Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly mailbag, a question-and-answer forum between readers and LSU team and recruiting reporter Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we touch on LSU’s quarterback board and evaluating the top two targets, tidbits from 5-star cornerback Anthony Cook’s recent official visit, and which commits and targets will sign their letters of intent during the early signing period.
To submit a question for Spiegelman, tweet at @SamSpiegs on Twitter on Monday nights.
How does Gerry Bohanan look compared to Justin Rogers?
— Harold Woods (@Klutch6ene13) October 17, 2017
Great question, Harold. Below is a brief evaluation on the two quarterbacks who are both high on LSU’s board for the 2018 class. Remember that Bohanon is the top-ranked uncommitted quarterback remaining in the class while Justin Rogers, Louisiana’s top quarterback prospect, is still committed to TCU.
The biggest difference between Bohanon and Rogers is how far along they are in their development. Both possess a ton of raw talent. Rogers is much more polished as a passer, with his mechanics, footwork and decision-making. The one knock against him at the moment is that he’s fully devoted to rehabbing his knee instead of continuing to develop on the field.
Here’s the breakdown:
Gerry Bohanon, 4-star dual-threat QB: A look at Bohanon’s senior film shows that he has all the tools necessary to be an effective Power 5 quarterback. But he may need some time in college to fine-tune his game.
First off, he spends half of the time using his mobility to make plays and the other half making plays through the air. He does not miss open receivers and can use that aforementioned athleticism to buy time and create plays passing downfield. Bohanon has great anticipation on his throws, particularly when he has time to sit in the pocket. He has great field vision and a keen ability to throw his receivers open. I’d like to see him learn to put more zip on his throws in the short and intermediate passing game.
As a runner, he is both elusive and tough to bring down. He comes off as more of an athlete than a passer right the now. Bohanon is effective on a lot of designed quarterback runs, but as we mentioned earlier, uses his mobility in the pocket and when he escapes to make plays in the run and passing game.
Justin Rogers, 4-star dual-threat QB: Based on Rogers’ junior season highlights and performance on the 7-on-7 circuit, Rogers is clearly the state’s No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2018 class.
Rogers boasts a powerful arm with incredible downfield accuracy on his throws. He does a great job of balancing his arm strength and putting some zip on passes when needed, but also adjusting to his receivers or their routes. He is great at anticipating his receivers’ routes and does a great job of developing some chemistry with his top targets.
Additionally, Rogers uses his athleticism to make plays in and outside of the pocket. Entering his senior year, Rogers had developed into a pass-first quarterback. He’s one of the best downfield passers in the country and made a lot of strides in the short and intermediate passing game. When healthy, his ability to pick up yards with his legs is another key element in his game.
Hey Sam, which q.b does Lsu have a better chance to get: Justin Rogers or Gerry Bohanon?
— philip rose (@phil5060) October 17, 2017
This was Bohanon’s first unofficial visit to campus. He was offered in the spring and missed out on junior day in March after a personal incident kept him from making the trip.
The interesting thing here is LSU’s increased contact with the 4-star Arkansas quarterback leading to last Saturday’s visit. LSU has remained persistent in its pursuit of Rogers, but given that he committed to TCU in May, it is that much harder to flip him.
I’d consider Bohanon the team’s top uncommitted quarterback target in this class. Still, the LSU coaches have work to do on that front to surpass presumptive frontrunners Baylor and Louisville, which have been in touch with him for much longer. The offense impressed him on Saturday, but now it’s on the coaches to recruit him harder and more consistently. Whether that continues remains to be seen.
I still deem that landing Rogers, an in-state target, is the more likely scenario. Rogers will officially visit LSU on Nov. 24 along with teammates and 5-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. He also has connections to several players on the team, most notably redshirt freshman cornerback Greedy Williams. However, this will come down to what the LSU coaches can do to spark his interest and what they show him on the field over the next few weeks.
How do things stand with Anthony Cook? Any chance we can land him?
— JackFrankEbelingJr (@jackebeling98) October 17, 2017
There’s certainly a chance. At the moment, I’m torn between LSU getting a bump or remaining the clear-cut No. 2 option.
Anthony Cook officially visited LSU this past weekend and could not have asked for a better game, environment and outcome. He was joined by his mother and father and was hosted by LSU freshman safety Grant Delpit, who spent a good chunk of his life in Houston and was Cook’s teammate as Lamar (Texas) High School.
Cook was in the locker room after LSU’s comeback victory over Auburn and had dinner with Ed Orgeron and the coaches. On Sunday, he enjoyed his 1-on-1 meetings with the coaching staff, most notably secondary coach Corey Raymond, his primary recruiter.
The LSU official visit went well, but from what I’ve gathered, I’m unsure if it rivaled the official visit to Texas, which I’m told blew away Cook and his family. LSU got the 5-star corner on campus last, which is certainly worth noting, but it was also only his second-ever trip to Baton Rouge. He also visited for LSU’s spring game in April.
Ohio State has long been considered the frontrunner for Cook, but after officially visiting Texas and naming the Longhorns as his co-leader in interviews and then making his way to LSU, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano traveled to Houston to check in on the U.S. Army All-American. That’s a sign that Ohio State feels as if its lead is dissipating quickly.
