It was a unique Louisiana Saturday night when LSU hosted Missouri. For the first time in a dozen years, Les Miles did not lead the Tigers out of the tunnel on game day.
Instead, it was Ed Orgeron, LSU’s interim head coach.
And with that, a few wrinkles were added to the mix.
During pregame warmups, Orgeron led a small collection of recruits to midfield. That included 2017 4-star safety Grant Delpit, 2017 4-star wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon, 2017 4-star junior college defensive end Isaiah Buggs and 2018 5-star cornerback Kelvin Joseph. It was a tactic never before used by Miles, and it was something that resonated with the prospects that made the trek to Baton Rouge to see this new era of LSU football.
Middle of the field with coach O: Grant Delpit, Jhamon Ausbon, Kelvin Joseph and Isaiah Buggs
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) October 1, 2016
LSU ended up hosting a bevy of top targets for the 42-7 rout of Missouri. Here’s what they thought about Orgeron’s LSU coaching debut:
- Saahdiq Charles, 3-star OL (LSU commit): “Last night was amazing. It was my first time there for a game, so I couldn’t tell you what the difference was. But from my opinion, there was the energy and emotion back in the game.” On the offense: “I liked it. I feel like I would fit in good in that system.”
- Grant Delpit, 4-star S (LSU commit): “It was a great bounce-back win and a momentum-building game. We played lights out.”
- Jhamon Ausbon, 4-star WR (LSU commit): “I love it. The offense looked good. They came out in a wide-four (set), so that’s different. I think this was the game that everyone wanted to see, so it was exciting!”
- Todd Harris, 4-star S (LSU target): “They looked good on both sides of the ball. Offense couldn’t be stopped. It still felt weird not seeing Coach Miles out there, but Coach O did an amazing job.”
- Aaron Moffitt, 3-star DL (LSU commit): “I thought it was great to see the team get a win, putting great numbers up and seeing all the players just having fun.”
- Adrian Ealy, 4-star OL (LSU target): “They played amazing. Coach O coached really well and it really opened my eyes up. I just wanted to see how Coach O coached the team and led the team. I’m still high on LSU and I wanted to see those things. I was really close with Coach (Les) Miles, so I was a bit hurt when I heard about the situation, but I made the decision on my own to go out there and watch LSU.”
- Kelvin Joseph, 5-star DB (LSU commit): “The team was flying around, getting after it and looking like a new team.”
- Kenan Jones, 4-star WR (LSU target): “I think the new offense was a good look. They passed the ball around more and I like that. Also, I feel that Coach O really did well in last night’s game.”
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) October 1, 2016
LSU commit Tory Carter makes Auburn visit
LSU fullback pledge Tory Carter was not at LSU for Saturday night’s tilt against Missouri. Instead, the 3-star Georgia product made the short trip to Auburn.
Carter was invited by Auburn tight ends coach Scott Fountain and told SEC Country he had a great time. He also has been receiving attention from other college programs, including Michigan.
The nation’s No. 4 fullback in the 2017 cycle, Carter already has reaffirmed his commitment to LSU since the firings of Miles and Cam Cameron. However, he seeks to play in an offense that uses the fullback, which is something he is keeping close tabs on with LSU moving forward.
If Saturday was any indication of what’s to come, consider Carter a fan.
“I was very excited that they got the win and in the fashion that they did,” Carter told SEC Country.
Where LSU turns after Dylan Moses, Stephen Guidry
Saturday delivered an influx of positive momentum to LSU, but Sunday brought some crushing blows.
Guidry committed to LSU over Alabama in May, but rescinded the pledge amid the coaching change. While he added that the Tigers remain in contention, it is becoming overly apparent that Mississippi State gained steam in the race for Guidry as LSU wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig shifts his attention elsewhere.
First and foremost, expect a pledge from 3-star New Orleans wideout Racey McMath in the near future. LSU is holding an edge over Mississippi State for the 6-foot-3, 215-pound recruit. McMath is a physical playmaker that has garnered much attention from Craig and area recruiter Jabbar Juluke this fall. He visited Baton Rouge for the first time last month.
LSU remains in contention for 4-star Amite (La.) product Devonta Smith. The top-rated prospect in The Boot is certainly an Alabama lean, but a source told SEC Country that Orgeron, his area recruiter, spoke to Smith soon after taking over the team. Smith named LSU a finalist right before he was scheduled to commit in mid-August. Expect Orgeron and Craig to devote a lot of attention toward Smith this fall leading up to his decision on National Signing Day.
Another wideout to keep an eye on is Destrehan (La.) product Justin Jefferson. The youngest brother of former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and safety Rickey Jefferson, Justin was one of the highlights during LSU’s July prospect camp. Jefferson does not yet hold an offer from the Tigers, but could land one later on this fall depending on how the class shapes up. With so many transfers since the spring, LSU could add upward of four receivers in this haul.
With Moses now embedded in Alabama’s class, LSU must shift its focus — slightly — to some other linebacker targets.
First and foremost, LSU lost out on its top 2017 priority target because, simply, Les Miles is gone. Moses’ main path back home to Baton Rouge came with Miles as his college coach, the same one that extended him a scholarship offer as an eighth grader. Whether it’s Orgeron, Tom Herman or Jimbo Fisher, three coaches he is awfully familiar with already at LSU, Houston or Florida State, none can identify as Miles.
Moses now follows in the footsteps of Eddie Lacy, Landon Collins, Cam Robinson and Shyheim Carter as elite Louisiana natives to follow Nick Saban to Tuscaloosa, Ala. The 5-star backer told SEC Country all other visits are off and his recruitment is over. So barring an unforeseen flip in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day, expect LSU’s staff to devote much of his focus on these targets:
- Christopher Allen, 4-star OLB. This is the obvious one. Allen has been a priority target for LSU all along, but now he becomes a must-get at an all-important position. Outside backer is the most vital position in Dave Aranda’s defense, and the Tigers’ defensive coordinator views the Baton Rouge native as a three-down player as early as next fall.
- K’Lavon Chaisson, 4-star DE/OLB. It’s been all quiet on the Chaisson front this fall, but LSU remains in the mix for the Houston product along with Texas, Houston and Oklahoma. Chaisson has made numerous visits to LSU since the spring, including two three-day stays for each prospect camp. LSU faces stiff competition from the two Texas programs, but area recruiter Bradley Dave Peveto has continued to make Chaisson a top priority.
- Levi Jones, 4-star OLB: The other Texas linebacker LSU has eyes on visited most recently in July for the recruiting barbecue. Like Chaisson, the Tigers are in a dogfight with Texas for the 4-star prospect. Jones represents an ideal edge-rusher for Aranda to plug into the 3-4 scheme. Getting Jones back on campus at some point this fall for either an unofficial or official visit — or both — is key.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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