LSU hosted another double-digit guest list of visitors for the weekend of Jan. 20-22.
Following the 15-member guest list on the first weekend of January, the Tigers’ staff welcomed several important commits back onto campus and even more high-profile priority targets for official visits. Additionally, a highly coveted linebacker made his way to Baton Rouge for a late unofficial stop.
LSU opened the weekend with 20 commits in the 2017 recruiting class following wide receiver Racey McMath’s early decision to become a Tiger.
Here’s where those other recruits stand with eight days left until National Signing Day:
Jacob Phillips, 4-star LB
Phillips has been one of the most discussed topics of the past few weeks, so let’s lay everything on the table.
Phillips, his mother and father traveled from Nashville to Baton Rouge, and did so on their own dime. That alone should verify the talented inside linebacker’s interest in the Tigers, despite being long committed to Oklahoma.
Because it wasn’t an “official visit” — and I say that because LSU did everything it its power to give the feel of one — he did not have a host. He did, however, spend a great deal of time with fellow area recruiter and LSU safety enrollee, JaCoby Stevens, who trained with Phillips the past couple of years.
LSU GM Austin Thomas, Phillips’ primary recruiter, also spent a lot of time with Phillips and his family. The coaching staff made it glaringly obvious how badly they want the 4-star linebacker in this recruiting class.
It’s now on Phillips to make the tough decision — to flip? To stay put with the Sooners?
Sources close to the situation believe a flip could be the move. His talks with the LSU staff were received very well. It’s a matter of digesting it all, and then making the most informed decision.
However, LSU sources are still extremely confident in their chances. Phillips was close to pulling the trigger this weekend. At least, that’s the sentiment he expressed outwardly at various times throughout his time in Baton Rouge.
Earlier this week, SEC Country learned it was a 50-50 chance that a flip could happen. LSU should have been able to move the needle — at least slightly — to put Phillips over the edge and land the prized linebacker.
Willie Gay, 4-star LB
Michael Divinity Jr. hosted the talented Mississippi linebacker, who reported a “wonderful” time at LSU this weekend.
“It went perfect,” he added, on his time in Baton Rouge.
Gay spent the bulk of his weekend alongside LSU commit Patrick Queen and the aforementioned Phillips, and one source on hand told SEC Country that it’s likely all three linebackers wind up there.
It cannot be overlooked that Gay, Phillips and Queen forged a very tight bond over the weekend. These are three of the best linebackers in the country, and three is the ideal haul that the Tigers’ staff is looking for. The three are tight off the field, and there’s a case to be made that it would translate well on the field.
“I feel like it’s meant to be,” one source told SEC Country on the possibility of Gay landing at LSU.
Another source confirmed this — and more — stating that Gay was passing along the message that he was LSU-bound. That, of course, remains to be seen, especially given how difficult it is for rival schools to poach prospects from other states. Think about how difficult it is for Georgia, Tennessee or Florida to land commitments from Louisiana when LSU is in the mix.
From these impressions, I find it highly likely Gay becomes a Tiger.
Markaviest Bryant, 4-star DE/OLB
Arden Key hosted Bryant for the weekend, a week removed from hosting K’Lavon Chaisson for his official visit.
Key got the opportunity to show around another BUCK linebacker target in Bryant, who entered the weekend leaning toward Georgia and Auburn, but left with a sense that LSU could be in the mix.
After all, Bryant himself concedes that he — at 6-foot-4 and 226 pounds — is a near-spitting image of Key, who measures up at 6-foot-6 and 238 pounds. Furthering that point, both hail from Georgia and were recruited by Ed Orgeron.
Bryant has often pointed out that he learned more from Orgeron at LSU’s July prospect camp than any other coach in the country. The proof is there, looking at what Key developed into under Orgeron’s tutelage. That is certainly attractive to “Big Cat” as well.
A source close to Bryant stated that LSU may be the surprise team to watch in this.
Bryant had a great time in Baton Rouge — better than he anticipated — and has developed strong connections with the staff. That includes both Orgeron and outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson, who visited Bryant in Georgia during the December contact period.
That source insisted LSU is in the mix and that Big Cat “couldn’t stop talking about Coach O.”
Bryant has been to Alabama and Georgia. He’ll head to Arkansas for a mid-week visit before finishing off his January slate at Auburn, his No. 2 school.
It appears that LSU made up ground — in a big way — and that we may be in for a true surprise come Feb. 1.
Myles Brennan, 4-star QB
Brennan was hosted by Danny Etling, and there is little reason to believe this official visit did not go as well as it could have.
The current starting quarterback to perhaps the future at the position spent a good deal of time with the LSU coaches and other recruits, most notably some of the offensive teammates he’ll be on the field with in the coming years.
Brennan is as solid to LSU as any commit in the class, and his lone official visit should be deemed a success.
“It was amazing,” Brennan told SEC Country. “It was the best time I have ever had in Baton Rouge and my whole family was there, so it was definitely one to remember.”
Patrick Queen, 4-star LB
Devin White hosted Queen for his official visit, and the two had an instant connection.
White, the new face of the Tigers’ linebacking corps, provided a lot of insight on his switch to the position full-time after last spring. Like White, Queen is shifting from playing running back, linebacker and safety at Livonia (La.) High to being a linebacker for LSU.
That relationship aside, Queen was impressed by what he saw on campus between the players interacting with each other and their relationships with the coaches.
