It’s the fourth quarter of the 2017 recruiting cycle, and the nonstop January theme continues this weekend as LSU is preparing to host several key targets and some priority commits.
After hosting 15 blue-chip recruits on the first weekend of official visitors, the Tigers’ coaching staff is preparing for fewer numbers, but equally impactful prospects to be in Baton Rouge.
For the most part, this crew of official visitors will hail from Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. It includes five current commits and several all-important targets on the defensive side of the ball.
Here’s a look at the prospects who will be visiting:
- Willie Gay, 4-star LB (Starkville, Miss.)
- Markaviest Bryant, 4-star DE/OLB (Cordele, Ga.)
- Jacob Phillips, 4-star LB (Nashville, Tenn.)*
- Marlon Williams, 3-star WR (Mobile, Ala.)
- Justin Harris, 3-star DL (Gonzales, La.)
Gay and Bryant will be making their official visits to LSU this weekend. Both prospects represent major needs for the Tigers in this recruiting class, with Gay a versatile, uber-athletic linebacker who can remain on the field for three downs and Bryant, an Under Armour All-American edge-rusher capable of filling the Arden Key role as the BUCK.
Gay spoke highly of LSU in San Antonio, Texas during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The interest in LSU seemed to be reinvigorated by Monty Rice’s sudden flip to Georgia just a few days after committing. Gay is coming off an official to Mississippi State — largely considered the other favorite for the 4-star linebacker — but will head to Baton Rouge alongside Phillips and Patrick Queen, his close friends and potential teammates in the Tigers’ linebacking unit.
This visit is critical for Gay because it’s his final one. He’s already been to Ole Miss, Michigan and Mississippi State. Along with LSU, those are the finalists and the hats he’ll bring to the table on National Signing Day. He’ll sit down with Ed Orgeron and Dave Aranda, pick their brains, and bring his mother, a Louisiana native, along for the ride to determine if LSU and Louisiana can be his new home.
Bryant is in the midst of a very busy January. He has already told SEC Country that Georgia and Auburn are his leading schools, with LSU a close third. The X-factor here: Bryant camped at LSU in July and stated that he developed his game under Orgeron’s tutelage better than anywhere else he has been. Can LSU take a lead over Georgia for the Peach State product? That remains to be seen. What we know is that Orgeron and Co. will roll out the red carpet for the overly talented edge-rusher, who will get to spend time with Aranda and Key, perhaps getting a glimpse into what life would be like in the Bayou.
*Phillips is making an unofficial visit to LSU alongside both of his parents. The Oklahoma commit was originally scheduled to make his official to LSU on Oct. 1, but plans were derailed as a result of the coaching turnover. The 4-star linebacker committed to the Sooners soon after, but once Orgeron was named the Tigers’ coach, he directed members of his staff to pursue Phillips. LSU is the only threat to Oklahoma, and on this visit the linebacker will speak to Orgeron and Aranda about how he fits in the defense and try to make him as comfortable as possible. The visit will resemble an official visit as closely as possible. Without question, the staff will push to flip the Army All-American.
Williams was originally set to be a part of the Jan. 13 crew, but swapped LSU out with Central Florida and will head to Baton Rouge for the first time this weekend. A 3-star wideout from Alabama, this will be one of Craig’s top priorities for the weekend. Of course, LSU is targeting Racey McMath, DeVonta Smith and Nico Collins, but Williams will be a very capable Plan B if LSU is keen on adding a fourth wide receiver down the stretch. Tennessee is also a big threat for Williams, who will head to Knoxville right before signing day.
Harris was a late add to the list. He was originally penciled into the official visitor list, but altered his plans after receiving an offer from Texas A&M earlier in the week. However, Harris’ grades were reportedly an issue for the Aggies, and he has swapped Texas A&M for LSU this weekend instead. Harris has yet to procure an offer from the Tigers, but his situation is certainly one to monitor. If his grades are sorted out, he could garner a late offer. Orgeron is a huge fan and has been keeping tabs on the East Ascension (La.) product.
- Myles Brennan, 4-star QB (Bay Saint Louis, Miss.)
- Patrick Queen, 4-star LB (Livonia, La.)
- Saahdiq Charles, 4-star OL (Madison, Miss.)
- Stephen Guidry, 4-star WR (Hinds C.C.)
- Neil Farrell, 3-star DL (Mobile, Ala.)
- Seth Stewart, 3-star OT (Point Pleasant, W.V.)
With Brennan, Queen, Charles, Guidry and Farrell on hand, LSU is welcoming some of its most solid commits back to campus for the weekend.
Brennan has already spoken face-to-face with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada, but this secondary visit should provide the 4-star quarterback with a better glimpse of what’s on tap for the Tigers’ offensively in 2017. After naming Canada as LSU’s offensive coordinator, Brennan reaffirmed his pledge to LSU and there should be absolutely zero concern about the Tigers losing on to their other highly coveted quarterback. Lowell Narcisse is already enrolled on campus and has also met with Canada on several occasions.
It’s a similar theme for Queen, who shut down his recruitment on Christmas Eve and canceled his other previously scheduled official visits. Queen has seen the LSU coaches during the December and January Contact Periods, with Orgeron going in-home on Monday leading up to this official visit. As LSU’s lone linebacker in the 2017 class, Queen is a top priority. The timing of this visit — along with Gay and Phillips — sets Queen up with an opportunity to recruit both backers to Baton Rouge with him.
Like Queen, Charles ended his recruitment in December amid Florida, Ole Miss and Mississippi State trying to flip the wildly talented offensive lineman. Jeff Grimes made several in-home stops with Charles, and he and Orgeron were in Madison, Miss., this week to see The Opening finalist ahead of his visit. There is no question he’s on a straight path from Mississippi to Baton Rouge.
Guidry re-committed to LSU in December after an interesting hiccup in his recruitment this fall. The 4-star junior college receiver originally committed to LSU during the Bayou Picnic, in between a visit to Alabama and a mid-week stop in Baton Rouge to see former coach Les Miles. However, Dameyune Craig sealed the deal, but Guidry eventually de-committed amid issues in the classroom. Guidry rectified the situation, earned an offer from LSU again and committed soon after. His recruitment is also over.
If there is any potential shakeups down the stretch, they may be with Farrell. The 3-star defensive lineman was visited by Craig, his area recruiter, in between an official visit to Southern California this past weekend. Farrell will head to LSU this weekend as the Tigers’ staff attempts to push the needle and prevent him from a late flip leading into signing day. Farrell is expected to officially visit Florida State on Jan. 27, a team he was very high on after he landed the offer, a source told SEC Country. As LSU pursues Phidarian Mathis and Marvin Wilson, it also wants to hold onto Farrell to pad their depth along the defensive line. Farrell will be an important commit to lock in during this official visit.
Stewart moved his official visit up a weekend after offensive line coach Jeff Grimes paid the offensive tackle a visit in West Virginia mid-week. Stewart has remained quiet through the bulk of his recruitment, largely because he’s content in his path to LSU. Stewart will officially visit along with several commits who he camped with at July — when he committed — and should be a nice finishing touch on the process for the big tackle.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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