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 all things LSU as the early signing period approaches. The Tigers hold 18 verbal commitments at the start of December and the majority is expected to sign on the dotted line when Dec. 20 arrives.
Which LSU commits will sign early?
The early signing period is rapidly approaching. On Dec. 20, the majority of LSU’s 2018 commitments can put their pen to paper and sign their names on the dotted line, making the transition from verbal commits to signees.
The December signing period creates a new opportunity for the LSU coaching staff to fill up the bulk of their 25 allotted spots and focus in on a handful of remaining targets through the traditional National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
The majority of LSU’s current commitments are planning to sign as early as Dec. 20. That leaves for a handful of targets to commit and sign their letters of intent before Dec. 22. The number of signatures expected should be around 19 or 20.
LSU commits expected to sign early
- Jarell Cherry, 4-star DE/OLB (Dallas, Texas)
- Davin Cotton, 4-star DL (Shreveport, La.)
- Chasen Hines, 4-star DL (Marshall, Texas)
- Badara Traore, 4-star OT (Hyde Park, Mass.)
- Chris Curry, 4-star RB (Lehigh Acres, Fla.)
- Damone Clark, 4-star LB (Baton Rouge, La.)
- Kenan Jones, 4-star WR (Berwick, La.)
- Micah Baskerville, 4-star LB (Shreveport, La.)
- Jaray Jenkins, 4-star WR (Jena, La.)
- Travez Moore, 3-star DE/OLB (Wesson, Miss.)
- Dare Rosenthal, 3-star DL (Ferriday, La.)
- Cole Smith, 3-star OL (Pontotoc, Miss.)
- Zach Sheffer, 3-star H-back (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
- Nelson Jenkins, 3-star DL (Plaquemine, La.)
- Tae Provens, 3-star RB (Gurley, Ala.)
- Dantrieze Scott, 3-star DE/OLB (Ferriday, La.)
- Damien Lewis, 3-star OL (Senatobia, Miss.)
There aren’t many surprises here. The bulk of names included in this group already have officially visited LSU or have been committed for some time. At this point, they have received in-home visits from members of the Tigers’ coaching staff, including coach Ed Orgeron.
While on the road, Orgeron and the staff pushed the envelope in trying to get the majority of the 18 verbal commitments on board early. With a projected 16 members of the current 2018 class expected to do that, LSU should be in a strong position by the time the early signing period comes to a close.
Priority targets who will commit, sign early
- Terrace Marshall Jr., 5-star WR (Bossier City, La.)
- Justin Rogers, 5-star QB (Bossier City, La.) *TCU commit
- Anthony Cook, 5-star CB (Houston)
- Devonta Jason, 4-star WR (New Orleans) *Kansas commit
- Anthony Williams, 3-star ATH (Boutte, La.) *Kansas commit
Here’s where things begin to get interesting. The state’s No. 1 and No. 2 prospects, respectively, are set to finalize their decisions and sign their letters of intent on Dec. 22. That, of course, is 5-stars Marshall and Rogers.
Marshall, the top wide receiver in the country, is down to LSU, Texas A&M and Florida State. The Tigers have been the team pushing the hardest for months and would end the early signing period with a bang if they can secure Marshall’s signature during a 2:30 p.m. nationally televised announcement.
Rogers, a longtime TCU verbal pledge, has received a strong push from the LSU staff the past few months, including Orgeron and area recruiter Steve Ensminger. Rogers officially visited on Nov. 25 and will head to TCU on Dec. 15, his final stop before his scheduled commitment date. TCU should be the favorite to hold onto Rogers through Dec. 22, but LSU has made this interesting. The Tigers need a quarterback in their 2018 class and Rogers remains the top name on that list.
LSU continues to push for Cook, who could decide to pop at anytime now. Word is that he has planned a commitment video. This is a Texas-LSU battle, with the Longhorns garnering the bulk of Crystal Ball selections. But Corey Raymond has refused to step back and he looks for the 5-star cornerback to come in and compete for a starting spot.
