Welcome back to the weekly LSU football and recruiting mailbag.
Every week, LSU reporter Sam Spiegelman goes through his stack to answer some of the most pressing questions submitted by you, the readers.
ADD TO THE MAILBAG: If you want to submit a question, send a message to @SamSpiegs on Twitter or email it to email@example.com.
Room is getting tight in the Tigers recruiting class, with a handful of scholarship spots remaining for what appears to be a wide range of blue-chip targets.
We’re past the midway point in the college football season and about to move into the fourth quarter of the recruiting cycle.
So, what’s next? Let’s take a look:
Do you believe that power brokers will not let this game (Alabama) determine Coach O’s job? (@BwhinsOld)
Power brokers? Eh …
To be completely honest, Ed Orgeron’s coaching against Alabama will have an impact on athletic director Joe Alleva’s decision whether to hire him for the full-time gig.
Orgeron fired up LSU in his first three games, all resulting in wins. Of course, you can’t overlook the fact that the team hosted middle-of-the-pack SEC teams Missouri and Ole Miss, and Conference USA foe Southern Miss. Alabama is a different species compared with those three.
If Orgeron would have defeated top-ranked Alabama, then he immediately would have asserted himself as the front-runner for the head-coaching job. That probably goes without saying because, obviously, no other head coach in the country has been able to get the better of Nick Saban’s team in more than a year.
According to one source, if Orgeron would have beaten Alabama and continued down that path, a contract would have been waiting for him after the Florida game on Nov. 19. However, that source wavered on that immediately after LSU lost 10-0 to the Crimson Tide on Saturday night, meaning Orgeron’s path to becoming the head coach is again extremely unclear.
LSU still has a chance to win out and, potentially, give Orgeron a 6-1 record as the team’s interim head coach. There are two important factors in play here:
- If Orgeron is 6-1 after Thanksgiving with victories against Missouri, Southern Miss, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M, that still looks extremely impressive. Ole Miss, Arkansas, Florida and A&M all have been ranked at different points this season. The lone loss would have been to ‘Bama, which no team has beaten to this point.
- Where Tom Herman and Jimbo Fisher are at the end of the season. LSU is putting out feelers to the head coaches at Houston and Florida State, as we await a verdict on other programs across the country and if they, too, will have coaching vacancies. There is no reason for LSU not to consider Herman and Fisher, if either one or both of the coaches have an interest in coming to Baton Rouge. Either way, Orgeron will be a candidate.
Can we get a list of the recruits who actually showed up and who didn’t? (@chris_baudean)
Chris, there is a list you can check out right here, which includes not only the visitors and those who didn’t make it, but also their reaction to the LSU-Alabama game, the environment and more.
Just saying …
Still, here’s a bullet-point list of the prospects who wound up in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night and who watched from home.
- Myles Brennan
- Lowell Narcisse
- JaCoby Stevens
- Kary Vincent Jr.
- Tory Carter
- Patrick Queen
- Todd Harris
- Alex Leatherwood
- K’Lavon Chaisson
- Jontre Kirklin
- Christopher Allen
- Mannie Netherly
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire
- Aaron Moffitt
- Neil Farrell
- Tyler Shelvin
- Phidarian Mathis
- Saahdiq Charles
- Max Wray
- Glenn Beal
- Terrace Marshall Jr.
- Justin Rogers
- Trevor Lawrence
- Kelvin Joseph
- Pat Surtain Jr.
- Ja’Marr Chase
- Dustin Dyson
- Joe Foucha
- Aaron Brule’
- Verone McKinley
- Jalen Green
- Maurice Hampton
- Chandler Fields
- Devonta Lee
- Trey Palmer
Who didn’t make it? 5-star prospects Marvin Wilson and Walker Little did not make the trip from Houston. Neither did 5-star running back Cam Akers. Nadab Joseph, a 2018 commit, missed his flight. Texas 2018 targets Joshua Moore and Jordan Moore started their drive but turned around because of bad weather. 4-star New Orleans defensive back Brad Stewart and 3-star Tennessee cornerback commit Cheyenne Labruzza also did not attend.
