Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss how LSU’s newest cornerback commit impacts the state of the 2019 defensive back board.
LSU’s 2019 defensive back board filling up
Standout Texas cornerback Marcus Banks became the 12th addition to LSU’s 2019 recruiting class last weekend when the 3-star Houston prospect capped his official visit with a commitment.
Banks’ commitment improved the Tigers’ haul to No. 10 in the country, per the 247Sports composite rankings. He joins 4-star Tennessee cornerback Maurice Hampton in the class. Hampton, who committed two summers ago as a football and baseball prospect, has remained solid to his pledge despite multiple schools pushing for flips.
Banks and Hampton make up what is likely half of LSU’s 2019 defensive back collection. Expect more dominos to follow soon — and quickly.
The nation’s No. 1 cornerback, Derek Stingley Jr., is scheduled to announce his decision on June 20. The Baton Rouge product is down to LSU, Texas and Florida, and has made official visits to Austin and Gainesville in the past two months. In fact, the 5-star defensive back has made a pair of visits to Florida since April. LSU, however, remains the overwhelming favorite.
Stingley received an offer from defensive backs coach Corey Raymond prior to his sophomore season two years ago and committed on the spot. He re-opened his recruitment in the spring of 2017 amid new offers. Stingley felt it was in his best interest to take visits to campuses without being committed to a school. That forced LSU’s hand to make a full-fledged push for the elite prospect ever since.
The push from Raymond, coach Ed Orgeron and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda helped the Tigers emerge as Stingley’s leader, which he made public earlier in the spring. The team views the 6-foot-1, 193-pound cornerback as a prospect that could help replace Greedy Williams immediately.
With Banks and Hampton already on board, and Stingley likely to follow suit before the end of June, the attention will then shift over to 4-star New Orleans cornerback Devin Bush, perhaps the final piece to the secondary puzzle for the Tigers in 2019. Bush received his offer from LSU last spring and named the in-state school as his leader prior to his junior year.
Bush’s recruitment has since taken off, with Florida State, Auburn, Georgia, Clemson and Tennessee all making strong pushes for the 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive back. Bush named a final three of LSU, Tennessee and Clemson at the start of the summer and is planning to commit before his senior campaign begins. While Tennessee has generated some momentum in this race, it remains the Tigers’ to lose given his connections to the university and a chance to garner playing time quickly.
What a quartet of Derek Stingley, Devin Bush, Marcus Banks and Maurice Hampton means
Depending on how the rest of the summer pans out, the LSU staff could settle for four defensive backs in the 2019 class.
Remember that in 2018, the Tigers signed only 4-star defensive back Kelvin Joseph. Joseph, a projected safety, will begin his LSU career at cornerback but is likely to shift to nickel or safety once the team replenishes its depth in the secondary with the 2019 haul.
Since the end of the 2017 season, LSU has lost cornerbacks Donte Jackson and Kelvin Toliver II to the NFL, and lost reserve nickel Xavier Lewis to transfer. Joseph, who enrolled earlier this month, and Stanford grad transfer Terrence Alexander will quickly find roles in Raymond’s secondary, but there’s a need for extra defensive backs in 2019.
A potential 2019 class of Stingley, Bush, Banks and Hampton should suffice to fill needs all across the field. All four defensive backs are listed at cornerback, with Stingley and Banks projected to be outside cornerbacks. Both Bush and Hampton are capable of playing on the outside as well, but could move to safety or nickel. That would give Raymond some added flexibility.
As it stands, it seems likely that Hampton would begin his LSU career at safety and the other three working at cornerback behind Kristian Fulton, Jontre Kirklin and Kary Vincent Jr.
Room for 5?
Based on numbers, Orgeron and Co. have the ability to sign up to 25 prospects by the time National Signing Day arrives. At least four of those spots will be reserved for defensive backs.
That doesn’t mean that the board has no room to expand.
The nation’s top-ranked junior college cornerback Elijah Blades made his first-ever visit to LSU for the Tigers’ spring game in April. Afterward, the former 4-star Nebraska signee raved about his time and how Raymond prioritized him during his two-day stay. Blades has continued to make visits into the summer, including Oregon and a planned trip to South Carolina, but if the Tigers pushed, they could likely land the highly coveted veteran defensive back.
Three-star Slidell (La.) defensive back Ishmael Burdine camped at LSU to start the month and drew the attention of first-year safeties coach Bill Busch. Raymond has been in contact with Burdine since January. The staff is continuing to evaluate and recruit Burdine, and hopes to get the long, rangy defensive back on campus for another camp in June. It would not be surprising to see him land an offer this summer.
Three-star West Jefferson (La.) cornerback Greg Brooks Jr. is another candidate for an offer after impressing area recruiter Mickey Joseph during the spring and Raymond during the joint LSU-Tulane camp in New Orleans in late May. Brooks will compete for an offer during the elite high school prospect camp on June 23 and try to earn an offer as a potential nickelback in the class.
Three-star Madison Prep Academy (La.) safety Bertrand Carrell picked up an offer from Busch during the spring evaluation period, and the staff is anxious to take a closer look at the local prospect at the elite camp later this month. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Carrell is viewed as a nickel. If camp goes according to plan, there is a chance the Baton Rouge native pops to the Tigers.
Three-star Pennsylvania cornerback Joey Porter Jr. visited LSU for the team’s spring game in April and is likely to return to Baton Rouge this summer for an official visit. The Tigers are in a tight battle with local favorite Penn State for the NFL legacy and at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, has an ideal frame to play outside cornerback. Porter is planning to commit before his senior season.
It’s also worth noting that LSU expects to host junior college safety Ryan Payne this summer, too. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound California native drew an offer from Busch during the spring evaluation period and could be the big-bodied safety in the 2019 class. LSU has a handful of veteran safeties in the mix for the 2018 season, but could consider some junior college options in case of attrition. Having Payne on campus for a visit would go a long way.
One more name to monitor is Comeaux (La.) safety Christian Archangel, who has camped in front of the LSU staff at a pair of camps to kick off the summer. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back has been in contact with both Raymond and Aranda and is on the Tigers’ board for 2019. Expect the Lafayette-area prospect to make his way back to Baton Rouge for the elite camp in hopes of landing an offer.
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