LSU’s busy summer stretch on the recruiting trail continued on Thursday night when Donte Starks, Louisiana’s top-ranked linebacker, committed to the in-state program over Georgia, Auburn and Arkansas.
That puts the total number of verbals in the 2019 recruiting class up to 19 with Starks as the fourth linebacker in the haul. He joins four-star Marcel Brooks, a hybrid safety/outside linebacker, and out-of-state three-stars Kendall McCallum, who popped last month, and Zach Edwards.
With 25 spots available in the class, coach Ed Orgeron and Co. will begin to be more selective with how the Tigers round out the group. There are several priority targets remaining on the board, most of whom hail from inside Louisiana.
Here’s a look at the top remaining positional needs:
- Running Back
- Wide Receiver
- Offensive Tackle
- Defensive Line
Here are the top Louisiana targets left on the board:
- Ishmael Sopsher, five-star DT
- John Emery Jr., four-star RB
- Noah Cain, four-star RB
- Trey Palmer, four-star WR
- Devonta Lee, four-star WR
- Christian Harris, four-star ATH
- Ray Parker, four-star TE/OT
- Devin Bush, four-star DB
- Chester Kimbrough, three-star CB
Other names to know include Taulia Tagovailoa (Alabama commitment), Trey Sanders, Jalen Curry, George Pickens (Auburn commitment), Jaquaze Sorrell, Raydarious Jones, Nakobe Dean and Nathan Pickering (Mississippi State commitment), among others.
The Tigers need to find a second tailback to pair with four-star Southern Lab bruiser Tyrion Davis, at least two receivers and likely two more defensive linemen. Another linebacker such as Harris or a potential left tackle like Parker are options. A sixth defensive back are also possible.
With Starks now on board along with McCallum and Edwards, expect some change in the near future. Edwards gave a verbal commitment to LSU during a junior day visit back in March and did so along with fellow Mississippi prospect Jaren Handy, who de-committed 12 days later and has since signed on with Auburn.
Edwards camped in Baton Rouge in June and drew the attention of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who worked out the three-star prospect. In talking to sources in the building, it seems likely that eventually LSU and Edwards will go in different ways. Of course, with Edwards hailing from Starkville, Miss., Mississippi State should be viewed as the obvious favorite.
In theory, that will leave the Tigers with 18 commitments and seven spots to address before Signing Day. There are spots being reserved for the top priority targets like Sopsher, Harris, Palmer and Lee, either Cain or Emery and one more piece in the secondary. It also makes for some tough decisions the staff will face, including which in-state prospects to turn away.
Gauging the current temperature in the room, LSU is in the pole position with the trio of blue-chip prospects from Tangipahoa Parish, as well as Parker — if he’s a take. Then, expect LSU to land one of Emery or Cain in December, another defensive lineman and another defensive back. That, of course, could change if the Tigers grab momentum with Harris, another potential addition at linebacker, who is currently leaning out-of-state.