Photo via Zach Edwards/Twitter
Mississippi linebacker Zach Edwards is one of three out-of-state commitments.

Should LSU expect large Mississippi presence in its 2019 class?

Sam Spiegelman

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LSU holds commitments from seven prospects in its 2019 class. As of Tuesday, three are from out-of-state, with one hailing from Mississippi.

But the status of that Mississippi pledge is unclear. Zach Edwards, a 3-star linebacker from Mississippi State’s backyard in Starkville, Miss., committed to the Tigers on March 3 along with top-100 defensive end Jaren Handy. However, Handy de-committed within two weeks of selecting LSU. Handy and Edwards are close friends, so it remains cloudy on whether Edwards sticks with the Tigers through Signing Day.

Nonetheless, Edwards still counts as an out-of-state commitment for LSU. He is joined by 4-star cornerback Maurice Hampton from Memphis, Tenn., and long-snapper Quentin Skinner from Buford, Ga.

LSU is eyeing a number of Mississippi-based prospects to add to its 2019 haul. That’s nothing new, though. Under coach Ed Orgeron, the Tigers have successfully recruited the Magnolia State for several years. After all, the team’s starting left tackle Saahdiq Charles and possible starting quarterback Myles Brennan are from Mississippi.

Last year, the Tigers nabbed three prospects from the neighboring state. That included Bastrop, La., native Travez Moore, who was at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, along with junior college lineman Damien Lewis and 3-star center Cole Smith. In 2017, Charles and Brennan counted as the two Mississippi prospects in LSU’s recruiting haul.

Expect LSU to match that same success rate again in 2019. That means two or three Mississippi-based recruits winding up in Baton Rouge. Here are some of the marquee names to track:

  • Nakobe Dean, 5-star LB (Horn Lake, Miss.)
  • Nathan Pickering, 4-star DE (Seminary, Miss.)
  • Jaren Handy, 4-star DE (New Augusta, Miss.)
  • Dannis Jackson, 4-star WR (Sumrall, Miss.)
  • De’Monte Russell, 4-star DE (Jackson, Miss.)
  • Jarrian Jones, 3-star DB (Flowood, Miss.)

Each of these six prospects — make it seven if you count the aforementioned Edwards — have been to LSU this spring. Dean and Pickering have attended games and junior day functions; Russell camped there last summer and Handy gave a commitment to the team, albeit a brief one.

It’s hard to discount the in-state SEC programs in these races, but I’d keep a close eye on Dean and Pickering. Dean is an elite linebacker that has the attention of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, and Pickering is a priority for the Tigers staff.

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