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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Room is getting tight in the Tigers recruiting class, with just a handful of scholarship spots remaining for what appears to be a wide range of blue-chip targets.
We’re at 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:
Dylan Moses committed to Alabama. Does LSU try to sway him to de-commit or does LSU just move on? (@BwhinsOld)
In a way, both.
Dylan Moses was a priority target for the Tigers, sitting atop their big board for some time. The linebacker position as a whole was of utmost importance, which is why the coaching staff has not been accepting commitments since the start of the season.
Moses’ surprise commitment to Alabama on the final day of his official visit blindsided most of the LSU coaches, players and even other recruits. From this point on, expect LSU to continue to court Moses. LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, area recruiter Corey Raymond and interim head coach Ed Orgeron should all play key roles.
Remember that Aranda has been Moses’ lead recruiter during his last few visits to campus, discussing Xs and Os and what the 5-star linebacker’s role would be once he arrived at LSU. Raymond is Moses’ cousin and was on the phone with him as soon as he got wind of his pledge to rival Alabama. Orgeron made a few visits to IMG Academy to check on Moses this spring.
Those are three significant relationships LSU will have to lean on to try and sway Moses back to Baton Rouge. However, the major obstacle is securing a visit.
Moses has cleared his schedule for the remainder of the fall. He’s nixed the remaining four official visits and plans to shut down his recruitment until he can enroll in January. The odds are against LSU to try and lure him.
If the coaching staff is able to earn a visit, I’d give them a decent chance to try and sway him in another direction.
What LBs do the Tigers realistically have a shot with now that Moses has moved on? (@Loyal2_LSU)
Let’s imagine Moses is really done with LSU. This doesn’t change too much in regards to the recruits the team is targeting. If anything, it only puts more pressure on the coaching staff to land these other priority linebackers.
Keep in mind that LSU expected a three- or four-linebacker haul in 2017. The Tigers already hold a commitment from 4-star Livonia (La.) linebacker Patrick Queen, so this will be a position of emphasis on National Signing Day.
Here are the linebackers LSU will be courting from here on out:
- 4-star OLB Christopher Allen
- 4-star WDE/OLB K’Lavon Chaisson
- 4-star OLB Levi Jones
- 4-star ILB Will Ignont
- 4-star WDE/OLB Markaviest Bryant
LSU has gained a lot of steam with Allen, a Baton Rouge native, since July. The 4-star recruit is very close with Aranda and special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto, and was being courted in the same role as Moses. Chaisson was at both of the LSU prospect camps, as well as multiple recruiting functions this spring. Viewed as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker like Arden Key, LSU faces stiff competition from in-state powers Texas and Houston, as well as Oklahoma. Jones made a spontaneous visit to Baton Rouge over the summer and has quietly been very high on LSU. However, like Chaisson, both Texas and Texas A&M serve as major threats to LSU’s chances. I’d expect Aranda and Peveto to pursue Jones much more this fall with Moses out of the loop.
Ignont has named LSU a finalist with his decision quickly nearing. Ignont is a middle linebacker who Aranda said has been playing the best of any of the team’s targets. Lastly, Bryant has surfaced as a legitimate candidate since Orgeron was named the interim coach. Orgeron is Bryant’s area recruiter and Bryant was pleased to see him get an opportunity as the head coach.
Additionally, if LSU is only able to reel in three linebackers as opposed to four, here are some other options with how to fill Moses’ spot:
- An additional wide receiver (Justin Jefferson)
- A second running back (Travis Etienne, Cam Akers)
- A tight end
- A fourth offensive lineman (Adrian Ealy)
- An additional defensive lineman
If Ed Orgeron were to stay on as head coach, who would be some big offensive coordinator names LSU could pursue? (chris_baudean)
Perhaps I’m being a prisoner of the moment, but didn’t interim offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger find the magic formula last week against Missouri?
For what it’s worth, Ensminger’s play-calling resulted in LSU’s best-ever offensive output in a SEC game. That’s got to carry some weight.
Nonetheless, things can change on a week-to-week basis. And even if Ensminger does enough to earn the job on a full-time basis, does that preclude LSU from making a sexy hire for its offensive staff down the road?
