Post BCS bounce
By Kris Brauner
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The last two weeks have been really tough for LSU on the recruiting trail.
First, the state's top player announced for Alabama ahead of LSU, on national television no less. Then, LSU lost four star offensive tackle, Patrick Miller because he wanted to enroll early but LSU did not have room on the spring roster due to several other early enrollees. One of those other early enrollees was the prize of the recruiting class, quarterback Gunner Kiel. However, Kiel never showed and is now at Notre Dame. Thus LSU ultimately lost Miller for no reason.
Not long ago, LSU was at 21 commitments and had a pair of in-state guys ready to pull the trigger. Then, LSU was in the mix for several big-time out of state players to close things out. Suddenly, LSU found themselves at 19 commitments and with zero momentum on the out of state guys.
For a while there, every day brought more bad news. However, things seem to have settled and LSU now seems to have their feet back under them as far as recruiting goes. And the timing for that is good since LSU hosts one of their biggest recruiting weekends of the year on Saturday. LSU has even had some good news start to trickle in.
This was expected, but former Redemptorist running back Jeremy Hill is enrolled in classes at LSU and is set to participate in spring practice. Hill was initially part of the Class of 2011 but did not sign with any school due to some ongoing legal issues. With those cleared up, he will now be a part of the Class of 2012. Hill is a big-time talent that was a National Top 250 type of guy in last year's class. Many felt he was the top running back prospect in the state, ahead of Kenny Hilliard and Terrance Magee. So we can officially add Hill to the mix as LSU's 20th commitment.
Patterson linebacker Lorenzo Phillips has also made it clear that he plans on committing to LSU this weekend or shortly after. While not yet official, it seems safe to pencil in Phillips as LSU's 21st commitment.
So with four spots remaining, what's left for LSU?
The first question is at quarterback. Mississippi prospect Jeremy Liggins is scheduled to visit LSU this weekend and the Tigers have always been among his leaders. Liggins is a far, fary cry from Gunner Kiel in terms of talent. But he does have a lot of potential. He'll remind you a bit of Mississippi State's Chris Relf, or as a best case scenario, Rohan Davey. And he's got good running ability, even at 270 pounds, which should allow Les Miles to continue running some zone-read and option stuff that he loves so much (and that the fans hate!). Liggins is definitely a bit of a project, but he also seems like the only realistic possibility at this point. If things don't work out at quarterback, he,has the size and athleticism to possibly contribute on the defensive line. With LSU having just one defensive lineman committed thus far, it seems like a good year to take someone like Liggins. Liggins' high school coach raves about his leadership and intangibles.
Florida State commitment Jameis Winston recently said that LSU is still recruiting him; however, I would not get your hopes up. Alabama is still recruiting Winston very hard as well and is his likely destination if he switches from Florida State. Plus, whoever signs him will have to worry about him leaving to play pro baseball. Never say never....just don't get your hopes up.
With the departure of Rueben Randle to the NFL, LSU has put the press on junior college receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who is the nation's top JUCO receiver. At 6'3" 205 pounds, Patterson could fill the void of the big receiver that Randle left. While I believe LSU has plenty of talented receivers, they do miss having that big target. To go along with his size, Patterson runs a 4.4 and could also provide a deep threat. Im generally not crazy about JUCOs, but Patterson would be a great fit and he absolutely has the potential to provide a Demetrius Byrd-like impact on the field. Miles visited Patterson this week and Patterson is expected to be in Baton Rouge this weekend.
Denton, TX defensive lineman Mario Edwards is scheduled to visit LSU this weekend. ESPN ranks Edwards as the nation's top overall player. Rivals ranks him as the nation's #3 overall player while Scout has him at #4. He is 6'4" 290 pounds and with a guy that size, you would assume he would play inside at defensive tackle. However, Edwards has consistently shown the quickness to play on the edge. That versatility just makes him that much more attractive. With Michael Brockers off to the NFL, Edwards could see immediate playing time on LSU's defense. Edwards has been a Florida State commitment for quite some time but has also made no secret of the fact that he is looking around. He recently eliminated Oklahoma and Texas, leaving LSU as the only remaining possibility outside of Florida State. His father played for Florida State, and I suspect that he'll be tough to flip. But if Edwards actually shows on this visit, that demonstrates a sincere interest. If his parents come on the visit with him, that is also a good sign. You never know...
