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National Signing Day 2018: A Primer

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Oh, hey, we still have more recruiting to wrap up!

It’s that time, folks. National Signing Day is upon us. While the new Early Signing Period may have taken some luster off the first Wednesday in February, there’s still a handful of spots to be filled and a few bit time prospects left in play. After the Early Signing Period, LSU is sitting at 21 players signed in the capped 25-man signing class. Who will fill the final four spots? Are we in for any major surprises?

The Targets

All eyeballs are focused on a small grouping of prospects that will finalize LSU’s signing class in 2018. Let’s take a look at either of the remaining possibilities.

Kelvin Joseph, Defensive Back — 10 a.m. (all times CT)

No announcement for Joseph, who committed back at the U.S. Army All-American bowl in January. He’s signing with LSU and will be one of the four final spots in this class.

Mario Goodrich, Defensive Back — 7:30 a.m., Streaming Live on Facebook

Goodrich is the first announcement of the day and might tip the cap to how LSU’s final slots will come together. His recruitment has been a bit of an odyssey. The former Nebraska commit de-committed in December ahead of receiving an offer from LSU and naming them his leader. His offer list grew with the additions of Florida, Arkansas and Clemson in January. For the past month, the debate in LSU recruiting circles revolves around whether Goodrich or QB James Foster would secure LSU’s final open spot. Goodrich recently attended an official visit to Clemson and things seem trending upward for them, but the staff is still pushing.

Pick: Clemson

Patrick Surtain Jr., Cornerback — 9 a.m., ESPNU

The big fish. The composite 5-star, U.S. Army All-American is the prized piece of LSU’s 2018 signing class. The no. 1 rated CB in America represents 3-years of work for DBs coach Corey Raymond and DC Dave Aranda. Surtain has repeatedly named LSU his leader throughout the recruiting process and has long maintained his comfort level with the school would be the predominant factor in his decision. Of late, he’s used the word “comfortable” when describing his feelings toward LSU. Nothing is a done deal until papers are signed, but things look very strong for Surtain to ultimately pick LSU and sign on Wednesday.

Pick: LSU

James Foster, Quarterback — 10 a.m.

Just a couple weeks ago, we debated the merits of taking a QB vs. a CB, specifically James Foster vs. Mario Goodrich. I pitched my case for going for Goodrich, who I think has a better chance to be a for sure impact player at the next level. But if coach visits are any indication, the staff seems to be prioritizing Foster, sending nearly the entire coaching staff to see him last week. Was it enough? I’m not sure. Foster got the hard sell on his visit to FSU from Willie Taggart and co. All the experts think FSU wins this battle.

Pick: FSU

JaMarr Chase, Wide Receiver — Noon, Streaming Live on Facebook

The top-100 receiver has taken the long route to National Signing Day. He’s committed to both Kansas and Florida at points in the last year and hoped to commit to TCU on national television before a scheduling error prevented him from being able to do so. Throughout that saga, LSU quietly let him work through his recruitment and receivers coach Mickey Joseph provided persistent effort. Chase kept LSU at an arm’s distance for much of his recruitment, truly making the staff earn his interest. Though his family were always keen to the local school, Chase dreamed of going out of state and had a strained relationship with from former LSU receivers coach Dameyune Craig, which put LSU at a disadvantage. Yet, Mickey Joseph worked away and his relentless effort looks like it will finally pay off.

Pick: LSU

Glenn Beal, Tight End — Noon

The three-star tight end has been a fringe prospect throughout most of the recruiting season. He never took an official to Baton Rouge, but has been on campus a good number of times, minimizing the importance of the visit. Right now, it looks like he will ink with A&M on Signing Day, but the staff probably feels they can get him into the barn if some pieces don’t go their way early Wednesday.

Pick: Texas A&M

Michael Williams, Athlete — Time Unknown

Like Beal, Williams has been a fringe prospect for the coaching staff throughout most of this cycle. They’ve kept him engaged, but prioritized other prospects ahead of him. A couple weeks ago Williams officially visited Texas and verbally committed. The jumbo athlete is a prospect many locals really like, though he’s not distinguished himself on the national scene as a top tier prospect. LSU thinks he could grow into a DL. Can they swoop in with some late action and flip him to his home town team?

Pick: LSU

Finishing the Class

I see LSU finishing with Joseph, Surtain Jr., Chase, and Williams. The staff’s indecisiveness on Goodrich/Foster looks to have cost them both. That coupled with bungling the effort to sign a kicker and have him not count against the 25-man limit puts a bit of a damper on what is a pretty strong class.

That said, no doors are closed just yet. There’s a chance Goodrich or Foster wind up feeling LSU is the best place for them and do sign with LSU on Wednesday. Right now, I think the tea leaves suggest otherwise, but things can very quickly change tonight.

Overall, a pretty strong haul, albeit one that may underwhelm for folks who hoped to sign a class like the one Kirby Smart is inking in Athens this year. Get Surtain, Joseph and Chase to sign and that’s three top-100 players. That last spot is fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.