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 chances with 5-star cornerback Anthony Cook, the possibility of flipping Justin Rogers, Louisiana’s top quarterback, and if Kelvin Joseph winds up back in the Tigers’ 2018 class.
To submit a question for Spiegelman, tweet at @SamSpiegs on Twitter on Monday nights.
Whats your “new” crystal ball pick?🔮
— Jacob (@jacoblsufan) October 23, 2017
I am on the verge of putting in a Crystal Ball pick for Anthony Cook to LSU. There’s even a chance that by the time the LSU mailbag is published, it’s in.
After spending last weekend in Houston with the 5-star corner, it’s clear that he’s conflicted. Here’s how he described the race between his final three of LSU, Ohio State and Texas.
“I feel like they each got their different pros,” Cook explained to SEC Country. “If I go to Texas, it would be simply because I want to play in my state. If I go to LSU, Coach O [Ed Orgeron] showed me the depth chart and it’s looking good with Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver leaving and Greedy Williams and Kary Vincent, and Kary’s a nickel, so it’s looking good. Then Ohio State, I feel like I can be developed best as a player.”
In other words, there’s a feel-good feeling about playing for the in-state team like Texas. He is confident he’ll be developed as a football player at Ohio State, and at LSU, he believes he can be coached into a top-flight defensive back and compete for playing time immediately.
The unique part of Cook’s recruitment is that he claims that the Buckeyes were never his leader. At one point, he indicated the Ohio State coaches were communicating the most, but not that they were his No. 1 team. When he narrowed his top schools down to three in July, LSU, Texas and Ohio State were all recruiting Cook equally.
With that said, he’s weighing LSU’s depth chart and the ability to be coached by Corey Raymond vs. Ohio State’s football history and the opportunity to play for his home-state team Texas. My gut feeling is that LSU is the team with all of the momentum leading into his decision, which is expected on Monday. It sounded early as if the Buckeyes had the lead, but it wavered, and he isn’t completely sold on Texas.
LSU checks off most of the boxes for Cook, and both Orgeron and Raymond were in Houston on Monday to check on the U.S. Army All-American. Considering that he’s undecided in the days before his decision, a strong visit to his high school could certainly help sway momentum into the Tigers’ corner.
Do you see Anthony Cook committing to LSU?
— Deric T (@dathompson02) October 23, 2017
At the moment, I see it as a very likely possibility.
Cook is torn, but he’ll have to settle on either LSU, Texas or Ohio State before Monday. Sources on the LSU side are cautiously optimistic about their chances, understanding that it could very likely go their way, but they are absolutely not discounting either Ohio State or Texas leading into the final hours of his decision.
Based on my conversation with Cook and some off-the-record chats with him and those around him, there is a case to be made for each one of his finalists, but especially for LSU. There’s Raymond, there’s the depth chart and there’s the program’s history of churning out NFL-quality defensive backs. It hits on all of Cook’s main criteria in a school that he laid out for SEC Country back in July at Nike’s The Opening Finals in Oregon.
I see LSU as a slight favorite, but not an overwhelming one by any means. I put it at 51 percent, hence my hesitation about putting a Crystal Ball pick in for him.
Does kelvin Joseph recommit ?
— ☆★☆ TEAUXLER ☆★☆ (@teauxler) October 23, 2017
In the end, absolutely.
Even when Kelvin Joseph de-committed from LSU earlier this month, he maintained that the Tigers remained his top school. Although he has done some interviews with other media outlets where he’s indicated that there’s no No. 1 team or that it’s an even playing field, the truth is that LSU actually holds a sizeable lead and I fully expect the Baton Rouge native to make his way back into the 2018 class when he’s ready to make a decision.
Joseph had been close to reopening his recruitment on several occasions dating back to his junior year. Alabama was pushing the hardest, but Raymond helped keep the 4-star defensive back in the fold. Eventually, Joseph’s commitment to LSU grew only stronger and when July rolled around, he was fully on board with the Tigers because his best friend Ja’Vonte Smart was committed to play hoops at LSU and Joseph was putting on his recruiter hat for the team.
The only reason Joseph pulled the trigger on his de-commitment earlier this month was because of the response he received from rival coaches as he tried to schedule his official visits. Some schools were reluctant to allow Joseph to make his official visit while still committed to LSU. As every recruit should, Joseph wanted to see the Florida States, Alabamas and Clemsons of the world, and by doing that, he could solidify his path to LSU, so he de-committed.
Joseph has been to Florida State for the Miami game and will be in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to see top-ranked Alabama host LSU. He’ll likely make his way to Clemson later this month and eventually LSU, but with a lot of confidence, I’d say the 4-star U.S. Army All-American defensive back commits back to the Tigers around February.
Is Justin Rogers more likely to stay commited or flip? And if he doesnt. Im guessing him and Terrance arent a package deal.
— LSU (6-2) (@DT7415) October 23, 2017
I may in an island on this, but I believe Justin Rogers eventually makes his way into LSU’s 2018 class.
LSU is in no way the favorite here, as he has remained strongly committed to TCU since he committed in May. The Tigers trailed TCU then, but the door opened back up over the summer as Orgeron began to lead the charge along with area recruiter Steve Ensminger. When Rogers tore his ACL in September, the LSU coaches were immediately on the phone with Rogers’ parents even before the quarterback made it to the hospital, which meant a lot to him.
Of course, LSU will have to impress Rogers with its offense over the final weeks of the season. The three-game win streak helps, but more production in the passing game would go along way. Rogers, who tuned in for the LSU games on TV, also understands that Matt Canada is hindered by the talent behind center.
You also have TCU playing extraordinarily well this season, which certainly bolsters the Horned Frogs’ chances of holding on through December.
Nonetheless, I still deem that landing Rogers, an in-state target, is the quarterback most likely to fall to LSU. 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.
Rogers and Marshall are not a package deal. They understand that they’re going to make the best decision possible for themselves and their families. Of course, if Marshall winds up at LSU, it definitely may have Rogers contemplating his options. Marshall left TCU out of his top four and then his updated top five whle Rogers was committed there. That leaves LSU as the only potential landing spot they have in common.
Do we have a legit shot at Gerry Bohanon? And with the way we’ve looked the last few weeks, could we find ourselves back in it for Fields?
— JackFrankEbelingJr (@jackebeling98) October 23, 2017
Gerry Bohanon made his first unofficial visit to the LSU campus for the Auburn game a few weeks ago. 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 its contact with the 4-star Arkansas quarterback leading to last Saturday’s visit. LSU has remained persistent in its pursuit of the aforementioned 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 when he visited for the Auburn contest, but now it’s on the coaches to recruit him harder and more consistently. Whether that continues remains to be seen.
I expect LSU to continue to push for a Rogers flip, but they will also continue to monitor Bohanon. The Arkansas native indicated that after visiting earlier this month, LSU is in a strong position to host him for an official visit. His only scheduled official visit is for Arkansas early in November.
As far as Justin Fields goes, that door is closed. He’s been connected to Georgia and Florida State more than any two schools since the summertime and it was a bit of a surprise that the 5-star quarterback officially visited LSU in September.
Fields is very solid to the Dawgs and after de-committing from Penn State, he elected to wait until he was 100-percent sure before making another commitment. LSU is absolutely out of the mix for the Under Armour All-American passer.
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s weekly LSU mailbag right here.