Even though Lorenzo Phillips will add to what is already a deep class of talented linebackers, LSU could still add yet another. Alabama prospect Kwon Alexander is highly considering LSU, along with Alabama and Auburn. Alexander is highly thought of by the recruiting services, evne after an injury sidelined his senior season. Scout.com rates Alexander as the #3 outside linebacker prospect in the nation.
After the loss of Landon Collins, LSU is still looking to add another safety in the class. The top target appears to be Texas prospect Corey Thompson who is currently committed to Texas A&M. Thompson is a good looking prospect that checks in at 6'2" 200 and is able to cover a lot of ground in the secondary. Thompson's father played for Texas A&M, so I suspect it will be tough for LSU to flip him. But after the coaching change at Texas A&M, Thompson decided to take some visits so LSU will get a shot. And with Jerqwinick Sandolph reportedly having some academic struggles, LSU could sell Thompson on (potentially) being the only safety taken in this class. Orangebloods.com ranks Thompson as the #37 player in the state of Texas and has the following to say about him:
When you look at the safety position, there's a lot about the 6-2, 193-pound Thompson to like. The size is an obvious plus, but Thompson's athleticism and ability to cover a lot of ground makes him one of the state's top safety prospects. While you wouldn't automatically call Thompson a violent player on the field, he's a willing tackler that isn't afraid to mix it up and he closes on the ball like a hawk at times. The biggest compliment I can give him deals with his range, as he seems to cover as much or more ground on the field right now than any safety prospect I've seen in Texas. The only question mark you might have with Thompson deals with his ability to cover man-to-man at the next level because he hasn't done a lot of it at the high school level, but, he's a kid that has posted a 4.2 short-shuttle time, a 36-inch vertical and he's tested extremely well in combine events in the last year, so we're talking about a top-shelf athlete with all of the athletic ability required to be a major impact at the collegiate level. Plus, the kid oozes intangibles.
Thompson is scheduled to visit LSU this weekend, and I suspect we'll know more about the Tigers' chances come Monday.
For what it's worth, LSU has not given up their pursuit of Landon Collins, but I think that ship has sailed.
LSU also has an outside chance at 5-star Florida cornerback Tracy Howard. Howard initially had plans to visit LSU this weekend; however, he's now headed to Florida this weekend. It's possible that Howard will visit LSU next weekend; although, that has not been set up at this point. It once seemed that LSU had a strong chance at Howard, but now those chances are dwindling. Do not be too surprised if he commits to Florida this weekend. But if he does make it to Baton Rouge on the 27th, then LSU definitely has a shot.
If LSU strikes out with these out of state guys, it's certainly not the end of the world. LSU's roster does not dictate that they must sign a full class of 25 this year. But landing a couple or more of these guys would turn what is a solid class into a very, very good one.
LSU hosted their "Boys From The Boot" Junior Day last weekend for Louisiana prospects in the Class of 2013 and handed out a few offers. I have created The Big Board for the Class of 2013 that lists a number of the prospects on LSU's radar for the Class of 2013. LSU will host another Junior Day for both in-state and out of state prospects on February 4th where I expect they will hand out some more offers.
247 Sports recently updated their Top 247 for the Class of 2013 and the following Louisiana players and LSU targets were included:
76. Desean Smith TE - Barbe HS
80. Ishmael Wilson OT - Dallas, TX
89. Isiaiah Golden DT - Gary, TX
102. John Diarse WR - Neville HS
116. Ricky Jefferson ATH - Destrehan HS
118. Kendell Beckwith DE - East Felciana HS
177. Jeryl Brazil ATH - Loranger HS (LSU Commitment)
180. Tim Williams DE - University HS
203. Raheem Falkins WR - Carver HS
206. Ronald Lewis WR - West Jefferson HS
210. Noel Ellis CB - Karr HS
225. Jetavious Wilson WR - Bastrop HS
247. Kenneth Santa Marina - McDonough 35 HS
We will start to get a bit more clear picture after the next Junior Day when I expect several more offers to be given out. That will lead into spring evaluation and the summer camp period where LSU gets most of their commitments. Overall, the Class of 2013 in the state of Louisiana looks a bit deeper than this year with top shelf talent, but it lacks any truly elite players such as Landon Collins. As you know, 2011 was filled with elite players.