LSU added its 13th piece to its 2017 recruiting class on Friday evening.
Mannie Netherly, a 4-star wide receiver from Texas, pledged to the Tigers over a slew of SEC rivals, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M.
The 6-foot-2, 183-pound Crosby (Texas) High School product is the second wide receiver commitment in LSU’s 2017 class, joining another 4-star talent in Stephen Guidry, the nation’s No. 1 junior college prospect, at the position.
With two slots filled at wide receiver, LSU has nearly reached its quota at the position for this recruiting cycle.
The Tigers pulled in three 4-star wide receivers in last year’s class in Dee Anderson, Stephen Sullivan and Drake Davis. After the 2016 season, the team will lose senior Travin Dural and likely junior Malachi Dupre, a projected first-round NFL pick. LSU already holds a commitment from elite in-state talent Devonta Jason in its 2018 class and is eyeing a number of other renowned talents, such as Parkway High School (Bossier City, La.) product Terrace Marshall Jr. and Texas 4-star prospect Joshua Moore.
Three is the consensus number for wide receivers in the 2017 class. With Guidry and Netherly on board, that of course leaves room for one more receiver for LSU to reel in come National Signing Day.
So, who will it be?
The top spot on LSU’s wide receiver big board belongs to 5-star in-state prospect Devonta Smith. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound product from Amite (La.) High School is one of the nation’s most polished route-runners and rarely sees a ball hit the turf. Of course, LSU faces stiff competition from college football powerhouses across the country for the elite talent, most notably Alabama and Florida State. Sources close to the situation indicate that Smith is priority No. 1 for LSU wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig, who watched a private workout in the spring, then attended his spring game. LSU has certainly elevated its stock in recent weeks thanks to Craig and developments in the team’s new spread offense, but it will take time before the in-state power can overcome and separate from the Tide and the ‘Noles.
If it’s not Smith, then LSU has its choice of three other standout receivers: Racey McMath, Jeremiah Holloman and Jhamon Ausbon.
McMath, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound in-state talent, just recently earned his offer from LSU. The Edna Karr High School (New Orleans) product was on Craig’s radar and warranted a lot of attention from the Tigers’ coaching staff due to area recruiter Jabbar Juluke’s ties to the receiver and the program. McMath is one of the most underrated wide receiver prospects in not only the state, but the country. He holds offers from SEC powers such as Mississippi State and Missouri, and has the attention of both the Alabama and Florida coaching staffs.
The New Orleans native is still a ways away from making a decision, but has always been high on LSU. If LSU falls behind in the recruitment of Smith, McMath could instantly become the top choice as the third receiver in the 2017 class.
Holloman is a name that has just recently surfaced on the coaches’ radar after the 4-star Georgia receiver made a surprise appearance at LSU’s prospect camp earlier in June. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound talent wowed Craig during his combine testing in Baton Rouge, La., at the camp, clocking in a 4.47-second 40, a 10.11-inch broad jump to go along with a 40-inch vertical.
After private meetings with Les Miles and Craig, Holloman left his first visit to LSU’s campus confident that the coaches would amp up their recruitment. The Peach State product recently told SEC Country that Georgia is no longer his leading school, and other SEC powers such as LSU, Auburn and Tennessee are on an even playing field with the in-state Bulldogs. Holloman has begun to foster relationships with LSU quarterback commits Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse, giving reason to believe that the Tigers are quickly gaining steam.
Last but certainly not least is Ausbon. The 4-star IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) product is down to LSU and Texas A&M, and both teams are in a strong position to land the talented Texas native. Ausbon drew the attention of both Miles and Craig during LSU’s recent satellite camp in Houston, which bolstered the Tigers’ chances at this stage in his recruitment.
Sources close to the situation indicate that the 6-foot-3, 217-pound wide receiver may be waiting to hear where friend and high school teammate Kellen Mond elects to commit to before finalizing his own decision. Mond is considering Texas A&M and Auburn, and Ausbon could very well wind up following suit. However, even though LSU is not the mix for Mond, Ausbon has strong ties to the program, including family that resides in Louisiana. The nation’s No. 11 wideout in the Class of 2017 could potentially round out LSU’s receiving corps, and is seemingly close to making that a reality.
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.