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 expected 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 prospects could wind up committing — and potentially — flipping.
Could LSU add more surprise commitments?
LSU may be on the verge of adding more Texas flavor to its 2017 recruiting class as early as this weekend.
According to a source, two more Lone Star State prospects are nearing a decision to commit to LSU. The Tigers’ 2016 class featured a handful of elite Texas prospects such as 4-star safety Eric Monroe and 4-star outside linebacker Rahsaan Thornton, but the 2017 class is set be almost evenly divided between prospects from Louisiana and Texas.
As far as who may wind up committing this weekend, the options are aplenty.
A number of elite Texans are making the short trek to Baton Rouge, La., for LSU’s elite prospect camp. LSU commits Austin Deculus and Mannie Netherly are confirmed guests that will be in attendance, and they will be joined by a bevy of friends and perhaps future teammates, including 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, 4-star defensive end/outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson and standout 2018 cornerback Anthony Cook. The Texas crew will camp at LSU for the weekend and some could potentially pull the trigger on a pledge.
If I was a betting man, the two most-likely candidates in that group would be Chaisson and Cook. Chaisson recently declared Oklahoma as his leading school, but the North Shore High School (Houston) product has been intertwined with LSU since he procured his offer from the team during last year’s elite prospect camp. That was his first offer, and it placed the team very high in his decision-making process. He has also visited Baton Rouge, La., more than any other campus since then.
Chaisson is very close with LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and area recruiter Bradley Dale Peveto, and believes he’s the ideal fit as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. Those are just about all the boxes that need to be checked before Chaisson could land in LSU’s 2017 class.
Netherly is among the LSU commits recruiting Chaisson to Baton Rouge, La., and likewise, LSU commit Grant Delpit is doing the same with Cook, his former high school teammate. The No. 5 cornerback in the country among rising juniors, Cook is very high on LSU, and had an opportunity to meet with coach Les Miles and some of the other assistants on staff during the team’s satellite camp in Houston last month. Cook has remained steadfast about visiting the campus since then, and will make his way to LSU after stops at Georgia and Alabama.
LSU is gearing up for what should be a defensive back-heavy 2018 crop, which already features commitments from top Louisiana 5-star cornerback Kelvin Joseph and 4-star Miami safety Nadab Joseph, both of whom may be more inclined to play different positions in the secondary when they arrive at LSU. Cook is a pure cornerback that has the type of ball-hawking skills coach Corey Raymond covets. Raymond and Miles may push Cook to follow his friend Delpit to LSU upon making his inaugural visit to Death Valley.
The darkhorse here, obviously, is Wilson. The nation’s top defensive tackle may be more inclined to play out the rest of the summer before finalizing any decisions. As it stands now, he is inching closer to LSU, Alabama and Texas, but let’s not rule out Florida State just yet either. The 5-star Houston-area prospect seems like a safer bet to announce closer to National Signing Day in February rather than on his visit to LSU this week.
2019 QB nearly earned an offer
One of the nation’s top rising sophomore passers stepped foot on LSU’s campus last week, but will not be returning for LSU’s elite prospect camp this week.
Class of 2019 quarterback Grant Gunnell caught the attention of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Miles during LSU’s Houston satellite camp at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas, then followed that up with a stop in Baton Rouge, La., in the days leading up to the team’s annual 7-on-7 and lineman camp. Gunnell returned to Houston and is not expected to come back to LSU for its camp this week.
The 6-foot-6, 192-pound pro-style quarterback was nearly a lock to earn an offer from Cameron if he decided to attend LSU’s prospect camp. However, a source close to the situation told SEC Country that the coaching staff did not want to offer the budding passer during the visit before seeing his compete in person. There was a fear that Gunnell — who already boasts four offers, including Oklahoma State and Texas A&M — was a candidate to earn the offer during the unofficial visit, then not report back to camp the following week.
Nonetheless, Cameron is extremely high on the young quarterback. He, along with area recruiter Bradley Dale Peveto and wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig, gave Gunnell and his father a tour of the campus and the facilities during the visit.
As a freshman, Gunnell battled through injuries and appeared in only a handful of games. Still, he managed a 61-percent completion rate with 1,438 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He added another 305 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns.
Gunnell is a candidate to eventually earn the offer from LSU. Miles and Cameron were both impressed with him during the satellite camp, where he had an opportunity to throw to future LSU wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon. Of course, there is still plenty of time for the LSU staff to amp up their recruiting efforts on Gunnell, who seems very interested in the program.
As expected, LSU will host a number of blue-chip prospects from around the nation this week at its annual elite prospect camp. But there are some notable commitments and targets that are not expected to make the trek.
Three to note include commits Grant Delpit and Ausbon, as well as IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) teammate and top linebacker target Dylan Moses. The three Florida high schoolers recently reported to IMG Academy earlier this week and are set to go through the team’s annual boot camp over the weekend. Ausbon and Delpit recently made the trip from Texas to Florida, while Moses left Baton Rouge, La., and headed to the Sunshine State.
Delpit spent much of the spring in Louisiana. The same can be said about Ausbon and Moses. Ausbon, a 4-star wide receiver silently committed to LSU during his last visit to campus, while Moses made a surprise visit to the team facilities earlier in the summer. All three will be back in The Boot in October when IMG Academy travels to Baton Rouge, La., to take on Southern Lab.
Another commit that won’t be in attendance this week is Texas 4-star offensive lineman Edward Ingram. The DeSoto (Texas) High School product was at LSU’s prospect camp in June, but because of personal reasons, is likely going to be unable to make it back for this one.
One of LSU’s top 2017 targets that’s unable to make the visit for the camp is 4-star tackle Adrian Ealy. The state’s top lineman was on campus for the team’s annual lineman camp this past weekend before he hit the road to tour through Florida, Miami and Florida State this week. The Gators’ camp takes place at the same time at LSU’s.
Lastly, many of LSU’s top 2018 targets will be on hand for this prospect camp. The exception is New Orleans teammates Devonta Jason and Corione Harris. Like Ealy, both Harris and Jason were just at LSU for the 7-on-7 tournament last weekend and are not making any more visits this summer. The 4-star corner and 4-star wide receiver had a chance to engage with the Tigers’ coaches and re-establish their relationships with the staff after de-committing from LSU earlier this month.
Of the prospects unable to attend LSU’s elite prospect camp this weekend, many of them remain in good position with the team. That includes Moses and Ealy in the 2017 class and Jason and Harris in the 2018 class.
Moses hails from Baton Rouge, La., and made a name for himself a few years ago at this exact camp. Ealy just visited LSU, but is exploring some of out-of-state schools, including Miami, which poses one of the biggest threats to the Tigers’ chances of landing the elite lineman. Both Jason and Harris have been regular presences at LSU camps and recruiting events dating back to last summer and won’t be traveling anywhere else. It does not reflect on their relationship with LSU, but the fact that they are taking a much-needed break in the recruiting process before they dive into their high school football season.
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.