“What really opened my eyes was how the players act with each other,” he told SEC Country. “Everybody’s real close with each other.”
Queen spent a good chunk of time with both Gay and Phillips, the two premier linebackers LSU is hoping to add along with Queen. He was encouraged by the weekend with those two.
On the state of his recruitment — well, it’s been shut down since Christmas Eve. This only furthered that sentiment.
“I’m really happy about the decision,” Queen said. “Wouldn’t rather be a part of any other system.”
Saahdiq Charles, 4-star OL
Newly enrolled lineman Austin Deculus hosted Charles this weekend. The two are great friends and spoke often throughout the recruiting process.
For those concerned about Charles’ signing day plans and the broadcast on the NFHS Network, this should put it to rest.
Charles spent a good chunk of time with Orgeron and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. The 4-star lineman called his conversations with Coach O very encouraging.
Among the topics discussed were early playing time, if Charles can grasp the playbook quickly. Additionally, getting into the weight room and possibly taking summer classes were brought up.
Stephen Guidry, 4-star WR
D.J. Chark hosted Guidry this weekend, and the visit went a long way in solidifying the 4-star wide receiver’s commitment to the Tigers.
Guidry did not make any other official visits since committing to LSU. In fact, he canceled his visit to Mississippi State a week ago.
The junior college standout discussed playing time and academics with the coaching staff. Both are of critical importance, too, considering Guidry is one of the more polished receivers in the Tigers’ class, and only Chark is proven among LSU wide receivers.
Grades plagued Guidry earlier this year, resulting in his de-commitment in early October. He has since righted the ship. That keyed the second offer in December and his subsequent commitment back to LSU.
Guidry was told by the LSU staff that he’s expected to be a big help to the offense this season. Additionally, he stated he’s very, very confident in his decision to stick with LSU into signing day.
Neil Farrell, 3-star DL
A week after hosting 5-star Texas defensive lineman Marvin Wilson, Greg Gilmore hosted Farrell this weekend.
Farrell, one of the more underrated recruits in the 2017 class, enjoyed his time back in Baton Rouge along with his mother. The coaches were trying to seal Farrell up in the class, discussing things such as life after football and how quickly he could see the field.
The 3-star tackle is being offered to play either inside or outside — his preference. Farrell played defensive end in a 3-4 front for Murphy (Ala.) High this past season, but at 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, has room to tack on weight with his frame.
Farrell visited LSU a week after flying out west to Southern Cal and before he heads to Florida State the weekend prior to National Signing Day. USC remains in the mix, but Florida State presents the biggest challenge to Farrell sticking in LSU’s class.
Consider this …
As a freshman, Farrell walked through the halls cheering on the Seminoles. When he landed that offer during a prospect camp this summer, it carried plenty of weight. If there is a team that will push the Tigers for Farrell, it is most certainly Florida State.
Having said that, Farrell admitted he still loves LSU. His decision on Feb. 1 will come down to those two, presumably, and which university meets his standards, how he fits within plans and which one gives him the “home feeling” he seeks.
LSU does, but can Florida State do the same?
One theory: perhaps Wilson’s decision impacts either the LSU or Florida State staffs. If Florida State does not feel confident in its chances with Wilson, perhaps it shifts its focus to Farrell on the final weekend of January. If LSU is feeling less confident with Wilson, could that lead to another in-home stop with Farrell before he heads to Florida State?
There are a ton of moving pieces left in this one, and I don’t believe Farrell’s decision is finalized.
Justin Harris, 3-star DL
Harris came and left his official visit to LSU without an offer, but if it comes, expect it to be very close to National Signing Day.
Harris, the 3-star defensive lineman from East Ascension (La.) High, was hosted by New Orleans native Donnie Alexander and Baton Rouge native Derrius Guice.
The biggest and most obvious topic of discussion was his chances of landing in the Tigers’ recruiting class. That issue was talked about with the coaching staff at length during his three-day visit. He holds offers from Purdue and Baylor, and the one-time Central Florida commit would choose from one of those three schools if he had to make a decision today.
However, LSU could jump into the fray late … if it missed on another defensive line target such as Wilson or Phidarian Mathis, or if Farrell made a last-minute flip elsewhere.
Grades are certainly a concern with Harris, but the LSU coaching staff is well aware of that. In fact, similar problems plagued Edwin Alexander a year ago, but the talented 2016 defensive tackle was able to sort it out through summer courses. A similar protocol could be put in place for Harris, if LSU decides it has room for him.
Marlon Williams, 3-star WR
Justin McMillan hosted the Alabama wide receiver, who remains on LSU’s radar leading into what should be a busy signing day.
On the eve of Williams’ visit, LSU landed a big-time commitment from McMath, giving the Tigers a third receiver in their 2017 recruiting class with perhaps one more spot available, depending on how numbers add up by Feb. 1.
Williams is certainly one of the coaching staff’s options.
Williams spent a good amount of time along with fellow Mobile, Ala., recruit and LSU commit Neil Farrell, and got hosted by of the more popular members of the team in McMillan.
Wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig is a huge fan of the one-time USC commit, who would have been a take this weekend if not for McMath’s commitment on Friday. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a viable Plan B if LSU swings and misses on DeVonta Smith or Nico Collins, who both have the Tigers as finalists.
Williams will head to Tennessee right before signing day. Like LSU, the Vols are still in the mix to land the underrated 3-star receiver. As is Southern Cal, Central Florida and Georgia Tech.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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