It technically might be the offseason for LSU football, but we’re right in the heart of the recruiting period.
Seven LSU commits and even more of the Tigers’ top targets just spent a week in Beaverton, Ore., for Nike’s prestigious summer camp The Opening, impressing in the process. Many will return home — briefly — before several of the SEC’s top prospect camps get underway next week. That includes LSU’s annual affair, which takes place in Baton Rouge, La., July 21-23.
What’s important now? LSU may soon bolster its 2017 class and must do everything in its power to do the same for the 2018 version.
How LSU edged out 2 SEC powers for Delpit
LSU had long been 4-star safety Grant Delpit’s leader. He told SEC Country as much in early April after making a second visit to the Baton Rouge, La., for a spring practice along with his family.
That was before an onslaught of offers rolled in, though, which pushed his total to 30 and included Auburn and Florida, who were among the finalists for the nation’s No. 9 safety as he made his announcement last Saturday night.
Delpit, of course, landed with LSU, which made sense considering his relationship with area recruiter Bradley Dale Peveto and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, the fact that his best friend and high school teammate Jhamon Ausbon committed last month and that he hails from Louisiana.
But make no mistake: this was not as much of a runaway as many think.
A source close to the situation said that LSU’s lead for Delpit faded a bit after the New Orleans native visited — and earned an offer from — Auburn in early June.
“He fell in love with Auburn,” the source told SEC Country. “Auburn almost threw off the process for LSU.”
However, the impact of friends and family towered over a recent fling with Auburn, as well as a high opinion of Florida.
Delpit visited Gainesville, Fla., in April after picking up an overture from the Gators in March. Like LSU, Florida was one of the marquee programs to offer the safety early on in the spring and garnered much attention from Delpit soon after.
Though LSU led early and throughout for Delpit, it’s hard to discount the fact that two of the Tigers’ SEC rivals made as strong of a push for the talented defensive back as they did. “They were a close second,” the source put it, which means fans sometimes don’t realize how close of a race it can be for the nation’s top prospects, even when it appears that one team was out in front for the previous two months.
Top 2018 commit set to visit SEC rival next week
Over the weekend, LSU lost two integral components of its 2018 recruiting class. Teammates and best friends Corione Harris and Devonta Jason rescinded their verbal pledges to the in-state power and opted to reopen their recruitments.
Those de-commitments dropped the Tigers’ 2018 class down to three: 5-star cornerback Kelvin Joseph, 4-star safety Nadab Joseph and 4-star quarterback Zadock Dinkelmann.
Of those three, it’s a bit obvious that Joseph is the cornerstone of the class. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Baton Rouge, La., committed on the same day as Harris, and since has become exceedingly close with both him and Jason.
Like Harris and Jason, Joseph has seen his recruitment take off this spring, adding offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Notre Dame in a matter of weeks. Last month, the 5-star defensive back appeared to have wavered a bit on his commitment to LSU.
However, Louisiana’s top junior prospect has since cleared the air and reaffirmed his pledge to the Tigers. As he put it, LSU is his No. 1 school, but now he just has some other options in his back pocket.
That is completely natural, and guess what — more offers are going to continue to roll in for the elite defensive back. Like any renowned prospect, Joseph is going to have multiple options to choose from, whether he is committed at this stage or not.
That leads us to this: Joseph will participate in Alabama’s prospect camp next week, which comes right before LSU hosts its camp. It’s very likely Joseph will be joined by his good friends Harris and Jason, where all three could be courted by the Crimson Tide coaching staff.
Nonetheless, Joseph already holds an offer from the defending national champs, so there’s little reason to fear that the cornerback will follow in the footsteps of his close pals. He is firmly committed to LSU, and it will take a major turn of events before Joseph decides to open his recruitment back up.
It’s LSU and another SEC foe in the nation’s No. 7 safety’s top 2, and a decision could be close
Earlier this month, 4-star Louisiana safety Todd Harris revealed to SEC Country that he’s down to LSU or Ole Miss.
The elite defensive back could be close to committing soon, as he pinpointed sometime in the next few weeks before the season. Harris originally wanted to announce his decision on TV at the Under Armour All-American Game next January, but after discussing his plans with his family and Plaquemine (La.) High School coach Paul Distefano, he believes finalizing a commitment before the start of his senior season would be in his best interest.
