LSU mailbag: Ranking 2019 QBs, Terrace Marshall’s new top 5, Derrius Guice’s injury
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 which wide receivers and running backs will find their way into LSU’s 2018 recruiting class, whether Lane Kiffin was right or wrong to offer a 2022 quarterback, and if 2017 signee Kary Vincent Jr. will play right away.
Rank the 2019 in state QBs as D1 prospects: Lance Legendre, Travis Mumphrey, Chandler Fields, Andrew Robison. Any others?
— Ryan Dewey (@t_ryandewey) August 29, 2017
Ranking quarterbacks is a difficult task and I don’t believe there is a Lowell Narcisse, a Keytaon Thompson or a Justin Rogers in the Class of 2019 at this point.
However, there is a bevy of intriguing quarterbacks prospects in Louisiana. You’ve mentioned them all above.
Let me provide you with a ranking of those four quarterbacks and some others worth including, as well as a brief overview of why they are listed in that order:
- Lance LeGendre (Warren Easton)
- Chandler Fields (Rummel)
- Travis Mumphrey (John Ehret)
- Amani Gilmore (Amite)
- Harold Blood (Destrehan)
- John Gordon McKernan (University Lab)
- Andrew Robison (Vandebilt Catholic)
These rankings are subject to change, but this definitely is a deeper crop of quarterbacks in The Boot than we have seen in a couple of recruiting cycles. LeGendre is at the top of the list because he has all of the physical tools to be an effective quarterback at the Power 5 level. He measures in at 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds and can launch it 80 yards downfield. LSU is monitoring the dual-threat passer. His biggest challenge will be learning how to improve his accuracy in the short and intermediate passing game and make those throws on a consistent basis. LeGendre has made tremendous strides in a rather short time.
Fields may not garner the top-shelf offers he deserves because he’s about two inches away from being the ideal size for his position. However, he has incredible accuracy and can place the ball anywhere on the field. Fields is gifted in his ability to seize up defenses and rarely hurts his team, which is incredibly rare for a quarterback of his age. Fields’ work ethic is special, as coaches have praised the work he puts in behind the scenes at both Holy Cross and now at Rummel.
Mumphrey has a lot of those special physical tools as well, and has made a big leap from last fall. He’s improved his footwork in the pocket and is delivering accurate throws. Mumphrey still needs to work on his ability to read defenses and make the right choices, which will come with experience. You cannot discount how long he has been behind center at Ehret, which speaks volumes about what the coaching staff thinks of him.
Gilmore, Blood, McKernan and Robison are some of the lesser-known names in the state for 2019. Gilmore transferred from Hammond to Amite, but is already garnering a good deal of college attention. At Hammond, his size and raw arm strength were wildly impressive. In the Amite system, he’ll have a chance to show off those tools and develop his game. Blood is going to impress a lot of teams with his accuracy and decision-making this fall. He has a lot of weapons around him and he plays in a pass-friendly offense. He has tremendous leadership skills and commands respect in the huddle. McKernan is still raw but has flashed some signs in the 7-on-7 setting. Robison has generated a good deal of buzz in the offseason but lacks size. With that said, smaller colleges should be monitoring him as he continues to create a stir in the Houma area.
Did/does Guice have a foot injury , he limped off after jumping over that dude in the 3rd Pre-Season game
— Darrell & Iris Davis (@darrellandiris) August 29, 2017
— 5⃣ (@DhaSickest) August 29, 2017
I’m not sure that there is a better source on Derrius Guice‘s injury status than Derrius Guice. We appreciate that he chimed in on Twitter.
As far as detective work goes, Darrell and Iris, I don’t know where rumors of a foot injury come from. I had not heard of any foot injuries or any leaping over defenders from LSU’s closed-door preseason scrimmages. Most people came to the conclusion that No. 5 had his wisdom teeth pulled. The biggest clue was freshman tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire revealing a screenshot of his FaceTime with Guice after the procedure.
Wisdom teeth procedures aside, you can count on Guice being ready for the regular-season opener against BYU on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. That’s a fact. Guice said as much when he met with the media earlier this week. In fact, he indicated that he’ll be 100 percent and would play whether he was short one wisdom tooth or if he had them all pulled.
Not discounting how much a dental procedure like that hurts, but Guice seems resolute on playing no matter what hurdles are thrown in his way.
Nonetheless, expect No. 5 to suit up against BYU as Matt Canada unveils his new-look offense. Regardless of Guice’s health, you can count on seeing a healthy dose of Darrel Williams and likely a handful of carries for Edwards-Helaire in certain packages.
Does lsu finish with a QB this class
— Deric T (@dathompson02) August 29, 2017
That’s a million-dollar question, Deric.
As of today, the answer is no. LSU does not lead for any quarterbacks. As I’ve maintained throughout the summer, the team will not take a quarterback just to take a quarterback. Rather, I would expect that LSU would add an extra wide receiver, offensive lineman or defensive front seven prospect instead of another body to throw on the quarterback depth chart.
That doesn’t mean the LSU coaching staff isn’t trying.
However, the urgency to nab a quarterback for the Class of 2018 is there. Danny Etling, a redshirt senior, will graduate after the season. Justin McMillan has been surpassed on the depth chart by freshmen Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse, and there is a feeling in the clubhouse that he could consider other options elsewhere after this season. That, of course, is barring some playing time in 2017. Remember that Lindsey Scott Jr. elected to transfer from LSU earlier this month.
