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 in relation to Nike’s The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Ore.
The majority of the nation’s top prospects will be competing in The Opening finals on Nike’s campus in Oregon from Wednesday through Monday, including several LSU commits and targets in the 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes.
Here are the top names, storylines, pending decisions and things to keep tabs on out west over the next six days:
The names to know
- Kelvin Joseph, 4-star DB (Baton Rouge, La.)
- Micah Baskerville, 3-star LB (Shreveport, La.)
- Nelson Jenkins III, 3-star DL (Plaquemine, La.)
- Tommy Bush, 4-star WR (Schertz, Texas)
- Tyson Campbell, 4-star DB (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- Ja’Marr Chase, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
- Anthony Cook, 5-star DB (Houston)
- Brennan Eagles, 5-star WR (Houston)
- Justin Fields, 5-star QB (Kennesaw, Ga.)
- Luke Ford, 4-star TE (Carterville, Ill.)
- Richard Gouraige, 4-star OT (Tampa, Fla.)
- Jalen Green, 4-star CB (Houston)
- Harold Joiner, 4-star RB (Birmingham, Ala.)
- Terrace Marshall Jr., 5-star WR (Bossier City, La.)
- Jalen Preston, 4-star WR (Manvel, Texas)
- Patrick Surtain Jr., 5-star CB (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- Michael Thompson, 4-star DL (Saint Louis, Mo.)
- Channing Tindall, 4-star LB (Columbia, S.C.)
- Al’Vonte Woodard, 4-star WR (Houston)
Targets committed elsewhere:
- Andrew Chatfield, 4-star DE/OLB (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Ohio State commit
- James Cook, 4-star RB (Miami), Florida State commit
- Corione Harris, 4-star CB (New Orleans), Kansas commit
- Leon O’Neal Jr., 4-star S (Cy Springs, Texas), Texas A&M commit
- Justin Rogers, 4-star QB (Bossier City, La.), TCU commit
- John Emery Jr., 4-star RB (Destrehan, La.)
- Owen Pappoe, 4-star LB (Loganville, Ga.)
Chase 3 days from commitment
Ja’Marr Chase, the No. 2-ranked wide receiver in Louisiana and a priority LSU target, is set to announce his commitment to either the Tigers or TCU live from The Opening on Sunday. When SEC Country caught up with Chase earlier this week, he hinted that he may be close to picking one of the schools, but he was still going back and forth.
The 4-star wide receiver from Archbishop Rummel (La.) High School near New Orleans camped at LSU last week, which may have pushed the needle closer to LSU. However, Chase and his father stopped at TCU over the weekend after he competed with the Louisiana Bootleggers in the Pylon 7-on-7 National Championships in nearby Frisco, Texas.
Chase expects to make a decision a day or two prior to his scheduled commitment. At times, LSU seems to lead. There’s still a case to be made for TCU, too.
With 21 commits, LSU is looking to add two more blue-chip wide receivers to its 2018 class. Chase’s decision looms large as one of the key final pieces of the group.
Houston WRs nearing decision
If Chase winds up picking TCU, where does LSU turn?
Two wide receivers from Houston are scheduled to commit in the near future as well. Al’Vonte Woodard and Brennan Eagles are slated to announce their intentions on July 14 and July 16, respectively.
Both have visited LSU in recent months, but neither are favored to land in Baton Rouge. In fact, Texas holds the Crystal Ball picks for both Houston-area products. But if the Tigers swing and miss on an in-state target such as Chase, will they have enough time to make up ground with either Eagles or Woodard?
Timeline for Surtain’s decision
Patrick Surtain Jr. is the No. 1 cornerback in the 2018 class and sits alone atop LSU’s defensive backs board.
LSU secondary coach Corey Raymond has been courting Surtain for years and has always made his pitch clear. The question is how long will he have to wait for Surtain to finalize a decision?
The 5-star corner has maintained that he’d like to end his recruitment right before or during his senior season. Surtain told SEC Country that at times he has been close to committing to LSU.
With the Tigers up to 21 commits in their 2018 class, they likely will take one more defensive back. They hold commitments from 4-star DBs Nadab Joseph and Kelvin Joseph, both of whom can play corner or safety. Ar’Darius Washington, a nickel, is solid in his pledge. Much of the remaining class will wind up being offensive recruits, but there is one more defensive back slot waiting for Surtain.
LSU’s lead for Joiner intact?
June was a long, winding month for LSU’s pursuit of running backs.
LSU landed a commitment from 2019 4-star Tyrion Davis, then days later added a pledge from Florida 3-star Chris Curry at the start of the elite high school camp. Ed Orgeron then offered top Louisiana back AJ Carter, a UCLA commit, who flipped to LSU on Monday. The Tigers also took a commitment from 3-star Alabama athlete Tae Provens, who indicated that he’ll primarily play running back for the Tigers.
Meanwhile, Harold Joiner has maintained that LSU is his leading school. The 4-star tailback from Alabama visited Auburn, UGA and Alabama in June. He is scheduled to return to Baton Rouge in July.
Does all of LSU’s action at running back impact Joiner? Has LSU’s lead been weakened in recent weeks? Does an August commitment timeline hurt the Tigers’ chances of landing the nation’s No. 5 back?
If LSU takes three running backs in 2018, will Joiner find his way into the class? It has become more blurry in recent weeks, to say the least.
Update on Marshall’s final 4
Terrace Marshall, Louisiana’s No. 1 prospect and the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver, unveiled his final four at the start of June. LSU made the cut along with Texas, Texas A&M and Miami.
TCU did not.
While we know that LSU must impress Marshall with its new-look offense this fall, it remains unclear of who the Tigers’ biggest threats are. Marshall, who plans to announce his decision on Dec. 22, visited LSU in June. He also made a stop at Texas A&M and — unsurprisingly — at TCU last weekend while competing in the Pylon 7-on-7 National Championships.
Marshall’s high school quarterback and best friend, Justin Rogers, is solid in his verbal pledge to the Horned Frogs and has been adamantly recrutiting Marshall. TCU did not make the final four, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to gauge whether the out-of-state school will be a factor over the next six months.
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