He’s right, because there might not be a harder-hitting defensive back in the country than Harris, and that obviously comes with a greater risk of injury.
But the fact is Harris has narrowed his field down to the Tigers and Rebels for some time, but is waiting on one more hurdle before he can truly decide his college.
The nation’s No. 7 safety will be attending Alabama’s elite prospect camp next week before returning to The Boot to do the same for LSU. Harris, who maintains constant communication with Crimson Tide area recruiter Burton Burns, exhibited a lot of confidence that the defending champs will extend an offer his way once he and his family come through Tuscaloosa, Ala.
An offer from Alabama essentially would eliminate Ole Miss from the top two, leaving the Tide to compete with LSU for Harris’ commitment.
“Right now I’m really just favoring two schools, and that’s LSU and Ole Miss,” Harris revealed to SEC Country. “But once I get the ‘Bama offer, they’re going to hop right in no doubt.”
In other words, Harris is an LSU lean waiting to see if he can earn an offer from the defending SEC champs before he makes a decision. If he does, it’s LSU or Alabama; if he is unable to for some reason, it’s basically the in-state power over Ole Miss.
LSU’s chances seem very good considering the school’s constant lead for the elite safety dating back to earlier this year. LSU always has been among the schools courting Harris the hardest, and the No. 3 prospect from Louisiana has since made several trips to nearby Baton Rouge during the annual prospect events, spring practices and, more recently, the “Boys From The Boot.”
I certainly expect an offer from ‘Bama to put Harris in a tougher situation than he currently sits in. However, recent events that have transpired continue to add to my confidence that the elite talent will stay put in The Boot.
Grant Delpit, the nation’s No. 9 safety, is a close friend of Harris, as is fellow LSU commit Patrick Queen, who has joined Harris on several recruiting visits since the spring. I believe that the 4-star Louisiana native has a desire to play alongside Delpit in the LSU secondary, as both are capable of seeing the field extremely early and have the complimentary skill sets to make them as dangerous a one-two tandem as there is in the country. “DBU” would get that much more real if Delpit and Harris teamed up.
It’s ‘Tyler Time’
When the nation’s Nos. 1 and 2 defensive tackles meet up, it has a special name. It’s “Tyler Time.”
That’s according to 5-star Texan Marvin Wilson, who recently spent a week with fellow elite defensive lineman Tyler Shelvin at Nike’s The Opening in Oregon.
Shelvin is firmly committed to LSU, and the Tigers have eyes on pairing him up with Wilson in what only can be described as a dominant defensive front in the years to come. In fact, Shelvin is one of the biggest selling points to the nation’s No. 3 overall prospect.
The wrecking ball that is Wilson has made it known that LSU defensive line guru Ed Orgeron is LSU’s major selling point, but Shelvin is a close second. For those that believed that the top 2017 defensive tackle would have no interest in playing beside the No. 2 prospect at the position, think again. It’s intrigued Wilson and improved LSU’s chances of landing the mammoth Texan as he considers what life revolving around “Tyler Time” would be like both on and away from the field.
“Every time I see him, he pushes LSU,” Wilson told SEC Country in Oregon. “Coach O sells himself, and LSU sells itself with Tyler.”
We’ve known for some time that Wilson has held LSU in high regard dating to last year, but learning this knowledge changes the dynamic even more. If Wilson in fact believes that playing on the same defensive line as Shelvin will make him better, why would he even hesitate about doing so? The nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle is embedded at LSU with arguably the nation’s top defensive line coach, so other likely landing spots such as Alabama, Texas and Florida State would need to pull a rabbit out of their hat to compete.
Speaking of which, sources close to Wilson have backed up that belief that the 5-star tackle is quietly favoring LSU. Alabama and Florida State were long believed to be just as much in the mix as the Tigers — and very well could be — but besides from some of the Crimson Tide commitments recruiting Wilson, it’s LSU’s race to win. With that being said, Texas is considered a darkhorse for the Lone Star State product, and has potentially leapfrogged ‘Bama and Florida State in recent months. Wilson is expected to be making the rounds later this month for prospect camps at all of these schools, which could further cement one of these schools’ chances.
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.