That also leaves Texas and LSU as the more likely destinations. A handful of Texas Crystal Ball picks rolled in on Monday evening, which is certainly worth noting because it’s the in-state team that just made a strong push. However, in speaking with Cook and those close to him in recent months, the most important factors in his decision are where he’ll be developed best and where he’ll have to pursue a career in the NFL. Ohio State certainly challenges LSU in that department, but Raymond holds a clear-cut edge there compared to Texas.
LSU will likely lose Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver to the NFL Draft, meaning Cook could contend for a starting cornerback job beginning in the spring. He would be in a secondary with Delpit, a former high school teammate and someone he once attended an LSU satellite camp with in Houston last summer.
LSU has been on Cook for some time, but started to assert itself as a major player in his recruitment in the spring. Raymond and Orgeron have appealed to his interests with daily communication and weekly phone calls. I’d estimate that Texas is a slight favorite, for now, with LSU as the No. 2 option.
If and when the Longhorns land Cook, that could lead to some shakeup in Texas’ 2018 class. There are currently four blue-chip defensive backs in Texas’ class, including 4-star corners Jalen Green and D’shawn Jamison, Cook’s teammate at Lamar High. Adding a fifth defensive back and a third big-time corner could possibly lead to one of the other corners looking elsewhere. My guess would be Green.
Again, Cook has kept everything close to the vest. He’s not one for interviews or tweeting context clues. He’s trying to make the most informed decision possible. Reading the tea leaves has me thinking Texas has the momentum, with LSU quietly running in second place ahead of an Oct. 30 commitment date.
Of the recruits that LSU is targeting, do any of them plan to sign with a team in Dec? If so, who and what are LSU's chances?
— Michael Williams (@Williamsm1980) October 17, 2017
As of today (Wednesday), LSU holds 18 commitments in its 2018 recruiting class. Of that group, there are six that will definitely ink their letters of intent earl because they are all early enrollees.
- Damone Clark, 4-star LB
- Davin Cotton, 4-star DL
- Jarell Cherry, 4-star DE
- Zach Sheffer, 3-star H-back
- Micah Baskerville, 3-star LB
- Travez Moore, 3-star DE
Of course, some current commits could opt to sign their letters of intent during the early signing period in December, even if they do not intend on enrolling until the summertime. Much of that remains to be seen, but in most of those cases, recruits are electing to take their official visits in December and January before signing on the dotted line when Feb. 7 rolls around.
There are still a handful of uncommitted LSU targets set to enroll early. Here’s who we know fits that category:
- Terrace Marshall Jr., 5-star WR
- Anthony Cook, 5-star CB
- Justin Watkins, 4-star ATH
- Justin Rogers, 4-star QB (TCU commit)
- Nadab Joseph, 4-star DB
- Badara Traore, 4-star OT
- Cameron Rising, 4-star QB (Texas commit)
Currently, I project Marshall, Watkins, Rogers and Traore to find their way into the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class. Marshall is LSU’s top offensive priority in this class and has been a lean toward the in-state team for some time. The coaching staff will have a chance to seal the deal when Marshall officially visits on Nov. 24-26.
As I mentioned, there are rumblings that Cook is down to LSU and Texas with presumptive frontrunner Ohio State waning in the final days before his commitment date. LSU has quietly been a team to watch for the 5-star corner, but I don’t have much confidence saying he’ll wind up in this class. While the interest is there, Cook has only been to LSU for two known visits and it’s unclear if his official visit made that kind of impression.
Watkins returned to LSU for the Auburn game days after telling SEC Country that it was a two-team race between the Tigers and the Tide. I see Watkins’ recruitment coming full circle and winding up back with LSU. He likes the offense and saw it thrive up close and personal. He could pop sometime in the next few weeks.
Rogers remains the No. 1 quarterback on LSU’s board and the staff will get a chance to host him for an official visit in late November. The 4-star quarterback will make his final official visit to TCU before signing and enrolling early. LSU’s sights are sets on flipping Rogers, which won’t be easy. There’s a need for a quarterback in the 2018 class and this is the name I continue to hear.
Joseph recently trimmed his list down to three — LSU, Alabama and Georgia — but this is really a team-two battle. Alabama jumped out in front for the 4-star defensive back, but Joseph has maintained a close relationship with defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. He is weighing the opportunity to play early and compete for championships under Nick Saban versus the idea of being developed and compete for Raymond. It’s Alabama’s race to lose, but you can’t count LSU out just yet.
Traore has yet to visit Baton Rouge, but should make his way there sometime next month for his official visit. He’ll be at Texas this weekend and previously made a stop at Auburn in the summertime. Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and Orgeron have feverishly recruited Traore, who would have the opportunity to compete for a starting tackle spot beginning this spring. I suspect that LSU’s persistence will eventually win out.
Rising is expected to take an official visit to LSU and, at one point, was being courted very hard by former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. I don’t expect Rising to flip from Texas, but he’ll certainly entertain what the Tigers’ coaching staff will try to sell him about directing the offense and competing for playing time right away. More likely than not, Rising will land in Austin, Texas.
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