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 Derek Stingley Jr.‘s upcoming commitment, which is scheduled to be announced in two weeks. The 5-star cornerback has long been a priority for LSU, so we break down the Tigers’ chances in the race.
The latest on 5-star CB Derek Stingley Jr.
We are merely two weeks out from one of the most anticipated commitments in the Class of 2019.
Derek Stingley Jr., the nation’s No. 1-ranked cornerback and a prospect squarely in the mix to be the top prospect in Louisiana, will decide from LSU, Florida and Texas on Wednesday, June 20 at 1:30 p.m. CT.
The 5-star prospect from The Dunham School in Baton Rouge, La., has already made a decision, I’m told. That became even more evident when Stingley announced that he would not only commit in two weeks, but that his recruitment would be over and he would ink his national letter of intent during the December signing period and then enroll early. On June 20, Stingley will put a bow on his recruitment, which really got underway this time two years ago when former Tigers coach Les Miles offered him as a talented rising sophomore.
Fast forward to now and Stingley, who boasts an impressive list of more than 30 offers, is down to just three. Despite giving LSU an early commitment then backing off in the spring of 2016, the hometown team remains squarely in the race. In fact, the Tigers are the favorite here, which Stingley made public a few months ago.
Consider this: LSU was Stingley’s first marquee overture. The rest of the nation took notice soon after and offers began to pour in. Naturally, Stingley wanted to explore all of his options, but didn’t want to be disloyal to his verbal pledge, so he opened up his recruitment.
Why LSU remained No. 1
Stingley mentioned LSU as a top school soon after de-committing in the spring of 2016, but was able to making visits to several schools, most notably Florida, Texas, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. He returned to LSU for several camps that summer and again in the fall for home games.
Last summer, defensive backs coach Corey Raymond began a full-court press for the 6-foot-1, 193-pound cornerback. The LSU coaching staff welcomed Stingley to the football ops facility for his 16th birthday. Stingley continued to make return stops to LSU that summer — for multiple camps and again more games, but also some unofficial trips just to get better acquainted with the staff.
Often, Stingley mentions relationships as a crucial part of his decision-making process, and his connection with Raymond looms large right now. Raymond has been developing a bond with Stingley for three years — as a young prospect, as a one-time commitment and now as a priority target. During a visit to The Dunham School (La.) last month, the elite corner had this to say about his relationship with LSU’s defensive backs coach.
“They don’t need to do anything different because we’ve been building a relationship for three years,” Stingley told SEC Country in May. “We don’t need to talk every day and that’s fine because of how long we’ve been talking. I like how he [Raymond] goes about things. He’s calm and collected. He’s taught me a lot about life off the field and those lessons go a long way.”
Additionally, coach Ed Orgeron has inserted himself into the picture more over the past year. As has defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and first-year safeties coach Bill Busch.
After learning that Alabama — not LSU — was going to sign 2018 5-star Florida cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. last February, Orgeron called the Stingley house to ensure that the family realized he would be a major priority into this recruiting cycle.
According to sources in the building, Stingley is viewed as a plug-and-lay prospect for the Tigers. With outside cornerback depth thin and Greedy Williams expected to head to the NFL following the 2018 season, Stingley has a chance to earn a starting job when the team opens up the season in 14 months.
Texas, Florida remain contenders
While Stingley has gone public about LSU’s lead, he is coming off two official visits in as many months. Neither were to LSU.
The top-ranked cornerback made his way to Texas at the start of May and to Florida last weekend. Stingley has a former high school teammate, Mike Williams, in Austin, and has a relationship with members of the Gators’ staff dating back to his junior year. Besides LSU, Stingley has visited Florida’s campus the most.
Texas signed an impressive collection of cornerbacks in 2018, but has sold Stingley on competing for playing time right away. The fact that Williams is already on the roster and the Longhorns are in good shape with several other 2019 local recruits such as Makiya Tongue, Stingley’s best friend, and Christian Harris, looms large. It’s also worth mentioning that Stingley and his family were wowed by the team’s updated facilities on their official visit.
Like LSU, Florida has a need for cornerbacks in 2019 to come in and play right away. Stingley took in the Gators’ spring game and returned two months later for his official visit. During each stop, he spent time with another blue-chip cornerback that has Florida in their lead group. First, it was fellow Louisiana standout Chester Kimbrough, and most recently, it was fellow 5-star Chris Steele. Florida has long been a school that Stingley has gravitated toward and caught his attention, so it’s no surprise to see them as LSU’s biggest challenger at the moment.
The pick: LSU
Despite valiant efforts from the Texas and Florida staffs, it’s hard to ignore the momentum that LSU has garnered over the past year. As mentioned earlier, birthday celebrations, Raymond’s surging relationship and the need for plug-and-play cornerbacks in 2019 has all worked in the Tigers’ favor.
On June 20, 2017, I put a Crystal Ball pick in for LSU to keep Stingley home. That came after a string of June unofficial visits in which Stingley visited campus and worked out twice for the annual 7-on-7 camp and the elite camp, and drew the attention of not only Raymond, but Aranda and Orgeron.
Since de-committing two years ago, Stingley has remained tight-lipped in public interviews and worked feverishly not to reveal his cards too much. I was surprised when the 5-star corner went public with his sentiment about the Tigers earlier in the spring, but only because he has kept his recruitment so close to the vest for so long.
Stingley has not visited LSU’s campus since the spring game in late April, but he is expected back at some point this month. He has such a high familiarity with the coaches, a return visit would only further the Tigers’ chances. SEC Country expects LSU to land its second 5-star prospect and the country’s No. 1 cornerback on June 20.
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