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 LSU coaches held its first high school camp, then toured through the Lone Star State, visiting with a handful of current commits such as Edward Ingram and Austin Deculus, as well as some of its highly sought-after targets like Grant Delpit, Marvin Wilson and Jhamon Ausbon.
The LSU coaches are back in Baton Rouge, La., and preparing to again make strides on the recruiting trail.
Without further ado, here we go:
Are there any commits that look shaky? If so, who might take their spots should they decommit? (@LSUPeterAdams)
That’s definitely a good question, and the timing is somewhat impeccable. But here’s an answer for both LSU’s 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes.
Of the current commits for the Class of 2017, my gut feeling is that Stephen Guidry may be a candidate to re-evaluate his options. The 4-star Louisiana native and top junior college wide receiver pledged to the hometown Tigers in May at the Bayou Picnic after spending much of the afternoon meeting with wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig.
Since then, Guidry released a top five comprised of four other SEC powers, including Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Mississippi State. The former Livonia (La.) High School product named the Crimson Tide his leading school the week before he committed to LSU, and also told SEC Country that he was high on both Auburn and Mississippi State and wanted to make visits to those schools.
I don’t believe that Alabama is done with Guidry, nor do I believe the receiver has closed the door on Alabama. The other three SEC schools could also make a push to try and force a flip if and when Guidry lands on their campuses.
So, who could replace him? Guidry is the lone wide receiver commitment in LSU’s 2017 cycle, which could include two or three prospects at the position. LSU’s top target remains 5-star Amite (La.) High School product Devonta Smith, who remains a long way from making a decision. LSU recently cracked the top six for Texas 4-star receiver Mannie Netherly and is about to make a concerted effort for 4-star Georgia wideout Jeremiah Holloman. The Tigers recently extended an offer to 3-star Edna Karr High School (New Orleans) talent Racey McMath, too.
In my opinion, LSU will take three wide receivers in the 2017 class. That could include Guidry, Smith and McMath, or potentially a talent like Netherly, Holloman or four-star Texas receiver CeeDee Lamb taking one of those spots. Keep in mind the Tigers already hold a commitment from in-state athlete Jontre Kirklin, who could play on either side of the ball when he arrives at LSU.
As for 2018, Kelvin Joseph has made some comments of late that gives me the impression he may decommit and consider his other options. Joseph is Louisiana’s top-rated cornerback in next year’s class, and that has led to his recruitment taking off throughout the spring.
The 4-star Baton Rouge, La., native added offers from Alabama, Notre Dame and Arizona last month and now boasts an offer list in the double-digits. Joseph has visited LSU at every possible opportunity, including for the Bayou Picnic and the first session of the team’s most recent high school camp, but may be regretting making his commitment so early.
However, that doesn’t mean Joseph will reopen his recruitment, but the onslaught of new offers has the nation’s No. 3 cornerback in 2018 deep into the thought process.
Who could replace Joseph, if he does decide to move on? For one, Joseph. If he decommits, he is still a candidate to return to the Tigers. He’s a rising junior with plenty of time left in the process. LSU also holds commitments from two other defensive backs in Corione Joseph and Nadab Joseph, and more offers could be on the way when the school hosts its second high school camp next month.
Is LSU in danger of losing a quarterback commitment in this year’s class, and how could it impact next year’s class?
The suspicion makes sense. Very rarely does a program reel in two elite quarterbacks year after year, but LSU finds itself in a unique position.
Myles Brennan was the first signal-caller to commit to LSU, and did so because of his ties to Louisiana and a strong relationship with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Since committing, the pro-style quarterback from Mississippi has blown up, earning a spot in the Elite 11 Finals and procuring an offer from SEC West rival Ole Miss.
After making two visits to Baton Rouge, La., in as many months, Brennan refuses to acknowledge he’s straying away from his pledge. His relationship with the coaches is strong, and he’s even taken on a role as a recruiter for the Tigers.
Lowell Narcisse committed to LSU out of the blue last month, and like Brennan, did so because of his unique and longstanding bond with Cameron. The nation’s No. 5 dual-threat prospect is anxious for the opportunity to compete alongside Brennan to eventually try and succeed incumbent Brandon Harris.
Narcisse’s decision was based on his relationship with the coaches as well as what’s in the best interest of his family. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also a strong fit for the evolving offense and would finally offer the Tigers a mobile threat behind center.
Should LSU retain both quarterback commitments for the 2017 class, that makes you wonder about next year. The team holds a commitment from 3-star Texas quarterback Zadock Dinkelmann, though it’s been all quiet on that front for some time.
