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 where LSU stands with 4-star linebacker Donte Starks, who made a return visit to Baton Rouge to see the Tigers knock off Arkansas over the weekend.
LSU’s edge for 4-star LB Donte Starks
Donte Starks relocated from New Orleans to the Mississippi coast this summer, but his transition out-of-state has not changed much when it comes to his recruitment.
The nation’s No. 2-ranked linebacker in the Class of 2019 named LSU as his front-runner in the spring but is now taking a more open approach to his recruitment. That’s not to say the Tigers have fallen off. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
“I’m just starting to explore my options now, seeing some other things and what other colleges have to offer,” Starks told SEC Country. “I’m just exploring my options and open to whoever reaches out to me … Everything is up in the air, but LSU, that’s the hometown team.”
Though LSU is no longer the leader for the 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker from Bixoli (Miss.) High School, the Tigers are right up there at the top.
New Orleans-area recruiter Mickey Joseph and defensive assistant Ronnie Wheat have spearheaded the Tigers’ push for Starks since Sept. 1, when the team made a splash with its immediate contact with the 4-star prospect.
“It was just LSU. I knew it was coming,” Starks laughed. “Coach Donnie and Coach Mickey just asked me about how I was feeling about LSU and all that stuff. I mean, I like everything. The experience there was nice and I like the campus.”
The 2019 Under Armour All-American has made a string of visits to Baton Rouge since the spring, including three games this season. Starks attended the win over Arkansas last weekend and spent quality time watching from the stands with 2019 LSU running back commit Tyrion Davis.
Starks’ attention was fixed on the LSU defense, which limited the visiting Razorbacks to 10 points, including just 3 in the second half.
“They have all been good,” he said of his visits to LSU. “They have been showing me the defense and asking me how I like it and stuff. I do like it, especially [defensive coordinator] Coach [Dave] Aranda. He’s a good coach and I like how he sets up the defense.”
Aranda also is putting in time with the 4-star linebacker who eventually could find a role in the middle of his 3-4 defense. Though LSU has made an early impression on Starks, no decision will be made until next winter, when the blue-chip prospect has said he will announce his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando, Fla.
LSU remains in a strong position with the Starks. The Tigers have hosted him on several occasions over the past 10 months and have had consistent communication.
“I keep going out there because I just really like it,” Starks said. “I like the setup and everything that they do. It’s exciting.”
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