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.
This week’s mailbag comes after the Class of 2016 signees reported to campus, the LSU coaches hosted their first two satellite camps. Next up, numerous in-state prospects and targets will be on campus from Thursday through Saturday trying to earn offers and catch the attention of the Tigers’ coaches.
Without further ado, here we go:
How much of an impact will Les Miles’ job security have on recruiting? It seems like a lot is riding on this season’s turnout. (@chris_baudean)
Naturally, a recruit wants to be ensured that the coach they commit to is going to be around for the length of their college career.
But while we can only speculate about whether Miles will be the face of LSU after 2016, it has not had a negative impact in terms of the team’s recruiting.
LSU remains very much in the mix for some of the nation’s elite prospects. That includes in-state talent and recruits across the country.
Last fall, rumors about Miles possibly being dismissed created more of a splash in the team’s recruiting efforts. This recruiting cycle, that hasn’t been the case at all.
As it stands today, LSU has the nation’s No. 4 recruiting class for 2017, according to the 247Sports composite ranking. The worst-case scenario for LSU is that if the team slips up during the upcoming season, then Miles leaving could shake up the team’s attends to land elite prospects and very likely lose some of its committed talent.
However, thus far, the impact has been minimal. Athletic director Joe Alleva’s decision to retain Miles has worked in LSU’s favor. Commits are optimistic about the team’s future and believe they, too, will compete for championships with Miles at the helm of the team.
Of course, we have to see what transpires once football season rolls around.
Does Dave Aranda’s scheme have a negative effect on LSU recruiting true pass-rushers that do not want to cover? (@chris_baudean)
The addition of Aranda to the LSU coaching staff has been received very positively by both the current Tigers and their top recruits.
Aranda has a very aggressive scheme that revolves around the outside linebackers. That’s the position of emphasis in the 2017 recruiting cycle.
Prospects like four-star Texas outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson and five-star linebacker Dylan Moses are keen on Aranda’s system. In other words, the nation’s premier prospects at the position want to be able to rush the passer and drop back in coverage.
Last year posed more of an issue for some of the LSU defensive end commits that found themselves in a tricky situation once Kevin Steele fled for Auburn and Arnada was named his replacement. Rahsaan Thornton and Andre Anthony were categorized as 4-3 defensive ends that were supposed to rush the passer with their hands in the turf, but were then asked to play as 3-4 outside backers.
Both Thornton and Anthony remained committed to LSU, as they felt comfortable with what Aranda was going to ask of them. Both of those players are going to carve out roles early on this season given LSU’s lack of depth in its linebacker rotation, which is why outside linebacker is of the utmost importance in the 2017 class.
LSU is in the mix for some of the best outside linebackers in the country, which is a testament to the fact that the top prospects at the position aim to take on both roles at the college level. Most of the time, the outside linebackers will be getting after opposing quarterbacks, but in certain situations they will be forced to drop back into pass coverage, a concept most are comfortable with.
Is there any update on Devonta Jason? (@phil_jamie3)
The Class of 2018 LSU wide receiver commit has bursted onto the scene this spring, amassing a number of offers from a host of college football powers.
Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida, Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama are among the rival SEC powers that have come through Landry-Walker High School (New Orleans) to observe the wide receiver. All wound up offering the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder.
Jason, nicknamed “Whop,” has added a lot of muscle to his frame this spring, which has helped him become a more physical receiver. That was evident at numerous 7-on-7 events and prospect camps, where the New Orleans native has been a major mismatch for opposing defensive backs.
Despite the longer list of offers, Jason is very firm with his pledge to LSU. He committed late last fall and has made several trips to Baton Rouge, La., since. Jason is developing a relationship with new wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig and has a longstanding bond with first-year running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, his area recruiter.
Jason will keep an open mind at this early stage in his recruitment, and he’s destined to continue to pull in offers as he attends different camps. However, he has been resolute on a future with the in-state Tigers, particularly as the offense continues to open up and include more spread principles.
What’s the latest on LSU’s chase for 5-star prospects Dylan Moses, Marvin Wilson?
These are two of LSU’s most important targets in the Class of 2017, and the Tigers will be in a tight race for both of these prospects down to the wire.
Moses, who will play his senior season at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), will commit sometime late in the football season before enrolling early. Earlier this spring, the linebacker named Texas his leading school in front of Alabama, Southern Cal, UCLA and LSU.
The one-time LSU commit re-arranged his top schools list after making visits to Alabama, LSU and Texas during the spring. From an LSU perspective, it’s promising that Moses was thoroughly impressed by Aranda and opted to visit multiple times during spring practice and again for the Bayou Picnic.
Of those schools mentioned, Alabama is considered LSU’s biggest threat to land the five-star prospect. However, it must be mentioned that Moses is a Baton Rouge, La., native with a lot of family ties to the Houston area, which bodes well for the Tigers’ chances of bringing the elite defender home.
It would not be surprising at all if Moses changed around his top schools list again after the summer and LSU continued to rise in the rankings.
As for Marvin, the nation’s top defensive tackle is spending the early part of the summer visiting a number of schools. He’s been to Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Alabama, and will soon make his way to Florida State. Both the Tide and the Seminoles are expected to be in the mix for the five-star Texan until the end. LSU fits that bill, too.
Wilson is expected to make his way to Baton Rouge, La., at some point this summer. The elite defensive lineman has a very tight bond with defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who has done a fantastic job of keeping up with Wilson’s family and ensuring that the Tigers are among his top schools.
The Episcopal High School (Bellaire, Texas) product is expected to release his top schools in the next couple of days, and LSU should make the cut. Alabama’s coaching staff changes hurt the Tide’s changes — momentarily — but they will also be in the mix. So will Florida State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Texas and Texas A&M.
However, LSU, Florida State and ‘Bama have separated themselves as frontrunners to land the Texas tackle, and Wilson’s visits this summer should help him continue to narrow down the field and continue to foster relationships with the coaches.
What’s the latest on the LSU signees that did not report?
Besides the five early enrollees, 17 members of LSU’s 2016 signing class reported to campus on either Friday or Saturday.
The exceptions were defensive tackle Edwin Alexander, outside linebacker Andre Anthony and wide receiver Da’Monte Coxie.
Alexander and Anthony are both experiencing academic issues that have inhibited their ability to report to campus this June. Alexander will not enroll in summer classes, and instead will try reach academic qualifications during that time to try and enroll in August.
It’s a similar situation for Anthony, who is awaiting clearance from the NCAA clearinghouse.
The NCAA has requested that Anthony show his coursework from his time at Miller-McCoy Academy, where he began his high school career there before the New Orleans school closed down. That led him to Edna Karr, where he graduated last month.
Miller-McCoy is now defunct, so it’s been a major hurdle for Anthony. However, he’s confident that this issue will be straightened out and on campus by August.
Coxie is waiting on his ACT scores, but the most realistic option for the talented wide receiver is the junior college route. The East St. John (Reserve, La.) product is expected to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi, then eventually return to LSU.
Coxie told SEC Country that he remains in contact with the LSU coaches and is still solid with the Tigers, even though he will not be suiting up for the team this coming season.
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.