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Early Signing Day 2019: Primer

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Here’s what to watch on early signing day 2019.

LSU v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Happy Signing Day Eve, heathens. Tomorrow we closely monitor the decision-making skills of a gaggle of 17, 18 and 19-year-old athletes looking to become the next Odell Beckham’s, Jamal Adams’ and Devin White’s of the future. It’s key to stay hydrated, keep your eyes on the ball and most of all, by god, DON’T TWEET RECRUITS.

Look, some things are bound to go LSU’s way tomorrow and some things won’t. We may get a surprise or two and they may not all be good. LSU is setting itself up for a pretty epic close. The coaching staff are swinging for the fences. That means there will be some strikeouts. Let’s not act like it’s some grand failure. The key to early signing day is to ink as much of your signing class as humanly possible, take assessment of your remaining needs, and then redouble your efforts to meet them & fill the final spots. If you want LSU to win championships, they have to recruit like champions, which means going toe-to-toe with the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, et. al. That means losing some battles.

That said, let’s take one last look at the key prospects to pay attention to on this first home stretch.

Nakobe Dean
Five-Star LB
Horn Lake, MS

The talk of the town of late, Nakobe Dean is a 5-star LB with offers from everyone imaginable, he took official visits to Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M and LSU. In that order. At this point, Auburn and A&M don’t look to be factors.

LSU got the last impression on official visits and word is they made a big one. Dean is a tough read. At moments, both Georgia and Alabama have felt confident in securing his services and most of the experts picks continue to lie with them. That said, I don’t think anyone has 100% confidence in this one. Dean toured LSU with newly crowned Butkus Award winner Devin White and reportedly has a tremendous relationship with Dave Aranda. In fact, he made multiple trips to LSU to camp and receive Aranda’s tutelage. Aranda supposedly feels he may have done enough here to win the commitment. LSU will have a hat on the table and Dean was speaking with our coaches still through the weekend.

My Pick: Alabama

In believe it when I see it mode. I think Dean would thrive anywhere he goes. Aranda really could mold him into something special. In the end, I think the lure of playing for an Alabama team that now looks like an auto-bid for the CFB playoff will be too much for Dean to resist. Frankly, I think LSU wins these battles when the recruit really values things like “family atmosphere” but when it comes to championships and NFL preparation, you can’t really top Bama.

Raydarious Jones
Four-star ATH
Horn Lake, MS

Dean’s HS teammate took his official visit at the same time. His offer list is also strong, but his list of choices is really down to only LSU and Ole Miss. Jones is a HS QB with a very projectable skillset. Standing around six-foot-two, he’s the type of long and lean CB prospect that’s really thrived in Baton Rouge. At the MS-AL bowl this week he showed out as a playmaker, routinely showing up around the ball, even if he’s a little rough around the technical edges. There’s no indication that Jones and Dean are a package deal or even remotely care about playing in college together.

My Pick: LSU

Tons of buzz on this and while I’m always a little leery of Mississippi prospects, I think Jones and family bought in to what LSU was selling on their official visit. He wants to come and be groomed to be an NFL DB and no one can promise a track record quite like Corey Raymond.

Siaki Ika
Four-Star DT
Salt Lake City, UT

The beefy DT long-believed to be an Alabama lean looks to have shifted gears over the past month. Oregon and LSU have surged and Utah is firmly in the mix here too. In LSU’s favor here has to be the lack of DL commits, as they currently only have a commitment from Joseph Evans. Bama’s not even in his top 5 any longer as he’ll choose between LSU, Oregon, USC, Utah and Florida on Wednesday. He took an OV to Florida over the weekend and there’s some rumors he’s really played up the recruiting commitment game, perhaps making promises to multiple staffs. Word is he really wants to be in the SEC.

My Pick: LSU

Local insiders and the LSU side seem to feel confident here. I can’t remember the last time LSU landed a recruit from Utah, but this would absolutely be an astonishing job by the coaching staff.

Keon Zipperer
Four-Star TE
Lakeland, FL

Gifted pass catcher generated some Louisiana hype late in the cycle when he opted to take an official visit to LSU. Then yesterday, he tweets this:

He visited LSU at the end of November, just after Alabama and just ahead of making trips to Florida and Miami.

My Pick: Florida

He’s playing along publicly and privately quite well, but virtually no one thinks Zipperer is leaving the state of Florida.

LSU’s Verbal Commitments

Marcel Brooks put a little scare into LSU fans this weekend when he decided to take an unplanned, surprise visit to OU. That said, insiders on the OU side and LSU side teased out this was little more than a kid likely trying to drum up some interest late.

Maurice Hampton took official visits to Auburn, Florida and LSU. He took in Baton Rouge over the weekend and the coaches hoped to persuade him to sign this week. They did not. He maintains he intends to sign in February but still would like to take his remaining official visits. He is also a legitimate threat to defect from the class to head to MLB. I don’t think LSU has too much to worry about here, but it’s a bit trying that he won’t just get it over with. It could mean the staff moves on to fully extend a spot to a guy like Jay Ward, who is currently playing the numbers game in lieu of LSU’s dream situation.

Everyone else currently committed is planning to sign with LSU on Wednesday. There’s not much expected drama around these guys. But if something did happen, Cordale Flott could be a guy that could flip, though he’s promised the staff otherwise. T.K. McClendon may also lose his spot if Zipperer pulls a shocker.

Enjoy Wednesday. It’s bound to be a great day for LSU football as Orgeron inches closer to signing his best class to date.


The full list of signing times for LSU commitments and targets are as follows:

  • LS Quentin Skinner - 6 a.m.
  • K Cade York - 7:45 a.m.
  • DT Siaki Ika 8 a.m.
  • LB Donte Starks - 8 a.m.
  • WR Trey Palmer - 8:30 a.m.
  • OL Charles Turner - 9 a.m.
  • CB Derek Stingley - 10 a.m.
  • OL Anthony Bradford - 11 a.m.
  • OLB Marcel Brooks - 11:20 a.m.
  • DT Joseph Evans - 12:45 p.m.
  • LB Nakobe Dean - 1:20 p.m. and ATH Raydarious Jones - 1:20 p.m. (live on ESPN)
  • RB John Emery - 1:30 p.m.
  • RB Tyrion Davis - 1:30 p.m.
  • OL - Kardell Thomas - 1:30 p.m.
  • QB Peter Parrish - 2 p.m.