The holiday season is upon us, which also coincides with the heart of recruiting season.
So, why not pair the two?
LSU remains in the mix for some of the nation’s, and some of Louisiana’s, most coveted prospects. Commitments from some of those players would ultimately bolster the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class and cement a dynamic incoming crew for next year.
Which prospects should LSU fans be crossing their fingers for this holiday season? Here are five that Tigers fans should hope to see:
- Rashard Lawrence, 5-star DT, 6-foot-3, 305 pounds, Monroe, La.
There is absolutely zero doubt that the top player on LSU’s board is Lawrence, the top-rated prospect in Louisiana.
The No. 5 defensive tackle in the nation and No. 22 prospect overall, Lawrence is one of the three players at his position that remains uncommitted this late in the recruiting process.
More pressing is that LSU is likely out of the mix for top defensive tackle Rashan Gary and Derrick Brown (No. 3), so nabbing the lone 5-star player at a position of need is critical to the success of the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class. They face stark competition from both Alabama and Ohio State, which may ultimately have the edge at this point in the process.
The silver lining in this process is that LSU has already secured commitments from a pair of in-state defensive tackles, Edwin Alexander and Glen Logan, both of whom are hard commits. And LSU is really only in danger of losing senior Quentin Thomas and possibly junior Christian LaCouture.
However, Lawrence adds more depth to an already powerful defensive line and would give LSU an added advantage right away should the 5-star tackle decide to stay home.
2. Ben Davis, 5-star LB, 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Gordo, Ala.
LSU lost a major piece of the puzzle when 4-star Louisiana linebacker Michael Divinity unexpectedly de-committed earlier this month.
While LSU remains very much in the mix to nab a commitment from Divinity, the Tigers could bolster their recruiting class in a major way by swaying Davis to declare in their favor over UGA and Alabama.
LSU was ranked third in Davis’ top five, which included the aforementioned SEC powers in addition to Notre Dame (No. 4) and Auburn (No. 5).
One advantage LSU may have in this process is stability in its defensive coaching staff and the opportunity for early playing time. Both defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron — who recruited Davis — are returning for a second season, and the Tigers are set to lose three and upward of five linebackers to the NFL draft.
LSU may be third in the race for Davis, but a late push and commitment would pay immediate dividends for this year’s recruiting class.
3. Kristian Fulton, 4-star CB, 6-foot, 177 pounds, Metairie, La.
At one point in time, it seemed as if the top cornerback from New Orleans was a lock to wind up in Baton Rouge, La. However, the rest of the SEC has made a strong push for Fulton and certainly has knocked LSU off its favorite status.
However, Fulton has made more unofficial visits to LSU than any other school, largely because it’s less than an hour away from his hometown. Familiarity could go a long way with LSU continuing to filter the state’s top defensive backs into the program.
Fulton is still in the process of figuring out his official visits, but will likely make stops at each of his top schools, which also includes Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M, Miami and North Carolina.
LSU’s current recruiting class includes three defensive backs and only one cornerback, Saivion Smith. Fulton would fill a major need for the Tigers, who want to pad their depth at the position.
If immediate playing time is the most important factor, LSU may fall short in landing Fulton.
4. Willie Allen, 4-star OT, 6-foot-7, 300 pounds, New Orleans, La.
Allen’s recruitment has been uber silent over the past couple of months. The prized New Orleans offensive tackle stayed away from social media during the high school football season and has been mum as he began taking official visits to some of the SEC powers.
LSU faces stark competition for Allen from UGA, Ole Miss, Auburn and TCU, the five schools that Allen has or is scheduled to take official visits to.
LSU seemingly fell behind in the recruitment of Allen, but an official visit on Jan. 15 gives the Tigers the ability to make a strong pitch. Allen, a physical specimen with major upside, could be a key piece to the puzzle as LSU begins to rebuild its offensive line.
With Vadal Alexander set to graduate, there is an immediate opening at one of the tackle spots for Allen opposite of Jerald Hawkins, should he return for his senior season. Allen could team up with former John Curtis Christian School teammate Malachi Dupre and fellow New Orleans native Leonard Fournette at LSU.
Much depends on Allen’s official visit, but for now, it’s hard to count out the Bayou Bengals.
5. Stephen Sullivan, 4-star WR, 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Donaldsonville, La.
LSU fans will have to wait one day after Christmas to find out whether Sullivan will be gift-wrapped in purple and gold, but it might be worth the wait.
Sullivan is scheduled to announce either LSU, Mississippi State and TCU on Saturday, Dec. 26.
The former LSU commit reopened his recruitment before the start of his senior season, yet he has kept LSU very much in the thick of things by way of numerous unofficial visits and an official on Dec. 11.
LSU has a pair of wide receivers in its current recruiting class in Texas 4-star receiver Dee Anderson and in-state 3-star receiver Da’Monte Coxie. The school is also in the mix for other in-state prospects such as Mykel Jones and Florida 4-star receiver Drake Davis.
In other words, there are backup plans for Sullivan. However, with LSU in the mix for so many receivers in this recruiting class, the team is obviously trying to shore up the position going forward.
LSU will have a high chance to get a second commitment from Sullivan. Better late than never, right?