Cameron has his sights sets on a number of other 2018 quarterbacks such as Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.) product Jordan Loving and Texas 4-star prospect Jalen Mayden. Loving impressed Cameron during LSU’s most recent high school camp, leading the offensive coordinator to brag that the in-state prospect didn’t miss a throw. Cameron was also a close study of Mayden, the nation’s No. 9 dual-threat prospect in 2018, who should be in attendance for the July camp and could earn an offer then.
It’s highly unlikely LSU secures back-to-back two-quarterback classes, but the current class is in a very good position to stay put, while next year’s remains somewhat up in the air.
Do you see Cam Akers in LSU’s class? (@sauceberry)
There’s a strong chance that he does. The 5-star Mississippi running back has surfaced to the forefront of LSU’s running back wish list for the Class of 2017, and would present the next great running back in the backfield succession from Leonard Fournette to Derrius Guice to Akers.
Last week, Akers informed SEC Country that the Tigers came out of nowhere to make a push for the Magnolia State product. Since decommitting from Alabama, Akers has been on LSU’s campus twice — for the annual spring game in April and again last month for the Bayou Picnic.
Credit running backs coach Jabbar Juluke for spearheading the strong push for Akers. Juluke made amends with Akers’ family and has been honest and open about how badly the Tigers want the running back donning the purple and gold.
Of course, the nation’s No. 2 running back has his choice of where to go to school. LSU is among the top schools included in Akers’ top 10 and will find itself in a real battle with the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and Ole Miss.
He’s intrigued by the notion of succeeding Fournette and Guice, and sharing backfield responsibilities as a true freshman. Early playing time is among the key factors in Akers’ recruitment, as it should be, and with LSU there is a grand opportunity for just that.
Multiple visits to Baton Rouge, La., this spring are a positive sign for where the Tigers are trending right now. Of course, the 5-star back is set to visit both Ohio State and Michigan later on this summer after spending time at Florida State this upcoming weekend. We’re a long way from finding out where Akers will wind up, though. That’s a decision that could come as late as January or even on National Signing Day.
However, it’s important to realize how quickly LSU gained momentum this race. That cannot be overlooked, and neither can the fact that they’ve delivered the message that he could be the future face of their backfield. Consider the Tigers in Akers’ top eight with a long way to go in the recruiting process.
Ole Miss nabbed a pair of commitments from two top Louisiana prospects in Bryan Jones and Josh Clarke. What’s the deal?
There’s more to both of these situations that meets the eye.
Jones committed to Ole Miss in May out of the blue, and it came after months where Cameron and Ed Orgeron courted the 4-star defensive end, dating back to the spring. The Madison Prep Academy (Baton Rouge, La.) product attended the first day of LSU’s most recent camp and clocked a 4.8 40-yard dash in front of the Tigers’ coaches, but left without an offer in hand.
Sources indicate that Jones may be a bit of tweener in LSU’s new 3-4 defense. He may be too big to be a standup linebacker and too small to play defensive end. That leaves Jones with a decision to either bulk up or trim down before he gets further consideration by his in-state team.
Jones is already committed to Ole Miss and felt comfortable enough with the Rebels’ coaching staff in order to make his decision. He’s a prime fit for the Rebels’ defensive line and is a bit unsure as to what his future holds in terms of LSU. Jones was a candidate to procure an offer last weekend, but the fact that he turned in an impressive 40 time and still didn’t receive an offer may have put a damper on the Tigers’ chances with the in-state defensive end.
Clarke followed suit and pledged to Ole Miss earlier in the week. Like Jones, the 3-star outside linebacker did not hold an offer from LSU, but was resolute on earning one at some point this summer.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder from Riverdale High School (New Orleans) is scheduled to attend LSU’s second high school prospect camp next month, but like Jones, he is firm in his decision to settle with Ole Miss. A standout performance in front of the LSU coaches could result in an offer, and subsequently, could alter the direction of his recruitment.
If not, the Tigers’ staff is keen on a number of other in-state and 2018 linebackers that — as it stands today — are ahead of Clarke on the wish list. Class of 2017 prospects such as Dylan Moses, Christopher Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson and Bruce Jordan-Swilling are considered to be top priorities for LSU, and at their most recent camp, a 2018 prospect such as Kyrin Jones and 2019 backer like Byron Guillory represent their future targets.
Still, Clarke has the athleticism and the build to fit in well with Dave Aranda’s scheme and could eventually get the defensive coordinator’s attention if and when he shows out on campus. It’s something to certainly keep an eye on if you’re either an LSU or an Ole Miss fan.
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.