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Recruiting Update: As the World Turns...

LSU’s 2019 efforts took a blow, but the hunt is far from over on a number of prospects.

Arkansas v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

You take the good, you take the bad, you take ‘em both and there you have...recruiting.

LSU received some unexpected bad news on the 2019 recruiting cycle Sunday night when five-star tailback John Emery Jr. committed to Georgia following a visit to Athens for a major recruiting event.

Emery, the No. 2 back in the 247 Sports composite, and the next back on the Tigers’ board after commit Tyrion Davis, had long been rumored to be looking out of state — a month ago, rumors had him strongly linked to Mississippi State, where Joe Moorhead was selling the “next Saquon Barkley” line. In speaking with a source at LSU, Ed Orgeron and staff had remained fairly confident that they could win the long-term game here. And there was some scuttlebutt that Emery would be committing soon to LSU, and while Emery’s commitment to Kirby Smart was a bit of a surprise, they still feel that time is on their side.

Time will, of course, tell us whether Orgeron and Tommie Robinson are correct. But in looking at the overall picture of Emery’s recruitment, this commitment is certainly not the last twist and/or turn to come.

The obvious parallel is to Ja’Marr Chase last year — he was all set to announce a commitment to TCU in July, but a production snafu by ESPN cancelled his TV spot. Chase committed to Florida later in the summer, and seemed like a long shot for LSU until late November/early December (and LSU’s coaching staff was looking at players like Justin Watkins and Devonta Jason for that spot). We’ll see if persistence pays off again here.

In other running back news, IMG tailback Noah Cain included the Tigers in a top-six release over the weekend:

Cain, who is a Baton Rouge native that landed in Texas and later the IMG Academy, has visited LSU several times since the start of 2018, and recently told SB Nation’s Bud Elliot that he’d have no qualms about a crowded running back class:

Emery has expressed his interest in going to LSU, but that hasn’t changed the way Cain feels about the school.

“It won’t impact my recruiting at all,” Cain said. “Me and John love competing and we got to know each other a lot. There’s ties up there already so it won’t affect my recruitment to LSU at all.”

Emery is higher on LSU’s board, but Cain, as the No. 6 tailback in the class, is somebody Orgeron and Robinson will continue to pursue as well.

In other in-state recruiting news: the home team did get good news from the famed Tangipahoa Parish trio of five-star defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher and four-star receivers Trey Palmer and Devonta Lee...

Lee and Palmer are considered heavy leans to LSU, and rumored to be committing soon. Sopsher, the No. 1 composite defensive tackle and a top-10 national recruit, is believed to be the subject of a battle between LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M.

Another story from the weekend was five-star commitment Kardell Thomas’ trip to FSU — but the Baton Rouge native took to the airwaves Monday morning to allay any fears of a decommitment on Off the Bench on 104.5/104.9 ESPN.

While LSU did not host a major recruiting event, it did host a prospect in former 2013 top dual-threat quarterback Cord Sandberg. A Florida native who committed to Mississippi State in the 2013 class, Sandberg spent six years in the Philadelphia Phillies’ minor league organization, but is done with baseball and would like to resume his football career. Weighing a walk-on offer from LSU (provisions in his contract will put a portion of his college education on the Phillies), Sandberg announced Monday afternoon that he will attend Auburn, who reportedly offered a full scholarship.