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Recruiting Update: LSU Nearing the Home Stretch

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Give me all of the stars.

Mississippi v LSU Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images

As LSU’s season end begins to draw nigh, so too does peak recruiting season. Last year we watched programs struggle through the inaugural early signing period... trying to navigate the balance of pressuring kids to sign and letting the big fish take their time. Alabama “suffered” (they fell all the way to fifth nationally after seven straight No. 1 classes!) and LSU did as well (falling to 15th). It’s early yet to judge last year’s class but of the 22 signees, five (Marshall, Chase, Joseph, Hines, and Lewis) have played significant roles and five more have contributed. And those numbers don’t even include Cole Tracy. Most programs are looking to leverage the early signing period to solidify the bulk of their signing classes before setting their eyes on a select group of elite prospects to close it out. Let’s check where LSU stands heading into that stretch.

Verbals

2018 Verbal Commitments

Player Position Ranking Rating
Player Position Ranking Rating
Derek Stingley DB 5 0.9969
Kardell Thomas OL 5 0.9871
Marcel Brooks LB 4 0.9601
Trey Palmer WR 4 0.9497
Maurice Hampton DB 4 0.9416
Donte Starks LB 4 0.9408
Ray Parker OL 4 0.9365
Tyrion Davis RB 4 0.9309
Anthony Bradford OL 4 0.9203
Dreshun Miller DB 4 0.9
Peter Parrish QB 4 0.8954
Thomas Perry OL 3 0.885
Charles Turner OL 3 0.8763
Joseph Evans DL 3 0.8702
Cordale Flott DB 3 0.8702
Kendall McCallum LB 3 0.8647
T.K. McClendon TE 3 0.8578
Cade York K 3 0.8197
Quentin Skinner LS 2 0.7876

All said, 19 total recruits that break out like this:

QB: 1
RB: 1
WR: 1
TE: 1
OL: 5
DL: 1
LB: 3
DB: 4
SP: 2

From a need standpoint, the class makes pretty good sense. LSU struck out majorly on DBs last cycle, so load up there. It’s always a good idea to stock up on offensive line, so I like taking 3-5 a class. Sprinkle in some linebacker depth, anticipating Devin White’s departure. Get a QB every year. Add some impact running backs. No need to go deep on receivers with a pretty deep unit there.

So, assuming LSU signs 95 percent of these guys, who else is left on the board? Who will sign during the early period? Here’s a list of the major players to keep your eyes on.

Targets

John Emery

The sexy prospect everyone wants to hear about. Emery is a true game-breaker at the RB spot and for the bulk of his process its seemed he’d be heading out of state. He verballed to Georgia for a spell until recently decommitting. LSU’s not out of the woods yet, but things look very good for the superstar back to wind up in purple and gold. I suspect he’ll be an early signee to LSU.

Noah Cain

The other top back. The former Baton Rouge native already visited Auburn and recently Texas. He’ll take in Penn State this weekend. LSU gets a final visit, and I imagine Ohio State will get his other official visit. Tough to predict Cain. The numbers could work out for both Emery and Cain but until they need to decide otherwise the staff will keep pushing for both.

Devonta Lee

Big-bodied receiver that will almost definitely wind up in LSU’s class.

Siaki Ika

Beefy DT that the staff is turning up the heat on with Sopsher flirting heavily with Bama. Ika’s still got a visit to Bama planned himself.

Jay Ward

The former Kentucky commit recently opened things up, just after visiting LSU. A free DB spot came open when Marcus Banks decided to re-open his commitment and that paved the way for Ward, whom Corey Raymond reportedly likes a lot. I suspect he’ll wind up in this class.

Nakobe Dean

The 5-star Mississippi linebacker from just outside Oxford keeps things pretty close to the vest. He’s courting Georgia and Bama amongst others. Looks like a long shot for LSU but he will stop by for an official visit on the last weekend before the December dead period, along with...

Raydarious Jones

Teammate of Dean and they will OV together. Jones is a 6-foot-2 athlete playing QB right now, but will transition to DB in college. He likes LSU a lot and currently Ole Miss presents the biggest competition.

Myron Warren

Former TCU commit caught the staff’s eye and looks like he could be on his way to an official visit and spot in the class.

George Pickens

Four-star WR and current Auburn commit. He’s been around a lot, most notably this past weekend. There’s a chance here, but still a lot of work if LSU wants to come out on top.

Summary

Sopsher, of course, remains in play, but the staff is digging into DL options, wisely. He’s a February signee.

At 19 commits, the bulk of LSU’s class is formed, assuming there’s no dramatic change of hearts. Marcel Brooks seems a potential flip candidate, due to pressure from A&M, but he’s also maintained he’s solid to LSU. Dreshun Miller is looking around a bit. Maurice Hampton too, including pro baseball. The other thing to watch is O mentioning they’d like to get another QB.

So, just spitballing, 19 + Emery, Lee, Ward, Warren, + QB + DL (hopefully Sopsher). That would make for one hell of a signing class.