We are halfway through the 2019 recruiting cycle, and the December early signing period is already in sight.
Over the years, mock LSU signing classes have become the norm at SEC Country, and with my time here ending soon, I wanted to provide readers with one more projected class before venturing to new waters.
As usual, June has been an eventful month, with the Tigers nabbing commitments from a handful of defensive backs, a junior college tight end and finding its much-anticipated quarterback in the class. However, some major dominos are still waiting to fall.
LSU is holding tight to a top-3 haul for 2019, with the potential to vault to No. 1 by February. Here are my first round of projections for what’s ahead:
- The pick: Peter Parrish
- Confidence: 100 percent
- Analysis: Parrish camped at LSU for Day 1 of the elite high school camp and within hours, Ed Orgeron could not hold back from offering. After missing out on some of the team’s top 2019 quarterbacks, LSU found a 6-foot-1, 200-pound dual-threat prospect to develop behind Joe Burrow and the underclassmen for the 2018 season. His recruitment is now shut down.
- The pick: Tyrion Davis, Noah Cain
- Confidence: 60 percent
- Analysis: Davis has been locked in to LSU for about a year and John Emery Jr. is slated to make his commitment on July 7. LSU is one of a handful of top options for the 4-star running back, along with Mississippi State, Alabama, Michigan and Georgia. For Emery, the out-of-state options appear more likely. That doesn’t mean that the LSU staff will give up on the state’s top back. However, it does mean that Tommie Robinson will go full throttle on Cain, a Baton Rouge native, who is waiting until December to make up his mind.
- The pick: Trey Palmer, Devonta Lee
- Confidence: 70 percent
- Analysis: LSU has always held an edge when it comes to Palmer, the 4-star speedster who was offered by former coach Les Miles prior to his sophomore year. Palmer may not announce his decision until February, but is a candidate to commit earlier. Lee is a different case, and he is being pulled in a lot of different directions. LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M are all pushing hard for the 4-star athlete, but should he choose to play offense, consider the Tigers one of the top landing spots. Lee, too, is expected to announce his decision in February.
- The pick: TK McClendon
- Confidence: 95 percent
- Analysis: LSU found its tight end for the Class of 2019 at its elite camp over the weekend. McClendon is an athletic 6-foot-5, 255-pound pass catcher who impressed the staff with his blocking and moving in space. A Georgia native, McClendon gives the Tigers a legitimate pass catcher to work into the rotation next spring.
- The pick: Kardell Thomas, Anthony Bradford, Charles Turner, Thomas Perry, Ray Parker
- Confidence: 75 percent
- Analysis: First-year offensive line coach James Cregg has laid the groundwork for an excellent haul. The team holds commitments from the state’s top two linemen — Thomas and Perry — who have both shut down their recruitments. Bradford is a great addition as a hybrid right tackle or guard, and Turner gives LSU some versatility at center. It would not surprise me if Parker committed this summer or during the season. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound North Louisiana native is being courted as a tight end, but eventually could grow into a big-time tackle. Ole Miss has been the Tigers’ biggest competition, but LSU’s early overture and a longstanding relationship with Steve Ensminger should pay off.
- The pick: Ishmael Sopsher, Joseph Evans, Byron Young
- Confidence: 35 percent
- Analysis: After a rather large haul of defensive linemen in the last class, expect LSU to take three to replace its projected starters (Rashard Lawrence, Breiden Fehoko and Ed Alexander). Evans is the early commit of the group, while Sopsher remains the prospect sitting atop the Tigers’ board. A 5-star prospect, the staff views Sopsher as the heir to Lawrence, who by trade was a tackle but has since seen his stock rise as a 5-technique. Additionally, after missing out on a few Mississippi prospects, expect LSU to make a play for Young, who is a 4-star end that can line up at multiple positions.
- The pick: Donte’ Starks, Marcel Brooks, Kendall McCallum
- Confidence: 55 percent
- Analysis: I feel very strongly that LSU signs both Starks and Brooks, but less confident that Zach Edwards, a native of Starkville, Miss., sticks with his early pledge. The Tigers have cemented their spot in the pole position for Starks, the state’s top linebacker, who is expected to commit on July 8. Brooks made the calculated choice to pick LSU and I don’t expect him to waver. Edwards very well could stick, but the odds may be against that. That opens the door for McCallum to take his spot down the road.
- The pick: Derek Stingley Jr., Dreshun Miller, Marcus Banks, Maurice Hampton, Cordale Flott, Chester Kimbrough
- Confidence: 65 percent
- Analysis: Stingley, Banks and Miller all committed to LSU over the summer, joining Hampton in the Tigers’ future secondary. Flott, a one-time Auburn verbal, flipped to give LSU five defensive backs heading into July. The staff would love to add a sixth defensive back — preferably a cornerback — by December. Raydarious Jones and Kimbrough, two long, athletic cornerbacks, both camped at LSU and impressed Corey Raymond. Jones sits atop the Tigers’ board, and the staff is prepared to turn up the heat on Kimbrough. For now, I lean toward Kimbrough taking the final defensive back spot in the class.
- The pick: Quentin Skinner, Cade York
- Confidence: 100 percent
- Analysis: Skinner committed to LSU a year ago and York followed suit during the joint LSU-Tulane camp in New Orleans in May.