Isaiah Buggs is committing soon, but to who? (@serrient_Bell)
You picked a great time to ask this question, Serrient, because I just finished writing about Buggs earlier Wednesday.
You can read all about it here.
The 4-star junior-college defensive lineman should make a decision in the next month or so now that Mississippi Gulf Coast’s season has ended. On numerous occasions, Buggs has named his finalists, which always have included LSU, Alabama, Auburn, as well as Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
There are numerous important factors in play:
- Buggs has visited LSU and Auburn most frequently. Not surprisingly, LSU and Auburn recruited Buggs out of Ruston (La.) High in 2015, so those relationships have meant a lot to the standout lineman.
- Orgeron and Bradley Dale Peveto have spearheaded Buggs’ recruitment. This spring, Orgeron visited Buggs in Mississippi, which was successful in assuring LSU was among his top schools. Peveto hosted Buggs for the Missouri game on Oct. 1, the lineman’s last known visit.
- Speaking of visits, Buggs never has visited Tuscaloosa, Ala., or College Station, Texas. That should put LSU on a higher playing field than those two SEC West teams. He has been to LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss.
- Buggs hails from Louisiana, and proximity to home is a key factor. As I mentioned in the story above, Buggs is making a decision based on his mother. She resides in Ruston, La., which is 3.5 hours from Baton Rouge. You do the math.
- Buggs is close friends with current Tigers defensive end Davon Godchaux. He would relish the opportunity to either take Godchaux’s spot along LSU’s defensive line or, possibly, play alongside Godchaux in 2017.
I have a strong gut feeling that Buggs will choose LSU when he finally commits. Why? It comes down to his Louisiana ties, his mother being able to attend games each Saturday and his chance to earn a starting role right away. LSU checks off all of those boxes.
Who is the potential left tackle in LSU’s class? Do they have a shot with any uncommitted tackle prospects or any JUCO tackles? (@t_ryandewey)
LSU’s 2017 haul already includes four offensive linemen, including a pair of true tackles.
Austin Deculus, a 4-star tackle out of Texas, represents a standout whom LSU could use to stabilize the tackle position right away. He’s 6-foot-6 and 331 pounds, and rated as the No. 9 offensive tackle in this recruiting cycle. Even more impressive is Deculus has been on an arduous workout regimen since the spring and throughout the summer as he cements himself as one of the best offensive lineman and prospects overall in the Class of 2017.
Don’t believe me about Deculus’ workouts? Check him out here.
Last month, there was some cause for concern about Deculus potentially wavering on his pledge to the Tigers.
That has died down a bit — for now — as we await a resolution as to who LSU’s next head coach will be. He’s since offered some encouraging comments about his commitment and future at LSU, which he calls his dream school.
Deculus is the blue-chip tackle in LSU’s 2017 class. The other is 3-star West Virginia product Seth Stewart, who has the frame to be a tackle but may need to be developed and coached up by offensive line coach Jeff Grimes.
Stewart is 6-8 and 320 pounds, but he will need to round into better shape before he steps into the lineup. He earned his offer and committed during LSU’s July prospect camp when it was becoming clearer that 4-star Louisiana offensive tackle Adrian Ealy may be leaning toward out-of-state programs such as Oklahoma and Miami.
LSU holds commitments from two other linemen — 4-star prospects Edward Ingram and Saahdiq Charles — both destined to be guards for the Tigers. The team is not eyeing any other offensive tackles now, in either high school or the junior-college ranks.
If LSU were to lose a commitment from Deculus or Stewart, expect the team to turn back to Ealy. Like Stewart, Ealy needs to add to his frame, but he has a lot of potential to be a true starting tackle in the SEC.
