Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss Kelvin Joseph, LSU’s longest-tenured 2018 commitment and the face of the defensive backs group in this recruiting cycle. Joseph dishes on the future of one-time commit Nadab Joseph and how the Tigers secondary class will look come February.
Kelvin Joseph blindsided by Nadab Joseph’s de-commitment
HARVEY, La. — Nadab Joseph made the surprising decision to de-commit from LSU earlier this month. Even one of his closest friends was caught off-guard.
Kelvin Joseph, who has grown very close with Nadab through unofficial visits to LSU’s campus over the past two summers, did not see his recruitment unfolding the way it did. There’s time, though.
Kelvin can understand Nadab’s de-commitment from a recruit’s vantage point, and at the same time, is holding out hope for a reunion in LSU’s 2018 class in the fall.
“I don’t know. I was shocked,” Joseph told SEC Country, on Nadab’s decision to reopen his recruitment. “I didn’t see any signs from him, but he’s weighing out of his options and hopefully, he rejoins the family. I think that LSU can [get him back]. I think they can.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Joseph remains solid in his pledge to the Tigers. That’s a credit to defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, who has steered him back to LSU when he was wavering on his commitment over the past 2 1/2 years.
How has Raymond been successful? A personal touch — not only with the All-American defensive back, but to those closest to him.
“They’ve got to talk to him and get close with him [Nadab] and his family and his coaches,” Joseph said. “They hit me up and they talk to my people. They talk to my coaches and go all around to make sure that they can get me. It’s not just me that they talk to, you know what I mean.”
Joseph down to 5; LSU remains in great shape
Joseph has steadily been cementing his commitment to LSU in recent months. His best friend and 5-star point guard Javonte Smart had something to do with it.
But in order to ensure he’s fully confident in that decision, the Under Armour All-American defensive back will make five official visits before dotting the line of his letter of intent. LSU, Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Kansas will each host Joseph one last time in the fall before he finalizes his plans.
“Well, I just talked to my family and prayed on it, and I felt that God blessed me with a lot of options and I felt that I should pick the best,” Joseph told SEC Country. “I want to visit and make sure the decision that I made is right for me going ahead.”
Alabama has been a team that Joseph was trending toward this time a year ago. He’s made several visits over the past two years and will return again when the Tide plays LSU on Nov. 4.
Florida — which recently added a commitment from 4-star Louisiana receiver Ja’Marr Chase — has made a strong push after adding Baton Rouge native Brad Davis to the coaching staff. Joseph will make his first visit to Gainesville, Fla., when the Gators play LSU on Oct. 7.
Joseph has made one visit to Kansas — in the spring — but will return in the fall for an official when the Jayhawks play West Virginia. Two of his closest friends, 4-star receiver Devonta Jason and 4-star corner Corione Harris, are committed to Kansas.
Joseph remains unclear when he’ll officially visit LSU or Florida State at this point, but both are sure to receive visits.
“Those are the schools that hit me up every day,” he said. “They’re the schools that show me that they need me.”
The interesting twist here: Three of Joseph’s five official visits will include LSU games. That’s one game in Baton Rouge and two on the road at Florida and ‘Bama. There was some planning behind that decision.
Joseph plans on taking in how LSU’s secondary looks this season and the team in general. Based on that and his relationship with Raymond, he deems his chances of sticking with the Tigers pretty high at this stage.
“I think it’s a good chance,” he said. “I want to see how the season plays out for them and how the rotation looks and how the coaches are doing. I’m going to look into everything.
“I have a good feeling that I’ll be there. Now, it’s getting to the end and I’ve got to make sure that this is really for me and if I’m going to fit.”
How will the Tigers’ defensive back haul look?
At one point, LSU’s 2018 class was comprised of the Joseph boys — versatile defensive backs capable of playing both corner and safety — and Ar’Darius Washington, a projected nickel.
During Nike’s The Opening Finals in Oregon, Joseph spent a good chunk of time courting 5-star Florida corner Patrick Surtain Jr. to round out the group. That remains a priority to this day.
So how will the Tigers’ 2018 defensive back class look come February?
Joseph remains confident that Surtain will make his way to Baton Rouge. He suggested Raymond could again get Nadab into the fold. Another option could be Dorian Camel, his teammate at Scotlandville (La.) High School and one of the fastest prospects in all of the state. He is less confident that LSU can flip Texas cornerback pledge Jalen Green and is unsure if the Tigers will be able to successfully pry 5-star corner Anthony Cook out of the Lone Star State.
“I think Jalen is solid and Anthony Cook — I don’t know,” Joseph said. “A lot of those Texas dudes are going to Texas. You know, Texas [players] want to play in Texas. Louisiana players want to play at LSU.
“I think [we get] Pat. I just got a feeling. And if I feel like they’re going to offer my boy Dorian. He’s a sleeper, a big sleeper, but he’s been working with me since the spring. He coaches me sometimes and I coach him. We push each other and get each other better and I enjoy playing beside him.”
Whichever way it unfolds, LSU’s defensive back haul is in good shape.
- Joseph is the nation’s No. 6 corner and No. 45 prospect overall.
- Surtain is the nation’s No. 1 corner and No. 4 prospect overall.
- Nadab is the nation’s No. 24 corner and No. 223 prospect overall.
- Cook is the nation’s No. 2 corner and No. 13 prospect overall.
- Green is the No. 9 corner and No. 52 prospect overall.
- Washington is the No. 54 safety and the No. 29 prospect in Louisiana.
- Camel is the No. 44 safety and the No. 24 prospect in Louisiana.
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