LSU inked 19 signees during the early signing period, taking some big swings on high-level prospects and ultimately striking out. Coach O’s play with fire strategy left the Tigers burned, and now with six spots to fill in their signing class by February. In the dead period, which began December 16th and finishes January 16th, the staff re-shuffled their board. Let’s take a look at how this class shapes up as the new plan comes to light.
Dwight McGlothern - Four-star DB
This one came as a bit of shock. As Billy alluded to, evaluators once touted McGlothern as one of the top-level DB prospects in the entire 2020 class. Then, throughout the summer and fall, his ranking just steadily fell and fell... and fell. LSU clearly de-prioritized him and wound up taking a commitment from Major Burns, who they ultimately wound up processing.
McGlothern is a back-up option. Some are raging about the decision to pass on Burns only to wind up with a lesser player. Then McGlothern goes out and picks off two passes in the All-American game and returns one for a TD. He might well wind up to be a great player. LSU offered way back when, so there’s obviously something the coaches liked about him. The fact that they are now revisiting and accepting his commitment indicates they think he offers something, at least relative to their other options. Oh yeah and some guy named Corey Raymond wanted him, so I’ll trust his evals until otherwise proven differently.
P.S. Doesn’t hurt that he’s high school teammates with what looks like one of the burgeoning star RBs of the 2022 class, Jaydon Blue, either.
Is LSU Done At DB?
McGlothern’s a corner, but the staff is likely still hunting a safety that can play in the Nickel. Avantae Williams is the highest rated guy out there, but it remains to be seen if LSU can get in the mix there. He’s got visits to take. Donovan Kaufman is an in-state guy, committed to Vanderbilt, that could come into play. It will be interesting to see if any other names surface.
McKinnley Jackson - Four-star DT
Covered in depth on the blog before, but Jackson lit it up at the Army All-American bowl this week. Evaluators raved about his improved conditioning and effort. It seems the light went on for Jackson during his senior campaign. He’s long been one of the most impressive specimens in the 2020 class, but his ranking steadily declined due to what evaluators perceived as a lack of care. Looks like a course correction is in order. I suspect he’ll wind up in the neighborhood of five-star status.
His recruitment bounced all over the place with Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, & Texas A&M all being considered favorites at one point or another. He’s visited Bama and Auburn already. LSU, A&M and Ole Miss get his final three visits. Since Ole Miss is closing, he’s a Mississippi kid, and the Lane Train is in full-effect, I suspect he may be tough to wrestle away from the home team. I’ve seen these type of recruitments play out before.
For fun, check out what McGlothern RT’d after the game:
Jahmyr Gibbs - Four-star RB
Gibbs emerged once the Zach Evans saga (more on this in a moment) played out. The talented back from Georgia committed to Georgia Tech back in May but didn’t sign during the early period. The elusive and explosive back is set to take visits to Florida, Ohio State, LSU and GT in some order in January. Ohio State may get left off the list altogether, but it’s possible they get a midweek visit instead.
My hunch is that LSU can full-court press him enough to secure the commitment, but it may be hard to pull him away from the local school and what I’m sure are promises to be the key building block for the GT turn around under Geoff Collins. Gibbs is a near perfect fit in this nouveau LSU offense, and would play an Alvin Kamara-like role. Let’s hope they nab him.
Zach Evans - Five-star RB
The saga continues, but this ain’t Wu-Tang. Evans signed with Georgia during the early period and agreed to announce his decision at the UA Bowl this week. He showed up for practices, told reporters, in not so many words, he planned to do exactly that. Then, day of the announcement, he bailed. This is nothing new for Evans, who routinely announces commitment dates then backs off — among other red flags that include a suspension from his high school team’s state title game appearance. No harm no foul really until now, where he’s actually locked into a letter of intent to UGA.
UGA insiders seems to think Kirby will let him out of the LOI, which brings both LSU and A&M back into the picture. During the dead period, the staff clearly moved on from Evans, so the question is do they think he’s worth kicking up with again. The answer there appears to be no. Evans had his opportunity and he’s played enough games. To get strung along again and him ultimately ink with A&M and to potentially miss out on someone like Gibbs because of it simply isn’t worth it for a marginal talent upgrade. If LSU had absolutely no other options at running back, that would change the equation, but there’s a number of capable backs left in play AND they’ve got a trio of returners that are more than capable of holding down the fort in Chris Curry, Tyrion Davis-Price & John Emery Jr.. My guess is Evans winds up at A&M.
The staff will keep chasing others in the event that things don’t pan out with Gibbs. Don’t be surprised to see the staff align visits with in-state back Ashaad Clayton or Texas back Kevontre Bradford. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire a near lock to declare, it’s clear the staff wants to fill one spot with a RB in this cycle.
Jordan Burch - Five-star DE
He may take visits. He also stated LSU finished second in his decision during the early period. The storm seems to have quieted and most seem to think he’ll wind up signing with South Carolina after all, but worth monitoring until we reach the bitter end here. What makes this a tough nut to crack, is Burch has already taken an official visit to LSU, and Orgeron has made his in-home visit. So the head coach can’t see him in person unless Burch comes to Baton Rouge on his own dime. Whereas Will Muschamp is still right there in town.
Offensive Line Targets
CamRon Jackson remains committed but needs grades to improve to get in. If things look up, he will sign. Ty’kieast Crawford is in a similar boat, though uncommitted. If his grades improve, he will almost assuredly sign. If not those two, maybe the staff looks at the transfer portal.
Speaking of, with five spots to fill could the staff eye some transfers? Orgeron’s not been afraid to go that route to supplement in years past, so don’t rule it out.
Miles to Go Before We Sleep
Five spots is a lot to fill with late pursuit targets. Even if the staff can nab Jackson, Gibbs, and CamRon Jackson improves his grades, what do they do with the two additional openings? These are the consequences of swinging for the fences in recruiting. Time for the staff to go earn their paychecks on the recruiting trail, hopefully with a National Championship coin in their back pocket.