BEAVERTON, Ore. — The Opening Finals continued into Friday from Nike World Headquarters, and Day 2 featured quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends for the second day in a row.
Among those gathered in the Pacific Northwest for the largest annual recruiting showcase in the country are a bevy of LSU targets.
Here is what I learned from Day 2:
Justin Fields is the top uncommitted quarterback in the 2018 class.
The 5-star Georgia quarterback is no longer committed to Penn State and Florida, UGA, Alabama and Florida State are the teams connected to the elite passer. LSU is not.
Fields told SEC Country that LSU was not pushing hard for him when he was committed to Penn State. Instead, he indicated the Tigers were focused on elite Louisiana quarterback Justin Rogers, who committed to TCU on May 31.
On Thursday, Rogers told SEC Country that he has remained in touch with Ed Orgeron and Steve Ensminger, and his recruitment is not shut down. With that being the case, a lot is riding on the next couple of days.
Rogers’ best friend and high school teammate, Terrace Marshall Jr., is LSU’s top offensive target. Right behind Marshall is Ja’Marr Chase, who will decide between LSU and TCU on Monday. If Chase commits to LSU and Marshall follows suit on Dec. 22, perhaps it will force Rogers to reconsider the Tigers.
It remains unlikely LSU takes a quarterback in 2018. The top option is committed to TCU and the Tigers are not in the mix for some of the other elite passers in the nation. If the team doesn’t take a quarterback, it can afford to reel in a fifth wide receiver, another tackle, another defensive front seven player or an additional defensive back. However, if Rogers wants to flip, LSU will make room for the 4-star quarterback.
LSU, Buckeyes battling for Babb
Kamryn Babb has become a hot topic in Oregon this week as LSU has asserted itself as a major player for the 4-star wide receiver from St. Louis.
LSU wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph has dialed up the communication with Babb in recent months and the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Babb is planning to make his inaugural visit to the Bayou either later this summer or this fall. Either way, Babb expects to make an official visit to LSU.
The top-50 prospect is considered an Ohio State lean. If that’s the case, then consider the Tigers his newly minted No. 2 option.
LSU’s wide receiver board centers around the aforementioned Marshall and Chase, and also includes in-state options such as Devonta Jason and Lawrence Keys III and out-of-state targets such as Al’Vonte Woodard, Jalen Preston, Brennan Eagles and Miles Battle. Babb is higher on LSU than most have realized.
If Chase commits to LSU on July 3, then expect Babb to potentially commit to Ohio State when he visits Columbus, Ohio later that month. If Chase falls to TCU, expect the Tigers to continue to crank up the intensity on Babb and try to lure him on campus this summer.
Tigers in play for Ford
Luke Ford made a visit to LSU last Saturday for the final day of the elite high school camp. That unofficial stop put the Tigers in an exclusive group moving forward.
The 4-star Illinois tight end has been vocal that Alabama is his leader, but LSU fnds itself in a close second along with UGA and Auburn. Texas and Michigan would take the spots right below the SEC quartet.
Sources close to Ford believe that while the elite pass-catcher is publicly favoring the Crimson Tide, that is a very fluid situation. LSU, UGA and Auburn are realistic landing spots after positive visits to each of those SEC schools in June.
Orgeron, Ensminger and Tigers offensive coordinator Matt Canada had a meeting with Ford and his family last week during his stop in Baton Rouge, which left the tight end very intrigued to see what the offense will look like this fall. The chief factor in Ford’s decision will be the use of the tight end in an offense.
Canada’s offense has always featured the tight end and LSU needs a true F-tight end (pass-catcher). Zach Sheffer is cemented in LSU’s 2018 class as a Y-tight end, which leaves Ford and 3-star New Orleans tight end Glenn Beal as the two most likely options to round out the unit.
Consider Beal the favorite to fall into LSU’s lap, but the Tigers quickly made an impression on Ford and his family.
Chase pushed his college announcement back from Sunday to Monday in order to get the NFL Network cameras on hand for the much-anticipated decision. Chase’s family did not make the trek from Louisiana to Oregon, so the broadcast is the only way they can join in on the big decision.
So, is it LSU or TCU for the 4-star wideout?
In pushing for insight into the decision, SEC Country has learned that LSU might be the leader. Chase is refusing to reveal his hand, but it appears the Tigers’ strong push in June might be the deciding factor in this uber-close recruiting battle.
Joseph has led the charge for the New Orleans product and Chase’s visit to Baton Rouge last Thursday is seemingly the difference. Chase also stopped at TCU last weekend, but it appears the unofficial visit did not push the needle back in the Horned Frogs’ direction.
Chase has become a priority for the Tigers’ 2018 class and his family desperately wants him to remain close to home. LSU has done a good job of making up ground over the past five months when Joseph personally offered the 4-star receiver.
Woodard nearing decision
Another wide receiver that LSU is in on is 4-star Al’Vonte Woodard from Lamar (Texas) High School in Houston.
Woodard named LSU as one of his five finalists in June and is scheduled to give his commitment on July 14. While the Tigers made the final grouping of schools, Woodard has never made a visit to LSU’s campus, making a decision to commit to the Tigers unlikely.
Joseph has courted Woodard and made an impression on the top-100 prospect. In fact, he told SEC Country that if he were to commit to LSU, a visit would follow soon after.
Texas holds 100-percent of the Crystal Ball picks for Woodard after hosting the 4-star receiver several times this spring and summer.
It’s Day 2 in Oregon
Recap all the buzz from The Opening with LSU recruiting insider Sam Spiegelman
Posted by LSU Insiders on Friday, June 30, 2017