With the college football season kicking off this weekend, prospects are finally going to resume their visits to campuses for marquee games. LSU has quite a few of those.
LSU is expected to host all 20 of the team’s current commits, as well as undecided recruits and prospects committed elsewhere. Among them is 4-star Alabama outside linebacker VanDarius Cowan.
But there are two notable targets in the Class of 2017 that fans should not expect to be on hand for official visits this fall.
Last week, 4-star Amite (La.) wide receiver Devonta Smith, the No. 2-rated prospect in the state, detailed to SEC Country his plan to take official visits to Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Miami.
The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Smith remains undecided about where he’ll take his fifth and final official visit — another Big Ten school is a possibility — but has already ruled out official trips to the in-state Tigers as well as Alabama.
Is that a cause for concern? Not really.
Smith has been to LSU quite a few times in recent months, including some spring practices, the June prospect camp and an unplanned stop at the team barbecue in late July.
The same goes for Alabama, where the 4-star standout has visited equally as often. Smith attended the team’s spring game, June prospect camp and fall scrimmage in August.
In other words, he has a good idea about both LSU’s and Alabama’s campuses, so why would he spend one of his five allotted official visits on a team he’s already very familiar with and can travel to with ease?
“I’m not going to take an official visit to a place I know I can get to,” Smith told SEC Country.
Having said that, expect Smith to make his way to Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa, Ala., at some point this fall. I’d also count on members of both coaching staffs to be on hand Friday nights once his senior season gets underway.
His absence at LSU is nothing to fret over when Smith has been a regular visitor throughout the spring and summer. The Tigers are cemented as a finalist for the 4-star wide receiver and will almost definitely have a hat in front of him when he makes his decision on Feb. 1.
The same goes for Moses
Like Smith, Dylan Moses won’t take one of his five official visits to LSU. Why would he?
The nation’s No. 1-rated outside linebacker has been on LSU’s campus as much as any other school this spring and summer. And he hasn’t visited any school more often since he was an eighth-grader at University Lab School in Baton Rouge.
LSU fans understandably panicked a bit when Smith announced in late June that his fall official visit tour included Alabama vs. Kentucky (Oct. 1), Miami vs. Florida State (Oct. 8), Texas vs. Iowa State (Oct. 15), UCLA vs. Southern Cal (Nov. 19) and Ohio State vs. Michigan (Nov. 26). LSU was the noticeable team absent from that list, which was a bit of a head-scratcher considering Moses had just made a stop at the campus and it was the only school among his favorites to be excluded.
Upon further review, it’s no cause for concern. In Moses’ plans, there is a four-week gap in which the 5-star talent does not officially visit any school. In that span, LSU hosts Ole Miss (Oct. 22) and Alabama (Nov. 5), and the team has a bye week sandwiched in between. It seems logical that the Baton Rouge native could make his way back home sometime during that period.
Here’s what LSU has going in its favor with the standout linebacker:
- Baton Rouge is his hometown. He embraces his Louisiana roots and has a desire to play in front of the hometown crowd.
- He fired off the tweet heard ’round the world indicating he’d like to see the Tigers nab a national championship. In a way, Moses returning back to The Boot from IMG Academy (Brandenon, Fla.) is a LeBron James-like story.
- Moses has maintained an outstanding relationship with coach Les Miles and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. He’s been visited by recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron this spring and has really hit it off with defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who has big plans for Moses if and when he suits up for LSU.
- He wants to wear the No. 7 and follow in the footsteps of Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Leonard Fournette. It will be up to the latter to pass down the jersey to either Moses or, let’s say 5-star safety JaCoby Stevens, once Fournette declares for the NFL Draft.
- As mentioned earlier, Moses hadn’t visited anywhere else more. He spent a week on campus for spring practices, not only watching but sitting in on Aranda’s defensive meetings. He made his way back in June. Last fall, he attended three games in Tiger Stadium after de-committing. Moses has familiarity with LSU’s campus and game-day environment.
In other words, there’s no harm in the 5-star recruit excluding LSU from his official visits list.
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 Tiger Stadium.