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 LSU’s linebacker board for 2019, which is loading up quickly.
Kendall McCallum’s commitment adds twist to LSU’s linebacker board
The recruiting momentum has carried into the dead period in Baton Rouge.
A busy June continued on Monday as the Tigers nabbed their seventh commitment in a 15-day span, this time from 3-star Alabama inside linebacker Kendall McCallum. The Oxford, Ala., native is the third linebacker in LSU’s 2019 recruiting class, following in the footsteps of former Tigers great Kwon Alexander, who hailed from the same high school.
McCallum cemented LSU’s spot in the No. 3 position for the team rankings, with the No. 1 spot very much in sight. Of course, with only seven spots remaining to fill between now and Signing Day, there’s only room at the inn for priority blue-chip prospects.
At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, McCallum gives defensive coordinator Dave Aranda a big-bodied middle linebacker that can play downhill to slow down the run and generate interior pressure in blitzing scenarios. He joins a group headlined by 4-star athlete Marcel Brooks, who by trade is listed as an outside linebacker, but is expected to wear multiple hats for the LSU defense in 2019. That includes snaps at safety, in the nickel and both the Field- and Bench-linebacker positions.
LSU also holds a commitment from 3-star Mississippi linebacker Zach Edwards, who camped in Baton Rouge over the weekend. The Starkville, Miss., native made the surprise decision to commit to LSU in March along with Magnolia State blue-chip defensive lineman Jaren Handy, who since committing to the Tigers has de-committed and joined SEC West rival Auburn. There’s a strong feeling inside LSU’s building that Edwards could follow a similar path, and with McCallum joining the class, the writing is already in the sand.
Although there is limited spots remaining, one spot is reserved for 4-star New Orleans linebacker Donte’ Starks, who over the past year as emerged as a priority target for the Tigers coaching staff. Starks, who has been a regular visitor over the last year-plus, recently skipped out on a visit to Auburn for Big Cat Weekend to spend a camp session alongside coach Ed Orgeron. LSU is the clear-cut front-runner for the top-150 prospect and is expected to land his commitment on July 8, his 18th birthday. That’ll fortify LSU at linebacker for 2019, when the team will have to find an heir apparent to All-America performer Devin White.
SEC Country’s mock signing class 1.0 for 2019 included a trio of linebackers: Brooks, Starks and McCallum, who will all likely claim spots in the Tigers’ haul over the next month. With Brooks’ role so unique, there is room for one more potential commit later in the recruiting cycle.
That spot, of course, belongs to 5-star linebacker Nakobe Dean, the top-ranked prospect at the position in the country. Dean visited Baton Rouge over the weekend along with two teammates — 3-star cornerback Raydarious Jones and 2020 tight end Jakivuan Brown — who also hold offers from LSU. Dean, a 4.7 student at Horn Lake (Miss.) High School, is one of the few elite prospects that Aranda and LSU are willing to clear space for through Signing Day, should he want in. Alabama, Ole Miss, Stanford and Georgia are all major contenders for the All-America linebacker, in addition to the Tigers, who have hosted Dean multiple times in the past six months.
The more likely scenario here is for Edwards to eventually find his way out of this class and Starks to reserve his spot next month. That’ll bolster the team’s linebacker depth for the post-White era and give LSU some wiggle room for Dean closer to the early signing period.
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