I have two names that are sure to invoke a reaction:
- Lane Kiffin, Alabama offensive coordinator
- Art Briles, former Baylor coach
I’m a bit doubtful that Kiffin would accept anything other than a head coaching job next year, so if it isn’t an offensive coordinator position, why would he make a lateral move from Alabama to LSU?
Well, we’ve seen the back-and-forth between Kiffin and Nick Saban on the sidelines of games early on this season. It’s also worth noting that Kiffin, the former head coach of Southern Cal, employed Orgeron as his defensive line coach. The two have a great relationship and there might be a desire to work with one another again.
On top of that, Kiffin has recruited the state of Louisiana quite well, and along with Dameyune Craig, Jabbar Juluke and Corey Raymond, would be another invaluable recruiter to add to the staff.
Briles is certainly a polarizing figure in the football world. I don’t think LSU would give him consideration as a head coaching option, but perhaps it would as an offensive assistant. Off-the-field issues aside, there is no doubting that the former Baylor head coach is one of the brightest offensive minds in the game today. I’m curious if that alone would warrant consideration as an assistant coach at LSU — even if it’s in the same capacity that Steve Sarkisian, Southern Cal’s former head coach who battled his own off-the-field issues, now holds at Alabama.
What’s the deal with Tom Herman and Texas? (@serrient_Bell)
Well, there’s nothing to worry about … at least, not yet.
Herman, Houston’s head coach and one of the leading contenders to be in the thick of the LSU coaching search, has not only been contacted about the Tigers’ pending vacancy but one that might also pop up at Texas, should the Longhorns part ways with Charlie Strong after three seasons.
Texas dropped a shootout with Oklahoma State last Saturday and is 2-2 this season. Yes, that’s the same record that cost Les Miles his job at LSU.
It should come as no surprise that Herman is being linked to the Texas job already. After all, he already resides in the Lone Star State. He recruits the same territories and will be coveted by the Texas fan base, just as he is by that of LSU.
Texas’ 2-2 mark is a result of what’s being described as a “bad fit” in Austin. Strong, who like Herman is an Urban Meyer disciple, is a defense-oriented head coach. His philosophy is to play stout defense up front and pair that with a dynamic run game, which is not exactly conducive to the Big 12 style of play.
Herman, Meyer’s former offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Ohio State and a grad assistant at Texas from 1999-2000, has done wonders coaching the likes of Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and, now, athlete-turned-quarterback Greg Ward.
It’s becoming apparent in the college football world that Texas wants Herman. Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen. After all, the team wanted Saban a few years ago. How did that turn out?
With LSU heading to The Swamp, who on the team would be most and least useful when constructing a shelter … like “Survivor?” (joecipollone)
Good question, Joe, and well done on keeping our “Survivor” theme going well into the fall.
LSU travels to The Swamp with Hurricane Matthew approaching. The storm is being touted as a Category 4 hurricane that by Friday morning could bring 110 mile-per-hour winds through the Sunshine State. It remains to be seen whether there’s a carryover into the LSU-Florida noon ET kickoff.
This makes your question about the MVP of shelter construction all the more interesting.
Here’s a list of top candidates for that prestigious honor:
- Leonard Fournette, RB
- Maea Teuhema, OL
- Tre’Davious White, DB
Basically, it’s a random assortment of players, but give me a chance to explain.
Fournette actually lived under the Claiborne 90 bridge in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. That basically makes him the No. 1 contender, given his experience in that unfortunate situation, but coming out stronger than he went in.
Then there’s Teuhema, LSU’s sixth man as it pertains to the offensive line. That versatility to play either left or right tackle, left or right guard, and do so at random stints throughout the game has to bode well for his chances. Plus, Teuhema boasts uncanny strength. That’s got to go a long way in this.
Lastly, let’s throw White into the mix. The senior standout in LSU’s secondary has been a force on defense and special teams this season and is the veteran voice of the group. Those kind of intangibles are vital to leading a construction project, even more so if there’s inclement weather taking place.
For what it’s worth, I’m not even going to delve into “least useful” candidates. If I have to name them, then they’re going to be voted off during the Tribal Council anyway.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
Follow Sam Spiegelman for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tiger Stadium.