Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss the latest with 3-star Alabama edge-rusher Andres Fox, who recently narrowed his top schools down to four. LSU, Stanford, Auburn and Alabama are all in the mix and each hosted Fox for critical visits in the past month. Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here.
Andres Fox is down to 4, but has a leader
MOBILE, Ala. — Andres Fox is down to four, but more accurately, he’s narrowed the field down to one.
Fox, a 6-foot-4, 232-pound edge rusher from Mobile, Ala., recently named a final four of LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Stanford, and made unofficial visits to each of those campuses over the last month. When he returned home, he spent his final free week of summer going over his options and mulling his decision.
Eventually, he and his family settled on one school.
The 3-star pass rusher is keeping his leader private because he is not 100-percent sold on his decision — at least yet. Two of his four finalists are still in the mix, while the fourth has fallen off a bit after a recent visit.
“I already have a plan of where I want to go, but I’m just giving it a little time and I’m waiting,” Fox told SEC Country. “I’m undecided on the other two, but I’m keeping them just in case and seeing who’s real.”
When asked for a hint about his leader, Fox kindly replied: “I went to the school, but I can’t say because then you’ll know. LSU is recruiting me the hardest still.”
That might be the biggest hint that Fox could provide because he made visits to Auburn and Alabama in July, then returned to Stanford later in the month. His final visit was to Baton Rouge on July 30 when the LSU players reported for fall camp.
How did Fox decide upon these four as his finalists? How did a leader emerge from the pack?
“It’s all about the fit,” he said. “Where do I belong at? I was looking at the environment and stuff like that.”
More specifically, the school that is secretly at the top for Fox made a lasting impression on the top-20 weakside defensive end. The environment checked out both on the field and in the classroom.
So, another hint about which school is actually out in front?
“It’s just the kind of players that are there,” he said. “They all want to be great and being around a lot of great people, they’ll push you to be the best person in the classroom and on the field.”
Timeline for a decision
Fox’s timeline for making a decision is very fluid.
It would not be surprising to see the 3-star edge rusher pop ahead of his senior season at Mobile (Ala.) Christian School or wait until National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
He should be a commitment watch beginning now. He isn’t sure what will push him to pop, but it certainly could happen in August or sometime soon after the college football season gets underway.
“Maybe before the season, but it could go until signing day,” Fox said. “I just want to see how they [the four schools] do.”
Why a recent stop in Baton Rouge was critical
LSU is recruiting Fox is the hardest.
Evidence: Ed Orgeron is personally spearheading his recruitment himself.
The Tigers coach regularly chats with the Alabama pass rusher on FaceTime. Orgeron hosted Fox for a spring football practice and again on July 30 when the LSU players reported for fall camp. Fox took in team and player meetings with Orgeron to get a better feel for life with the Tigers.
“I hung out with Coach O the whole day and he showed me how badly he wanted me,” Fox explained. “We went over academics. I got to go into meetings with the players and what it feels like to be a Tiger. Coach O was just talking to the whole team. It was great. He’s very hype.”
Fox also added that he could definitely envision playing for Orgeron.
Orgeron has played a key role recruiting several front-seven prospects in recent years. In the Class of 2018, he is responsible for personally courting Jarell Cherry, who plays the BUCK position just like Fox.
Getting attention from LSU’s head man has not gone unnoticed.
“It’s an honor,” Fox admitted. “For real. I would hate to disappoint him.”
Fox made the return visit to Baton Rouge along with his parents and little sister. For his mother and father, it was their first time on LSU’s campus.
Their focus, naturally, was on academics. Fox aspires to major in civil engineering, so the family toured through campus and got a close-up look at LSU’s engineering program.
Together, Fox and his parents agreed on his private leader, but he added his mother has given the seal of approval to each of the schools in his final four.
“They really liked it and it was my mom’s first time [at LSU],” he said. “It was pretty cool and I had to let my mom see all of my top four schools. It was important because my mom hadn’t seen LSU, and I really liked everything about it. She would be comfortable with whatever decision I made.”
“The engineering program was great,” Fox added.
It’s also worth noting that the 6-foot-4, 232-pound prospect is naturally a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end. LSU is recruiting Fox to play the BUCK, the same position currently occupied by those such as Arden Key, Andre Anthony and K’Lavon Chaisson.
Fox is being conditioned to play a stand-up edge rusher role for Mobile Christian — which they refer to as the JACK — and sees snaps at defensive end in three- and four-man fronts. He also sees action as a wide-9 end in certain looks.
Part of the reason for that is to get Fox ready for his role next year. Several of the schools in his top four employ a 3-4 defense, including LSU.
“I’m just getting ready for whatever position they want me to be at, but I think I’ll grow to be a defensive end,” said Fox. “That’s what I’ve played my entire life. [But LSU is recruiting me like] Arden Key. I like that, but it’s new, though.”
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) August 8, 2017
My Crystal Ball pick is in for LSU
When I first interviewed Fox in April at Nike’s The Opening regional in New Orleans, I put a Crystal Ball pick in for Auburn.
On Monday, I changed that pick to LSU and feel fairly confident in my selection. Mobile, Ala., is only an hour outside of Louisiana and is comprised of Auburn and Alabama fans, but I don’t believe that matters much to Fox.
Based on some hints I picked up at Fox’s practice on Monday afternoon, I believe Fox’s final visit of the summer — to LSU — was critical. The civil engineering program checked out and impressed his parents, who are playing an integral role in this decision with their son.
Fox has maintained that Orgeron is recruiting him the hardest. So it should not be a surprise that the Tigers fit the bill as his private leader, with schools such as Auburn, Stanford or Alabama competing for Nos. 2 and 3.
LSU has been searching for another defensive end/outside linebacker prospect to replace Adam Anderson in its 2018 recruiting class. Fox could be a stand-up rusher or add weight and be a 5-technique in the three-man front. Both schematically and academically, Fox fits. When you factor in Orgeron’s personal touch and LSU’s consistent approach, the Tigers make a lot of sense.
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here.