Also, let’s not forget about last year’s big addition in former 4-star prospect Willie Allen. He’s redshirting this season, but the New Orleans native is 6-7 and 310 pounds. After getting healthy, adding more muscle to his frame and improving his pass-blocking skills, Allen should compete for a tackle spot. He and Deculus represent the future tackles along LSU’s line.
If we miss out on our top LB recruits, what guys could we offer late? Maybe some under-the-radar guys? (@MatthewStrahan3)
Great question, Matthew, because linebacker is most certainly a major position of need in 2017 and LSU’s priority targets are anything but guaranteed.
Of course, LSU holds one commitment from 4-star Livonia (La.) linebacker Patrick Queen. The rest of the wish list looks like this:
- Dylan Moses, 5-star LB (Alabama commit)
- K’Lavon Chaisson, 4-star OLB/DE
- Christopher Allen, 4-star LB
- Levi Jones, 4-star OLB
LSU’s coaching staff will have its work cut out trying to flip Moses. 4-star Alabama linebacker Will Ignont already is off the board and committed to Tennessee. He was supposed to visit for the LSU-Alabama game but did not show. Still, LSU could make a late push if it’s unsuccessful with Moses.
If LSU also whiffs on its top linebacker targets like Chaisson, Allen and Jones, here are some names to keep an eye on:
- Chris Turner, 3-star DE/OLB (Hammond, La.)
- Josh Clarke, 4-star OLB (New Orleans)
- Garret Wallow, 3-star S/LB (New Orleans)
- Cameron Heil, 3-star LB (Baker, La.)
Turner, Heil and Wallow each drew attention from the LSU staff at different prospect camps last summer. Orgeron is a fan of Turner and was on the verge of offering the edge rusher. Heil received 1-on-1 instruction from defensive coordinator Dave Aranda in July, which is something to note. Wallow, a hybrid safety/linebacker, was also impressive during the July prospect camp.
Clarke maintains a great relationship with New Orleans-area recruiter Jabbar Juluke. The Ole Miss pledge was eager to land an offer from his in-state team, but he was unable to make it to either prospect camp. LSU needs outside linebackers, and Clarke, fittingly, is in the team’s backyard.
Who is your favorite going into the merge? And which LSU player would be most entertaining on Survivor? (@Kconnorriley)
Connor, I am so, so, so happy you asked me about this.
I have a couple of favorites, but with the merge upon us, I’m a little torn. I had a lot of confidence in Millennial stud Jay Starrett. He’s scrappy in the challenges, good at building relationships and was a key cog in a strong alliance. That, obviously, took a crazy left turn when he blindsided Michaela, which may have been the right move, but nonetheless, a dangerous one.
That move may have indirectly boosted Adam Klein’s stock. Again, not exactly a great competitor from a physical standpoint, but now he has gained support from Millennials and Gen X.
Lastly, there are a few wise contestants I recommend keeping an eye on. Will Wahl is a student of the game. He’s capable of making a big-time move at any point, and I’d trust him to do so. Michelle Schubert could benefit from a merge, and once she is reacquainted with some Millennials, her stock should rise. Ken McNickle and Chris Hammons are two of the best when it comes to immunity challenges, which gives them an obvious edge from the Gen X side.
As far as an LSU player who would be most entertaining.
This is quite easy, actually. Based on the time spent with the players and getting to know them personally from when they were recruits until now, here’s my short list.
Remember, you asked for entertaining …
- Derrius Guice, RB
- Saivion Smith, CB
- Drake Davis, WR
- Donnie Alexander, LB
- Foster Moreau, TE
- Xavier Lewis, S
To be honest, I’m cracking up just thinking about some of these players being stranded on an island together. Obviously, they’d be elite contestants in the physical challenges, but don’t underestimate how sneaky they could be forging alliances and, eventually, blindsiding folks. Of LSU’s ’16 roster, these are your best bets.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
Follow Sam Spiegelman on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tiger Stadium.