It’s a rarity when you see a recruit close down shop this early in their process. It’s even more rare when it is a five-star, national top-20, No. 1 prospect at his position, but that became the case for LSU when commit Kardell Thomas decided to shut things down, nearly 11 months before the next early signing period in December. Following a weekend that featured a number of top names from within the Louisiana borders and a few from a neighboring state, Thomas felt that Baton Rouge was the place to be and decided there was no point in feigning interest anywhere else
110% A TIGER Thanks To all the Schools that recruited me I'm Grateful for it But home is where The Heart Is I Put This City On my Back and It's Mines So why not work to bring Baton Rouge A National Championship pic.twitter.com/pMXQB7aqoN— Kardell thomas (@kardellt62) January 30, 2018
When current UTSA head coach Frank Wilson gave the 2011 recruiting class “The Fam” mantra, it centered around a number of top in-state recruits that were focused on bringing their home-state school back to the promise land. La’el Collins, Anthony “Freak” Johnson, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham and Jeremy Hill were what the base was formed upon. Guys that had no interest going anywhere else, even with their high-ranking status they carried with them.
It was the first thought that rang through the heads of plenty of LSU fans when Kardell made his announcement, and the similarities are strong in terms of the representation. Kardell (La’el) stressed the importance of this over the weekend to a guy like Noah Cain (Jeremy), the No. 2 running back in the nation that once called Louisiana home before Katrina moved to Denton Guyer in Texas and then a final stop at IMG Academy in Florida. It was already embedded in the mind of Kardell’s current and future teammate, running back Tyrion Davis (Jeremy). He looked to Ishmael Sophser (Anthony) to be that leader on the defensive side of the class. Devonta Lee (Jarvis) and Trey Palmer (Odell) received that same pitch to make sure that top talent stayed in Louisiana. One name to watch that may join Thomas as an early leader in the class is four-star linebacker Donte Starks, the third-rated inside linebacker in the country, out of John Ehret on the West Bank of New Orleans.
Thomas and Davis are teammates at Southern Lab High School in Baton Rouge — where, in addition to football, Thomas runs track. And when I say runs track, I mean the anchor leg of Southern Lab’s 4x100m relay team.
For a coach in Ed Orgeron that knows that seat underneath him is getting hotter with each passing month, it becomes a huge help to know he has reinforcements on the way. Not just reinforcements that committed to a coach, ones that committed to the school, to represent their in-state Tigers, to don the purple and gold with pride. While it wasn’t a commit that came from this weekend, it was something that could have a much larger ripple effect. Or it’s just another hapless defender in the way of Thomas, on his way to getting pancaked.