and make no mistake though, LSU will be involved in his recruitment throughout.
Besides having a successful offense next season, Steve Ensminger can get in the good graces of recruiting fans by reeling in Texas A&M commit Grant Gunnell, who was in town. Gunnell has been regarded as the top QB for 2019 for a couple years and continues to show why he won’t be giving that spot up any time soon. While he is currently an A&M commit, he has already express uncertainty in new A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, who has shown he prefers a dual-threat QB at the helm, something Gunnell is not. To help LSU’s cause with Gunnell, they brought in his receiver teammate Jalen Curry, who is not an add-on being a four-star, top-15 receiver recruit.
The event was kept relatively quiet for a number of tactical reasons, but LSU was able to not only bring nearly every major target to campus (Destrehan tailback John Emery the major exception — he had long been scheduled to visit Michigan this weekend), but it also helped to serve as an introduction to the program for the coming year and beyond, featuring new Director of Player Development Kevin Faulk as well as several other former players, including Jacob Hester and Corey Webster:
I️t was truly an honor to meet this Legend pic.twitter.com/XNFRNv6qFN— Tyrion Davis 3️⃣ (@3_too_lit) January 28, 2018
While LSU came out of this weekend with no new commits, it was a very successful past few days from all indications, including the planning of the festivities with the in-state guys coming in during the day while the out-of-state guys made a night out of it. When every uncommitted recruit is of elite status, it would be a huge surprise to see a commit this soon, but getting things off on the right foot are key in a class that could be one of LSU’s best in a long time if things go right.
More outtakes from the event via Twitter: