National Signing Day (February 5th this year) used to be a day where everything stopped at every college football fan’s office. No way was any diehard getting work done as they furiously tracked which signatures were sent through the antiquated fax machine routine that continues leaving this process back in the 1980s. Fans would wait with bated breath as the uncommitted recruits would use a school ceremony to break hearts or provide a subdued elation at their desks. That aspect is still there in a lessened manner, but the introduction of the Early Signing Period in December has brought the sizzle of that first Wednesday in February to a much smaller simmer. However, LSU is still in it for one of the top uncommitted defenders who will make his intentions known, and one conflicted commit that had an uneasy decision by appearance back in the early winter who will have to cement his choice.
Where Are We Numbers Wise?
Like with everything recruiting, a simple question like this comes with its own complications. There are some certainties in regards to LSU’s class:
Seven early enrollees (Gilbert, Ricks, Toles, Ojulari, Max Johnson, Gaye, Finley)
Twelve signees (Boutte, Roy, Webb, Guillory, Sampah, Dumervil, White, Eric Taylor, Moore, Martinez, Kole Taylor, Hill)
Five commits (Kevontre Bradford, Dwight McGlothern, Lorando Johnson, Alex Adams, CamRon Jackson)
That right there gives you 24 of the 25 limit per class, so it would appear on the surface there is one spot? However, with the commitment of Dwight McGlothern at the Army All-American Game, that likely ensures Johnson won’t be apart of this class. A grades issue was once there with Alex Adams, but his commit late in the recruiting season likely means there is confidence in the staff that that is no longer an issue. CamRon Jackson could be one where it comes down to May if he gets in, but recent word has seen those chances improving.
With Johnson likely out, that means there are TWO spots remaining. Who could fill in those two spots?
(Announcing at 9:30 a.m. EST Wednesday)
McKinnley was once committed to LSU back in November of 2017, but was not off the market long, announcing his de-commitment in February of the following year. The reasons aren’t really stated as assumptions and thoughts on the matter quickly spread. For whatever reason though, LSU has remained in the thick of it for the Mississippi product. Jackson officially visited Baton Rouge on January 24, along with an unofficial in November. Ed Orgeron, being that warm-hearted person that he is, wasn’t settled with just that, using his coach’s visit to meet Jackson at his high school, going to dinner with Jackson, meeting his family at home and setting the social media world ablaze by heading to a nursing home to visit Jackson’s grandmother, who he was upset that she couldn’t be around all the festivities.
Jackson is heading into the Quiet Period with an official visit this past weekend to Texas A&M, which may be a dark horse as Jimbo Fisher looks to show the Aggie faithful he is worth the money he was given. While those rumored handlers back from his initial de-comittment may be helping put Alabama the leader in the clubhouse, two things are sure:
- It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise this year if he picks LSU (You can thank Arik Gilbert for taking that honor).
- If he doesn’t pick LSU, it certainly won’t be for the lack of Orgeron’s efforts, which continue to astound me.
(Announcing at Noon EST on ESPNU)
In one of the more uncomfortable recruiting announcements I’ve seen, Burch stepped up to the table on December, made a short and hurried speech, announced to home state South Carolina and quickly put on a Gamecocks hat in a state that showed he just wasn’t ready. That awkwardness surrounding the whole moment reared it’s ugly head for the USC fans shortly thereafter as reports quickly surfaced that the school had yet to receive his National Letter of Intent. Burch would later come out and say he wanted to wait until February to do that with his teammates, but fans knew what that meant: he was still undecided.
LSU fans saw the door of opportunity that was slowly shut but never locked get busted down. That intuition was increased when he was brought in on a somewhat secret unofficial visit last weekend. It was a trip that helped LSU solidify their spot with Burch, who had said that calling LSU back in December was one of the toughest things he’s done, and Burch’s mother, who has been rumored as the biggest voice in keeping Burch close to home. Burch comes off an official visit to South Carolina heading into the Quiet Period, giving their insiders the thought he will stay home, but things will be in a holding pattern for both teams as the visit high wears off.
One last thing of note: high school teammate and good friend Jackson Muschamp, the son of South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, committed to Colorado State last week. Something else that may play a small part in Burch’s impending decision.
The once-Arkansas commitment re-opened his recruitment following the firing of head coach Chad Morris with LSU making a strong push. However, like his o-line counterpart CamRon Jackson, grades play a big issue here as well. Crawford may be in a more dire situation compared to Jackson, so there could be a waiting pattern with him as well. Depending on how the numbers play out on Wednesday, he could be a late addition as a wait-and-see recruit, but JuCo may be his path.
A Final Prediction?
Honestly, I can see this going a number ways. One thing I think is for certain is Crawford doesn’t join this class, and CamRon is the only grade risk the staff will worry about. With the other two, you can reason with yourself that both sign with LSU, neither sign with LSU or one signs with LSU, whether that’s Jackson or Burch. The optimist in me says Orgeron has done enough that both sign here. The realist unfortunately makes me think Burch stays home and Jackson heads to Alabama for whatever reason you’d like to believe, leaving some spots open for transfers (which has worked out well recently).
It will give LSU fans a reason to tune in on February 5th, a day that has lost some of that allure that once made it one of the most sacred days for college football fans.