Jason, a Kansas verbal, is down to LSU, Mississippi State and Kansas. Mickey Joseph is pushing to bring Jason to Baton Rouge one last time before a Dec. 20 announcement, but that remains up in the air. That could certainly push Jason over the top and bring him back into LSU’s 2018 group. Mississippi State is a very realistic contender.
Williams plans on signing his letter of intent on Dec. 20, and for now, his sights remain set on Kansas. LSU continues to work for a flip of the dynamic all-purpose back who has been a household name for much of the fall and into the LHSAA state championship. That, however, remains to be seen and grades remain the elephant in the room for Louisiana’s top athlete over the next two weeks.
It is safe to assume LSU ends the early signing period with three of these six prospects, bringing their total number of early signees close to or around 19.
LSU commits still weighing whether to sign early
Wire and Washington are two current LSU verbals still weighing whether or not they will ink their letters of intent during the early signing period. That’s not to say that either are wavering from their commitments, but still anxious to take some official visits and consider all of their options before diving in on Dec. 20.
In other words, they are still unsure if they’ll put the pen to paper on Dec. 20 or Feb. 7.
Both 3-star prospects are expected to make an official visit to Baton Rouge on Dec. 15-17, the final weekend before the early signing period. If that comes to fruition, it is very likely both Wire and Washington could suffer a change of heart and opt to sign on the dotted lines on Dec. 20.
Washington told SEC Country he’ll finalize his plans after his official visit to LSU.
Still, we have to consider the other possibility.
If Wire or Washington choose not to sign early, it will be our first glimpse into how the LSU coaching staff will proceed. Wire is Louisiana’s top offensive tackle and has been solid to the Tigers since he pulled the trigger on a commitment back in June. Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor have all remained in touch with Wire, who wants to take some more officials, but has made his desire to stay home and play for LSU overtly clear.
If Washington opts not to sign early, that leads to some questions about whether they will remain in the class in February. TCU has and remains the biggest threat, but those concerns could be put to rest after his official visit to Fort Worth this weekend. LSU will have the chance to get their pitch to the talented defensive back on Dec. 15 and perhaps sway him to sign early. If not, it may force the coaching staff to consider its other options in the secondary over the final weeks of the recruiting cycle.
Targets who will commit, sign in February
- Patrick Surtain Jr., 5-star CB (Plantation, Fla.)
- James Foster, 4-star QB (Montgomery, Ala.)
- Kelvin Joseph, 4-star S (Baton Rouge, La.)
- Ja’Marr Chase, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
- Justin Watkins, 4-star WR (East Ridge, Fla.)
- Lawrence Keys III, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
- Harold Joiner Jr., 4-star RB (Mountain Brook, Ala.)
- Glenn Beal, 3-star TE (New Orleans)
- Andres Fox, 3-star DE (Mobile, Ala.)
- Dominic Livingston, 3-star DL (Houston)
- Michael Williams, 3-star ATH (Baton Rouge, La.)
- Joseph Foucha, 3-star DB (New Orleans)
Here are the remaining prospects on LSU’s board and who the staff will target — or continue to zero in on — after securing the early part of the class on Dec. 20.
Surtain and Joseph have remained priority targets in the secondary. Foster is LSU’s top uncommitted quarterback target, but won’t make a decision until signing day on Feb. 7. Chase and Keys remain in LSU’s plans at receiver and will be making their official visits in January.
Watkins, a one-time commit, is set to announce between LSU and Alabama during halftime of the Under Armour All-America Game. The Tigers remain a slight favorite there — for the moment. Joiner is expected to make a decision before the U.S. Army All-American Game, and like Watkins, LSU remains in the strongest spot to scoop up the 4-star Alabama running back.
Beal, Fox, Williams, Livingston and Foucha are all expected to wait until Feb. 7 to make their decisions know. LSU remains the favorite for Beal and Williams. Fox is silently committed, somewhere, but Alabama and Auburn are the more likely landing spots. Livingston will officially visit to LSU this upcoming weekend, but that leaves the door open for schools such as Texas A&M — where he was once committed to — to regain ground if he elects to wait to sign in February. Foucha landed his offer from LSU in the summer and could find himself with a spot in the class depending on how things shake out over the final two months of the recruiting calendar.
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