BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU hosted its annual 7-on-7 tournament and linemen camp on Saturday, and numerous commits and targets were in attendance.
LSU quarterback commit Lowell Narcisse and running back commit Clyde Edwards-Helaire headlined the Louisiana Bootleggers squad, which took the hardware in the tournament. That team also featured a star-studded cast of prospects, including Tennessee commit Cheyenne Labruzza, newly offered 2018 defensive back target Jammal Houston and recently offered 2019 wide receiver Trey Palmer.
Many more were on hand and caught the attention of the LSU coaching staff. Here’s some tidbits from the afternoon:
Narcisse, Edwards-Helaire leads Bootleggers to the championship
Narcisse helped the Bootleggers to the championship at the LSU 7-on-7 tournament, putting forth a highlight-reel tournament and catching the attention of numerous Tigers coaches. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was a regular spectator for Narcisse, offering some critiques for the 4-star dual-threat quarterback’s throws and joking around with the LSU commitment. As was wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig, who is likely chomping at the bit to work with the quarterback he recruited while at Auburn, and now will have to chance to help develop as the future centerpiece of the Tigers’ offense.
Today, Narcisse looked as sharp as he has in weeks. Keep in mind Narcisse missed winter workouts because of personal issues, but was one of the snubs at Nike’s Opening regional camp in New Orleans. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect looked long and lean, and his arm was on-point this afternoon. Most impressive was his ability to drop deep passes on a dime, which he did on numerous occasions to two of the Tigers’ top targets, 2018 athlete Jammal Houston and 2019 wideout Trey Palmer.
Additionally, Narcisse’s future teammate Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a constant threat out of the Bootleggers’ backfield. The 5-foot-8, 191-pound running back is coming off an outstanding showing at The Opening in Oregon, where he tested through the roof along with LSU wide receiver commitment Jhamon Ausbon. Edwards-Helaire is an explosive weapon ready to be unleashed in the LSU offense, and spoke with running backs coach Jabbar Juluke and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron sporadically throughout the afternoon in between terrorizing defenses.
Newly offered athlete impresses all over the field
Jammal Houston just procured his offer from LSU on Friday morning, but wasted little time before capturing the coaches attention. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound New Orleans native lined up at both wide receiver and defensive back for the Louisiana Bootleggers, showing off his ability to be a down-the-field threat on offense and a speedy defensive back as well.
The 4-star prospect from John Ehret High School (Marrero, La.) caught the attention of both Craig and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, who watched Houston very closely after offering him a scholarship over the phone Friday.
Houston clocked a 4.45-second 40 last month at the June prospect camp and is expected to return to campus again next week to try and improve those times and show out even better during one-on-one drills in front of the LSU coaches. The Ehret product will likely get some face time with coach Les Miles, and it seems inevitable that the budding talent will be pushed to commit — and will likely succomb. Sources close to the situation believe Houston is leaning toward pledging to the in-state power, though the “athlete” label remains a bit unclear, because he was offered as a defensive back but may be leaning toward remaining on the offensive side of the ball.
Recent de-commits got plenty of face time
Class of 2018 standouts Devonta Jason and Corione Harris were front and center throughout the 7-on-7 tournament. Landry-Walker High School (New Orleans) was one of the dominant forces to be reckoned with on the afternoon. Jason was uncoverable at wide receiver and Harris — despite a broken thumb — completely blanketed every receiver that lined up in front of him.
The 4-star teammates re-opened their recruitments last weekend to further consider all of their newly procured offers from the spring. They showed off just what the LSU coaches might be missing during tournament play Saturday.
The Tigers’ coaches were quick to react, though. Craig saw firsthand as Jason hauled in a jump ball for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone early on in the tournament. He and area recruiter Jabbar Juluke both spent time with the 6-foot-3, 180-pound wide receiver in an effort to ensure that the relationship between the school and the prospect were in good shape. Jason remains a top priority for LSU in its 2018 recruiting class, but the wide receiver wants to go through the recruiting process without being committed — at least in its early stages.
