Sept. 1 marked the day that college recruiters could reach out to junior prospects for the first time.
LSU was one of the busiest teams taking advantage of the change in the calendar. LSU sent custom edits and pieces of advice to a handful of its Class of 2018 commits, even extending offers to a few of the top prospects in the class — all before boarding a flight to Green Bay, Wis., for the season opener.
Two notable prospects that the LSU coaches contacted were former 2018 wide receiver commit Devonta Jason and defensive back commit Corione Harris. The 4-star prospects from Landry-Walker High School in New Orleans were anxious for the calendar to turn to September after re-opening their recruitments in July and being inaccessible to coaching staffs in August.
LSU coach Les Miles, Director of Player Personnel and Assistant Athletic Director Austin Thomas and wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig were among the four different members of the staff to reach out to Jason. He’s glad they did.
“I see they still got love and that it’s all business,” Jason told SEC Country. “Coach Les Miles was telling me how he wished that I was a Tiger already up there at LSU.”
Jason rescinded his verbal commitment to the in-state power earlier in the summer after a spring full of marquee offers — including Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Miami, among others — as well as poor communication with the LSU coaching staff. That reached a head in July, as he and his best friend and teammate, Harris, de-committed together to explore their options.
Like Jason, Harris was anxious for the calendar to turn to reconnect with numerous members of the Tigers’ staff, most notably secondary coach Corey Raymond, who, along with Thomas and Brian Squeglia, were quick to touch base on Thursday.
“They wanted me to have a great season and hopefully, they will see me on campus soon for some games,” Harris told SEC Country. “It means a lot to know that they are still considering me and they know that I’m still considering them, too, so this was really for me.”
Both Jason and Harris committed early on — Jason in November 2015 in the middle of his sophomore season and Harris a few months later during the “Boys From The Boot” event in February 2016. That was before both of their recruitments began to balloon.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Jason and 6-foot-1, 170-pound Harris were both on campus for LSU’s annual 7-on-7 tournament in late July. Miles and Thomas parked a golf cart in front of the Landry-Walker field to watch the recent de-commits, but they received much more attention.
Area recruiter Jabbar Juluke, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Craig all spent time in Jason’s ear. Their message was clear: The staff stood behind Jason and he remained a top priority.
“They were just letting me know how many of the coaches from the school are behind me, including coach Les Miles himself,” Jason told SEC Country. “It was great to hear, and I was just all ears.”
The one hiccup was communication. Jason wanted to feel wanted. You can’t blame him either.
The same goes for Harris, who showed out in style during the 7-on-7 tournament despite wearing a cast on his left wrist. That didn’t stop the cornerback from impressing those in attendance, particularly Raymond, who began to re-engage the prospect.
“There’s no doubt I’m still strongly considering the Tigers,” Harris told SEC Country. “They have to do their part and show me more reasons to head to Baton Rouge. I understand LSU is ‘DBU,’ but there’s more to the game. I want to become a better person and also want to learn more about the academics.”
The powerful and immediate communication is a positive step in the right direction for LSU’s chances of landing both New Orleans recruits. It’s clear that the coaching staff has prioritized both Jason, the No. 11 wide receiver in the 2018 class, and Harris, the No. 6 overall prospect in Louisiana.
LSU is resolute on adding both recruits to bolster the wide receiving corps and secondary, which will both be positions of necessity if the Tigers need to replace D.J. Chark, Kevin Toliver II and Donte Jackson after the 2017 season. Although Jason and Harris recently reopened their recruitments, they are both holding LSU in high regard and have done little to entertain any other schools thus far.
OL commit Saahdiq Charles visits No. 2 school
Charles, a 3-star offensive lineman from Madison, Miss., spent the first college football Saturday at nearby Mississippi State for the Bulldogs’ opener against South Alabama.
There isn’t much cause for concern considering Charles is one of the most solid Tigers commitments in the 2017 class. Of course, when he committed back in May, he chose LSU — which is actually his hometown team — over Mississippi State — an in-state power where he currently lives.
A visit is a visit, but it’s always worth monitoring. The Bulldogs continue to court Charles, one of the top lineman in the country, and have easy access to the in-state prospect. However, those efforts thus far are likely to be unsuccessful. Charles is a huge fan of LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and is close friends with fellow offensive line commit Austin Deculus. Charles has also emerged as one of the top prospect recruiters for the Tigers, trying to help the team reel in fellow Mississippi standout, 5-star running back Cam Akers.
LSU extends offer to another 4-star DB
As I just mentioned, cornerback will be a major position of emphasis in the 2018 class.
LSU already holds commitments from two of the best in the class — 5-star Kelvin Joseph and 4-star Nadab Joseph. The team also has offers out to the aforementioned Corione Harris, 5-star Texas cornerback Anthony Cook, 4-star Texas cornerback Jalen Green and 5-star Florida cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr., who told SEC Country that the Tigers are currently his leader.
Add 4-star Michigan athlete Kalon Gervin to that mix as well. Gervin, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound prospect, is rated as the No. 14 athlete in the 2018 class and already boasts 26 offers.
— Kalon Gervin (@KalonGervin) September 2, 2016
If you’re keeping count, the Tigers are in the hunt for a high number of blue-chip corners. Gervin is just the latest.
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.