LSU fans refreshing their Twitter feeds Wednesday night may have found themselves in a spontaneous bliss if they caught what commits JaCoby Stevens and Mannie Netherly posted.
Stevens, the 5-star safety from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Netherly, the 4-star wide receiver from Crosby, Texas, right outside of Houston, unleashed tweets potentially foreshadowing the final pieces of LSU’s 2017 recruiting class.
Stevens tagged fellow LSU safety commit Grant Delpit and top remaining defensive back target Todd Harris in a tweet with the caption: “I’m just gunna let this sit here,” along with an emoticon captured in thought. Both Delpit and Harris responded to Stevens’ offering with “Scary sight.”
I'm Just Gonna Let This Sit Here!!! ???
— JaCoby Stevens (@jacobystevens7) August 18, 2016
Netherly posted an equally engaging photo of his evening at the Houston Touchdown Club. The 4-star wide receiver stood next to 5-star offensive tackle and LSU commit Austin Deculus and one of the Tigers’ primary outside linebacker targets K’Lavon Chaisson. Like Stevens, Netherly’s tweet was accompanied with an intriguing caption — that “LSU was getting the best out of Houston.”
— Mannie Netherly (@yovng_netherly) August 18, 2016
The Tigers’ 2017 class is nearly full with 20 pledges before the 2016 season even begins. However, between six and seven spots remain to be filled with Chaisson and Harris arguably the team’s top remaining targets.
On Harris …
Harris, the 4-star safety from Plaquemine (La.) High School, has long been considered an LSU lean. Besides the fact that the immensely talented defensive back lives right outside Baton Rouge, he has forged a longstanding relationship with Delpit and seemingly is doing the same with LSU’s newest safety commit, Stevens. Harris has been to more LSU events than any other contender, including Junior Day, the Bayou Picnic, numerous spring practices and the spring game, both prospect camps in June and July, as well as the team barbecue last month.
The 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back, who is rated as Louisiana’s No. 3 overall prospect and the No. 7 safety in the country, is down to LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss. Harris was on the precipice of announcing his commitment later this month before the start of his senior season, but opted to extend his recruitment into the fall to further explore his options. The Tide offered Harris at their prospect camp last month and area recruiter Burton Burns is making a strong push to pry the elite safety out of The Boot. Ole Miss is looking to bolster its defense with both Harris and his best friend, LSU linebacker commit Patrick Queen.
LSU is attempting to do the same with its secondary. The coaching staff wants to reel in three safeties to help replace Rickey Jefferson and Jamal Adams after the season. Two of the three are in place with Delpit and Stevens firmly embedded in the class, and LSU certainly would take Harris’ commitment as a third. That would likely close the door on any more defensive backs for the 2016 cycle and put the Tigers in a strong position to replenish the back end of the secondary heading into next fall.
On Chaisson …
Chaisson’s future is as difficult to predict as any of LSU’s remaining targets. The 6-foot-4, 211-pound Houston native has made the short drive to Baton Rouge several times since the summer, including the team’s Junior Day, the spring game and three-day stays for both prospect camps. That includes the team barbecue, where Chaisson had a chance to bond with several of the LSU commits.
LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Lone Star State recruiter Bradley Dale Peveto and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron have spearheaded Chaisson’s recruitment, with Peveto making numerous visits to Houston this spring and both Aranda and Orgeron getting in the linebacker’s ear while he was on campus. Chaisson considers himself an ideal fit to play the Buck linebacker in the 3-4 scheme, which is his preference for his position next year.
Chaisson’s attendance at so many LSU events is an encouraging sign that he’s strongly considering the Tigers, who last year secured a commitment from his former North Shore High School teammate Eric Monroe. However, sources close to Chaisson believe both Oklahoma and Houston are serious contenders for the 4-star prospect. Chaisson made the trip to Norman, Okla., earlier this summer, then pronounced the Sooners his leader. He named Houston his No. 2 school, and that can’t be taken for granted if Chaisson wants to play college football in his hometown. There’s also a belief that in-state power Texas could amp up its efforts to land the elite edge-rusher.
In summary …
Both Harris and Chaisson squarely sit atop LSU’s wish list for two of the final spots in the team’s 2017 recruiting class. As of today, it’s hard to imagine the Tigers would miss out on either of these prospects.
However, it should be known that both Alabama and Ole Miss pose serious threats to poach Harris, and there are several other programs that could pull Chaisson in another director. Both elite defenders have made visiting Baton Rouge a habit since the spring. It only helps the Tigers’ cause that Harris has developed relationships with Delpit and now Stevens, and that the team successfully recruited the Houston area with products such as Netherly, Deculus, Delpit, Jhamon Ausbon and Kary Vincent Jr., to name a few.
If I were a betting man, my money would be on Harris to be LSU’s third safety and Chaisson to be one of three or four linebackers included in the class.
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.