Linebacker is the primary position of emphasis as LSU looks to lock down the final spots in its 2017 class.
Dave Aranda, LSU’s defensive coordinator and the newly minted associate head coach, is leading the recruitment of 4-star Alabama inside linebacker Will Ignont. Ignont included the Tigers among his finalists and is weeks from announcing his commitment.
Ignont, who visited for two days during the July prospect camp and stayed for the recruiting barbecue, is scheduled to officially visit LSU again on Nov. 5 when the Tigers host Alabama.
Those plans remain despite LSU parting ways with Les Miles last weekend after the last-second loss at Auburn. Ignont grew up watching Miles coach the Tigers but won’t let that detract his interest in the school.
“Coach Aranda told me that out of all the linebackers they’re recruiting, I’m playing the best right now,” Ignont told SEC Country. “He really loves me at LSU. They’re still going to recruit me hard. Coach (Ed) Orgeron is going to recruit me hard. The Tigers still love me. They just told me to hang in there, which I will because I’ve always liked LSU. Whether Les Miles is there or not — he was big, I loved coach Miles — but with him not being there, I still love LSU. I still love the school itself.”
Potential coaching changes are why Ignont opted to delay his commitment this summer, but it turns out Miles’ departure hasn’t hurt LSU’s chances much.
Ignont and his mother are resolute on committing to a program — not a coach. After all, Kevin Steele was LSU’s defensive coordinator last year, but Aranda has taken over. The same goes for the change at the top.
“It’s college football. Coaches come and go. But, you know, LSU isn’t going anywhere,” Ignont said. “Everyone keeps asking me if I’m going to stop liking LSU or not going to go there just because coach Miles isn’t there. That doesn’t have anything to do with it. Coaches can leave at any time, so I’m going to commit to the school and not the coach.”
The 6-foot-2, 238-pound backer touched base with new LSU recruiting coordinator Dameyune Craig on Monday, which comes after a slight change in Ignont’s top schools.
LSU has been cemented at the top alongside in-state power Auburn and UCLA. The 4-star added Ole Miss to the mix, too, based on the team’s need for depth at linebacker.
Ignont plans to visit Oxford, Miss., then catch the Auburn game in Starkville, Miss., the week after. His trips to LSU and the West Coast are scheduled for November. Those visits and the attention he’s receiving from his finalists are bound to play a major role in his decision.
“Auburn and UCLA are probably recruiting me the hardest,” Ignont said. “I was definitely thinking more UCLA or Auburn (this summer). Now it’s really those four. I’m kind of leaning toward UCLA or Auburn right now just with everything going on. Those four are sticking out to me right now.”
Jontre Kirklin firmly entrenched in LSU’s class
NEW ORLEANS — Jontre Kirklin has been one of the longstanding stalwarts in LSU’s 2017 recruiting class.
Seven months after committing to the in-state power, the Lutcher (La.) High School athlete slated to transition to cornerback has put his recruitment on the back end of his to-do list.
After all, there isn’t much to confer about.
Kirklin, a 3-star commit, has not been in contact with any schools other than LSU and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond this fall. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering his firm stance with the Tigers and relationship with the coaching staff.
“Everything is going well in my recruitment,” Kirklin told SEC Country after accounting for 3 touchdowns in Lutcher’s district opener.
“To be honest, I haven’t been worrying about it much. My focus is on the season, then I’ll let college come into play when the high school season is over with and I get another ring.”
Kirklin is attempting to engineer his Bulldogs to a second consecutive Louisiana Class 3A state championship, and to do that, he has put potential visits and Saturdays in Death Valley on hold … for now.
That hasn’t deterred communication between Kirklin and Raymond. LSU’s defensive backs coach speaks with the future cornerback weekly.
Not surprisingly, Raymond already has begun coaching Kirklin from afar.
“The communication is great,” Kirklin said. “I talk to them every week. They’ll text me and give me some words of encouragement, or they’ll call me every once in a while and just check in on me.”
With Kirklin’s focus on the season at hand and returning to the state title game, it’s clear he committed in February to avoid dealing with those types of distractions during the fall. Kirklin worked out during LSU’s June prospect camp and is cemented as the second cornerback in the 2017 class along with 4-star Texan Kary Vincent Jr.
Kirklin plays quarterback for Lutcher but will switch to defense next fall. That’s a transition he’s looking forward to despite the success he’s sustained directing the offense the past four years.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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