It’s camping season, and per tradition, LSU is gearing up for what should be a star-studded affair Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the team’s annual elite prospect camp.
Notable prospects from the 2017, 2018 and 2019 classes are expected to be in attendance each day. The camp kicks off on Thursday, July 21, followed by a double session on Friday and the final day on Saturday.
Many offers are extended to be handed out by the LSU coaching staff on each day, and commitments could certainly follow as well. Here is the latest on which commits could wind up committing — and potentially — flipping.
Ole Miss commit set to compete for offer
Three-star New Orleans linebacker Josh Clarke pledged to Ole Miss last month after taking in the Oxford, Miss., campus on a visit and finalizing his decision.
LSU’s coaches have long been scouting Clarke, most notably area recruiter Jabbar Juluke, who made several stops at Riverdale High School (Jefferson, La.) throughout the spring to check in on the highly sought-after outside linebacker.
Clarke told SEC Country he plans to attend LSU’s elite prospect camp this week and show out. The decision came after speaking to Juluke after committing to SEC West rival Ole Miss last month.
“It’s really great, honestly, that LSU is still on me,” Clarke told SEC Country. “After I committed, I reached out and he said he’s still going to recruit me, and to stay focused and congratulations and remind me that’s he’s still recruiting me highly.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect, rated as the No. 31 outside linebacker in the 2017 class, will have the opportunity to impress defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and linebackers coach Bradley Dale Peveto against what should be a star-studded cast of prospects on hand in Baton Rouge, La.
Clarke remains steadfast on earning an official offer from the in-state power, though if he doesn’t, he already is committed to Ole Miss.
“I’m trying to go against everyone that they feel is the best. I still want the offer,” Clarke said. “It would mean a lot to finally get the offer. I’m one of the top linebackers in the state. Knowing I don’t have an offer from LSU … it doesn’t really get to me. I’ve just been waiting on it without really stressing. I’m still open to them a little bit, and you never know what can happen.”
Count Clarke as a potential flip candidate if he does receive an offer from the LSU coaching staff this week. Not only could LSU bolster its outside linebacker depth with the talented in-state prospect, but it could pry him away from a rival, too.
LSU pushing for LB commitment
In addition to Clarke, a number of other high-profile linebacker recruits are expected to be attendance for the elite prospect camp. That includes 4-star Alabama inside linebacker Will Ignont and 3-star Florida outside linebacker Nadarius Fagan.
Ignont recently included LSU in his top four along with SEC rival Auburn, UCLA and Michigan after breaking his silent commitment to Alabama last month. Aranda has recently made contact with a bevy of out-of-state linebackers to try and add depth to LSU’s current class, and that includes Ignont, who is high on the Tigers and the prospect of playing in Aranda’s 3-4 scheme.
“I said no one was really recruiting me, and he said that he’s going to change that,” Ignont told SEC Country. “We’ve had communication once a week, and I’m good with that. I see (LSU) as a good fit. They’re losing a lot of linebackers and don’t have much depth right now. Coach Aranda told me if I stay on my Ps and Qs, I’m definitely someone that can make an impact, and that’s big for me.”
This will be Ignont’s second visit to LSU after taking in a game last October. The Alabama native plans to see a different side of the campus on this second visit and could be in line to make a decision within the next few weeks.
Expect Aranda to push Ignont, the nation’s No. 6-rated inside linebacker, for a commitment during the visit. LSU only holds one other linebacker pledge from 4-star athlete Patrick Queen, and along with Ignont, could certainly bolster their depth at the position. After this season, LSU will lose starters Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley, and will have a competition to see who starts opposite Devin White.
Also expected to return to LSU is Fagan, who last visited Baton Rouge, La., for the Tigers’ spring game in April. Then, the Miami native named LSU in his top five.
That was back in April — and since then, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound prospect has made several visits to Syracuse and put the Orange out front. A visit to LSU could shake things up, depending on where the coaches believe they stand with other outside linebacker targets like Dylan Moses, K’Lavon Chaisson and Christopher Allen.
There’s a lot to be determined in this visit for Fagan and a host of other linebackers, but if LSU is confident on where it stands with with the other top prospects at this position. Nonetheless, LSU should walk away from this camp with another linebacker commitment to pair with Queen moving into August.
Top JUCO DL no longer in touch with LSU
Three-star junior college defensive end Joe Anderson seemed like a likely candidate to eventually earn an offer from LSU at some point this summer. However, the Reserve, La., native has pushed the hometown Tigers off of his radar in the past few weeks and is not expected to attend camp this week.
Anderson told SEC Country he has tried to get in touch with Ed Orgeron multiple times since the June prospect camp — where he did not earn an offer — and has no intentions of returning to Baton Rouge, La., without fixing the communication.
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound strong-side ended is the top junior college prospect at the position in the 2017 class, but was left with a poor taste in his mouth after attending LSU’s June camp, testing well and leaving without an offer.
Anderson, who signed with Ole Miss after finishing up his time at Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.) in 2015, holds offers from Mississippi State and Texas A&M, among others, and now seems destined to focus on his other SEC options instead of LSU.
The Copiah-Lincoln Junior College standout was option No. 1A at LSU’s defensive line spots and could certainly jump on Orgeron’s radar again depending on what happens later this month with Isaiah Buggs.
The nation’s No. 1 weak-side end, Buggs, is expected to commit later this month. LSU is considered the prohibitive favorite over fellow SEC West powers Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
Buggs should be announcing later on in July and is expected to attend LSU’s campus later this month. The Ruston, La., native maintains a good relationship with Orgeron, who likely has shifted his focus to Buggs over Anderson because of LSU’s chances of landing the junior college defensive end this month.
If Buggs shocks Orgeron and commits to a rival school ahead of LSU, it would leave the Tigers in a precarious position along the defensive line. That remains a long shot, though.
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.