The same goes for Harris, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound cornerback who has also seen his offer sheet blow up this spring. Harris dominated in coverage in front of a very interested Raymond, who quickly ran over to the New Orleans prospect. LSU’s defensive backs coach also spent a good chunk of the day speaking with Harris’ mother, and it became very clear that even though the team is high on a number of talented cornerbacks in 2018, they are equally as infatuated with Harris.
When it’s all said and done, expect both Jason and Harris to be a part of LSU’s 2018 class. That won’t be anytime soon, but the high school teammates should be taking the same path to college, which will likely be at LSU.
Attention on The Boot’s top corner
LSU lost two cornerstone pieces of its 2018 class in Jason and Harris, but managed to keep 5-star cornerback Kelvin Joseph in place. That is quite the achievement considering the elite defensive back had also seen his recruitment take off this spring. He garnered a big-time offer from rival Alabama, and had once been contemplating opening up his recruitment as well.
However, Joseph did not follow the same path as his best friends Jason and Harris, and opted to remain committed to LSU, which he reiterated to SEC Country remains his No. 1 school.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback spent the early portion of the camp with Raymond and his father to ensure that everything stayed as is with his recruitment. According to a source close to the situation, Joseph was on the verge of de-committing from LSU to go through his recruitment without a verbal pledge, but opted not to follow that course.
Instead, Louisiana’s No. 1 cornerback in the 2018 class will leave The Boot on Monday to head to Alabama for the three-day camp along with his teammate Trenton Charles. Joseph will also make a stop at Mississippi State’s prospect camp Thursday before returning to Baton Rouge, La., for the weekend and participate in LSU’s elite prospect camp.
Though Joseph may have flirted with the thought of opening up his recruitment, the hesitation means he is far from sure about leaving LSU. He is the top priority in LSU’s 2018 class as it stands now, and his commitment is critical. Alabama may have a strong chance with the elite rising junior, but LSU maintains its edge — for now. The visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala., is certainly worth monitoring, but the fact that Joseph did not take any action, that he returned to LSU’s campus Saturday and maintains plans to do so again for next weekend, is all a positive sign for the Tigers’ chances of maintaining that all-important pledge moving into the fall.
Numerous targets on hand
The LSU coaches were busy spectators throughout the afternoon, because numerous targets were situated across the campus.
Four-star linebacker Patrick Queen and 4-star safety Todd Harris drew the attention of LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda for the majority of the day. Queen, the standout performer for the Livonia (La.) High School defense, snagged an interception and returned it for a touchdown in front of his future defensive coach. The tremendous in-state athlete continues to impress with a unique combination of speed, size and, most importantly, football IQ on the field. LSU has a steal in Queen, who continues to impress in every football setting between camps and 7-on-7 circuits.
The same can be said about Harris, the nation’s No. 7 safety, who is very close to finalizing his decision. The Plaquemine (La.) High School standout is down to LSU and Ole Miss, but has made an overwhelming number of visits to the in-state campus dating back to the spring, including during the Junior Day event, Bayou Picnic, spring practice and this past weekend. Sources close to the elite safety believe it’s LSU’s race to win, and depending on what happens this week when Harris visits Alabama, LSU could wrap up its commitment from Harris and likely round out its safety tandem for the 2017 class.
Both Juluke and Raymond paid close to attention to Cheyenne Labruzza, the Tennessee cornerback commit who played for the Bootleggers and made his first return trip to Baton Rouge, La., since committing to the Vols. Labruzza, a 3-star cornerback from Albany (La.) High School, sat atop the Tigers’ wish list at cornerback before eventually committing elsewhere in the SEC. However, Orgeron, his primary recruiter, has continued to court the in-state talent, and the rest of the LSU coaches made that overly apparent Saturday afternoon. Labruzza is very solid with Tennessee, but if he elects to return to campus later this week for LSU’s elite July prospect camp, it may be a sign that he is considering the Tigers more than he is letting on.
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.