With the Spring Game here, it gives fans an opportunity to get a glimpse at the immediate future, what their LSU Tigers might have in store for the upcoming season. It also gives the coaches an opportunity to recruit, show the prospective Tigers what they might be playing alongside in the next step of their careers. There is some great talent coming in this weekend, but overall, it might be a little...lacking.
The Official Visitors
A change in recruiting rules that introduced the early signing period has given recruits the opportunity to use their official visits during the spring to finish their process earlier. LSU will be hosting two of them this weekend:
The five-star cornerback from California has shown a lot of interest in LSU leading up to his visit, so now Corey Raymond will get some face-to-face time with the top-five composite cornerback. After a very poor cornerback class in 2018, Raymond will have to do some work to re-fill the cupboard and getting someone from the West Coast would be a solid help. LSU commit Kardell Thomas has been adamant that LSU will be able to reel him in, and with Thomas in town, he will likely do his part to ensure he stays true to his word.
The four-start offensive tackle out of Michigan has kept things close to the vest in terms of his recruitment but has kept things open as well, giving new offensive line coach James Cregg an opportunity to leave his imprint. The top-25 recruit received his offer back in February, so expect the press to come on strong. With Thomas Perry and Charles Turner already in, Cregg would love to add another tackle to secure a solid offensive line class.
Outside of the official visitors, LSU will be expecting a number of the unofficial attendees. Former LSU commit and No. 2 composite cornerback Derek Stingley will be back on campus. Like mentioned with Steele, Corey Raymond will have to bring in several corners to get the roster numbers back up, even with Maurice Hampton already in the class.
Four-star defensive end Nathan Pickering is one of very few out-of-state unofficial visitors, and can help boost the future of the d-line. Pickering has recently noted on social media he is thinking about committing soon to end the process. Now, it might just be an attention-seeking post like most recruits these days, but if it’s not, LSU is in a solid spot with him on campus shortly after the tweet.
- Devin Bush, a top-15 composite cornerback out of New Orleans, has been another mentioned to be in this defensive back class, and will likely be in this class barring something unforeseen.
- Ray Parker, the tight end/tackle recruit, could be on commit watch. While he has stated he wants to play tight end and LSU has reciprocated that interest, he may be one of those that you get on campus first and figure that out later on.
- Joey Porter Jr., yes the son of the Super Bowl champion bearing the same name, may not have the same size his dad used to punish the NFL but is a top-25 cornerback and the top recruit in Pennsylvania according to 247.
- Elijah Blades, the No. 1 junior college cornerback according to 247, will also be in attendance. Blades, who was offered in February, could bring more veteran leadership to a cornerback group that is in need of that. Especially if Greedy Williams were to go pro early after the 2018 season.
Other names expected to be in, via Sam Spiegelman at SEC Country:
Tyrion Davis, 4-star RB, Baton Rouge, La. (LSU commit)
Donte’ Starks, 4-star ILB, Marrero, La.
Devonta Lee, 4-star WR, Amite, La.
Trey Palmer, 4-star WR, Kentwood, La.
Thomas Perry, 3-star OL, Lafayette, La. (LSU commit)
Joseph Evans, 3-star DT, Haynesville, La. (LSU commit)
Zach Edwards, 3-star ILB, Starkville, Miss. (LSU commit)
Terrell Brown, 3-star RB, Harvey, La.
Greg Brooks Jr., 3-star DB, Harvey, La.
Donald Clay Jr., 3-star DB, New Orleans
Tyler Guidry, 3-star ATH, Baton Rouge, La.
Kendarias Moses, 3-star DB, Baton Rouge, La.
Will Connor, 3-star ILB, Alabaster, Ala.
Larry Scott, 3-star OLB, Ferriday, La.
Hunter Dubroc, OL, Deville, La.
The notable absence is No. 1 defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher out of Amite, who is believed to be heading to Tuscaloosa for Bama’s spring game. That hasn’t been completely confirmed as of press time, but it is worth noting that Sopsher has been to LSU several times in the last few months, but this would be his first trip to Bama. U-High athlete recruit Christian Harris will be visiting Georgia as well, while four-star running back John Emery will be at Tennessee. Spiegs lists a nice crop of Class of 2020 visitors as well, but for now we’ll focus on the ‘19 kids.
Commits in Attendance
Even though he was previously mentioned, is it really any surprise that Kardell Thomas will be in Baton Rouge this weekend? If this class does pan out, you can give a good bit of credit to Thomas, who is doing more than his share of trying to bring in an elite class to LSU. Other commits visiting include Kardell’s teammate Tyrion Davis, Thomas Perry and Joseph Evans, along with 2020 commit Kris Abrams-Draine.
Signees On Hand as Well
While some freshman will be playing in the game as early enrollees, others will be watching to see their teammates in action, along with the competition they will be going up against for playing time. The group of signees is headlined by Chasen Hines, who has recently said he is going back to the offensive line, Kelvin Joseph, who will be expected to contribute a good bit to provide depth at defensive back, and running back Chris Curry, who can earn at least the backup spot in the backfield.
All in all, I just feel like this is a lacking visitor list. Things could change between now and Saturday, but excluding the two official visitors, there’s only three out of state recruits on this list in Pickering, Porter Jr., and 2020 cornerback Trenton Yowe out of Alabama. Not a single recruit from Texas, Florida or Georgia, and only one from Mississippi and Alabama. One of the main issues? LSU has the same Spring Game weekend as Alabama, Texas, Georgia and Mississippi State, who has that new coach shine right now. When you have two schools dominating the SEC like Alabama and Georgia, it’s not the best idea to have your game the same weekend. With that, you miss out on the out of state recruits and in-state guys like Sophser. The Louisiana to Alabama pipeline continues to haunt us, and this scheduling of the spring game is another reason.
A second main issue? The question marks at the top of the board. When there is consistent job security questions about the head coach, it becomes indicative of how this recruiting process will transpire with these kids getting leery of the unknown of their potential future coach and other teams using it to negative recruit LSU.
The only remedy to all of this will be the on-field product, and I’m not talking about what will be seen on Saturday obviously. You can use these “30 percent” of the offense is implemented excuses this early on, but no one will care come the end of August. I try to put a positive spin on things because it’s better to live life happier, but when you see the baseball team having success, the basketball team on a steep rise with a new head coach that is recruiting at an impressive rate and then look at what is happening with this football team, it is disappointing. Like the late Al Davis once said, “Just win baby.” This LSU team will have to take those words to heart if they want to right this ship