So potentially, LSU could have only two inexperienced quarterbacks on scholarship next season. Brennan and Narcisse will headline the quarterback competition in 2018, but that’s a major issue in terms of depth should an injury occur.
The quarterback most closely associated with LSU is 4-star dual-threat Justin Rogers. He committed to TCU over LSU on May 31 and is firm in his pledge. Still, Rogers will officially visit LSU at some point this fall and has consistently heard from Ed Orgeron, Steve Ensminger and Canada. The Tigers have not been completely eliminated from contention just yet. The door is still open with Rogers and there will be eyes on how the new-look offense fares. With a thin depth chart at the position, Rogers could realize that he could challenge for a starting job or playing time as a freshman. After all, he will enroll at a university in January and participate in spring practices.
The other quarterback to note here is Jarren Williams. The 4-star dual-threat remains solid in his commitment to Kentucky, but he named LSU and South Carolina as two teams that are pushing to flip him. Expect LSU to host Williams for an official visit. Remember that Williams attended junior day in Baton Rouge this spring. That’s where he picked up his offer from LSU — while he was committed to the Wildcats — and LSU’s push was among the reasons he briefly reopened his recruitment this spring. Kentucky remains an overwhelming favorite to hold on to Williams’ commitment, but there are some reasons to believe that the Tigers are still in this.
Whats going on with Kristian Fulton. Seems like he is falling on the depth chart?
— WholesomeBlackKing (@DakariTrevon) August 30, 2017
This is a really interesting situation to monitor. We all know that Kristian Fulton was a 5-star cornerback coming out of Archbishop Rummel (La.) High School in 2016. As a freshman, he saw the field along with fellow freshman Savion Smith. Fulton had a handful of highlight plays at corner toward the end of games and especially on special teams duties.
Throughout spring practice and fall camp, however, Orgeron has consistently praised other defensive backs for their performances. That includes older players such as Greedy Williams and Xavier Lewis and newcomers at the position such as Kary Vincent Jr. and Jontre Kirklin.
During Orgeron’s press conference on Monday, he provided the media with a two-deep depth chart and singled out the ongoing competitions. At corner, he named Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver as the two starters on the outside, as expected, with Kirklin and Williams as their backups. Obviously, the surprise here was Kirklin —not Fulton — as Jackson’s No. 2.
Fulton looked sharp during the short glimpses of spring practice and fall camp that the media were able to attend. He was taking reps with the second team while Kirklin was following with third-team reps with the bulk of the other freshmen.
Perhaps Fulton is coming along a little slower than you would expect from a former 5-star recruit. Perhaps there are some personal reasons hindering his development or position on the depth chart. Nonetheless, I expect Williams to be the first outside corner off the bench in Corey Raymond‘s rotation, whether it’s on Jackson’s side or Toliver’s. It’s hard to envision Kirklin — who is making the conversion from quarterback to defensive back — getting a ton of playing time as a freshman.
That doesn’t answer why Fulton is buried on LSU’s depth chart. There is still time for that question to be sorted out.
Have you changed your projections on terrace marshall with his new top 5 out?
— Jacob (@jacoblsufan) August 30, 2017
Jacob, absolutely not.
Terrace Marshall Jr., the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver in the Class of 2018, made a small revision to his top (and supposedly, final) five.
In June, that list was comprised of four: LSU, Texas A&M, Texas and Miami. The surprises here: Miami made the cut and TCU did not. Marshall made a visit to Miami in the spring, which quickly vaulted the Canes to this exclusive top four. Marshall’s teammate and best friend, Justin Rogers, is committed to TCU. While the Horned Frogs coaches were still pushing for Marshall, they were left on the outside looking in.
Fast forward to Sunday night when Marshall unveiled a new-look group of top schools. The 5-star wide receiver removed Miami and added Alabama and Florida State to his final five. LSU, Texas A&M and Texas remained put.
Alabama and Florida State have quietly been pushing to get back in the mix for Marshall. Alabama was an early contender for Marshall dating back to this time a year ago. The ‘Noles are surging as another team to watch thanks to Dameyune Craig, an assistant on Jimbo Fisher‘s staff who recruited Marshall while he was LSU’s wide receivers coach.
After unofficially visiting LSU in July, Marshall told SEC Country that both Alabama and Florida State were in the mix for official visits. While LSU, Texas A&M and Texas are sure to host Marshall for officials at some point this fall, Alabama and Florida State have ascended to that level as well.
Does the new-look top five alter my prediction that Marshall will wind up at LSU? Absolutely not. No school is pushing harder for Marshall than LSU, which has Orgeron, Ensminger, Canada and Mickey Joseph working to keep the Under Armour All-American in The Boot. Not only that, but the Tigers’ coaches are recruiting Marshall’s entire family. That’s how they got him on campus in July right before the dead period.
Next up is impressing Marshall with the offense. That’s a common theme for a lot of offensive recruits, but it’s especially important for Marshall, arguably the No. 1 offensive priority for the Tigers in the Class of 2018.
So long that Canada’s offense features a more refined passing game, I expect all the dominos to fall in favor of LSU when Marshall makes his decision on Dec. 22.
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s weekly LSU mailbag right here.