After striking out on top linebacker targets such as 5-star prospect Dylan Moses and 4-star talent Christopher Allen, LSU settled on one of the more underrated inside backer prospects in the country in Monty Rice.
Rice, who was silently committed to Georgia, committed to LSU over the Bulldogs and Auburn on Dec. 12, a decision he told SEC Country was made the Sunday night prior to his Monday announcement.
“I just went with my heart,” Rice said. “I just went with what felt best. Coach (Dave) Aranda is just an awesome dude. I just thought real hard about it. I went where my heart kept coming back to.”
Rice’s high school coach texted a Georgia staffer after the announcement to inform the Bulldogs that his 3-star linebacker had committed to the Tigers.
Now, insert the drama …
Georgia’s commits continue to court Rice. So has the school, a source told Georgia recruiting writer Jeff Sentell. I’ve confirmed as much — that Rice could make his way back into Georgia’s class.
He was once silently committed, so it isn’t such a novel idea. Georgia was the frontrunner for Rice through the majority of his recruitment. Rice made his inaugural visit to LSU on Nov. 19 for the Florida game, then took a mid-week official visit back on Dec. 5.
Nothing has happened … yet. It’s just something to keep an eye on.
If not Rice, then who?
LSU is desperate for linebackers in its 2017 haul.
The Tigers’ staff put all of its eggs in the Dylan Moses and Christopher Allen baskets, and as a result, did not accept commitments from other blue-chip linebackers such as Will Ignont and Jacob Phillips.
Ignont attempted to commit to LSU in July after breaking his silent commitment to Alabama over the summer, but he was not a take … at the time, according to a source.
The same is true for Phillips, who canceled his official visit to LSU on Oct. 1 and committed to Oklahoma a few days later.
Ignont and Phillips are certainly takes for LSU at this juncture. Moses and Allen, both Baton Rouge natives, are committed to Alabama, so LSU is left with a steady commit in Patrick Queen, a shaky commit in Rice and is pursuing K’Lavon Chaisson and Levi Jones to eventually succeed Arden Key as the BUCK.
With Rice possibly wavering and no guarantee to land Chaisson or Jones, LSU is still trying to get a flip in January.
Ignont told SEC Country that he’s left the door slightly open for LSU because he grew up dreaming of suiting up for the Tigers. Aranda has also spearheaded Ignont’s recruitment and I don’t believe Ignont is completely locked in with Tennessee.
Phillips is another interesting name to keep an eye on, I’m hearing.
LSU Director of Player Personnel and Assistant Athletic Director Austin Thomas went in-home with the 4-star Oklahoma commit earlier this month. The Tigers have yet again grabbed Phillips’ attention.
“They’ve got his attention,” a source told SEC Country. “He likes LSU a lot. I’m not sure if they can overtake Oklahoma, but they have a good shot.”
It’s not such a far-fetched concept that LSU could take four linebackers in 2017, if the staff can hold onto Rice and flip Phillips.
LSU’s recruiting class was a marvel as the team made a change at head coach in September.
Still, the Tigers remain solid with 20 commits in the middle of the NCAA’s dead period. The second wave of official visits will get underway in a matter of weeks as LSU looks to bolster its 2017 haul.
Here’s a peek at LSU’s 2017 class snapshot:
LSU recruiting: Where it ranks
LSU’s 20-member recruiting class is cemented as one of the top collections in the country. More impressive: Its national ranking and overall talent still can improve, if and when the Tigers land some of the 5-star talent remaining on their board.
LSU’s 2017 class ranks fourth overall and third in the SEC, trailing only Alabama (No. 1) and Georgia (No. 3).
For context purposes, the Tigers hold pledges from one 5-star recruit (JaCoby Stevens), 11 4-star prospects and eight 3-star players.
The majority of LSU’s 2017 haul is comprised of blue-chip prospects. Even more impressive is that the Tigers are preparing to reel in elite players at key skill positions who will bolster depth at positions of need.
- JaCoby Stevens, 5-star S (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
- Austin Deculus, 4-star OT (Cypress, Texas)
- Tyler Shelvin, 4-star DT (Crowley, La.)
- Grant Delpit, 4-star S (Bradenton, Fla.)
- Kary Vincent Jr., 4-star CB (Port Arthur, Texas)
The Tigers bolstered their wide receiving corps with the addition of Stephen Guidry last Friday.
Guidry, the nation’s top-ranked junior college receiver, originally committed to LSU in May, but was re-offered and recommitted last week after straightening out his grades at Hinds (Miss.) Community College.
Guidry chose LSU over Mississippi State and Arizona State, and is the second receiver embedded in the 2017 class. He joins Mannie Netherly as a candidate to help replace five transfers since last offseason, as well as the loss of senior Travin Dural.
After de-committing from LSU a week ago, Lowell Narcisse ended his recruitment on Monday by again pledging to the Tigers.
Narcisse’s relationship with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada was the difference, as the new quarterbacks coach helped provide the 4-star dual-threat quarterback with a vision for the offense.
Narcisse did not need to wait until the Under Armour All-America Game to commit. He finalized his decision over the weekend and committed Monday, and will be on campus in early January and competing for playing time during spring practices.
Who are LSU’s top uncommitted targets?
Offensively, LSU has pressing needs at skill positions. First and foremost, the Tigers need at least two more wide receivers to bolster the depth chart after losing players to transfer, graduation and possibly the NFL. Then, there is only one running back the team has its eyes on.
- DeVonta Smith, 4-star WR (Amite, La.) — Hiring Ed Orgeron certainly improves LSU’s chances of nabbing 247Sports’ top prospect in the state of Louisiana but count on Alabama to continue to be a factor in the race. LSU has been picking up steam with Smith, who said the team is more intriguing after the coaching change. He’ll officially visit next month before deciding on National Signing Day.
- Racey McMath, 3-star WR (New Orleans) — Dameyune Craig and Jabbar Juluke remaining on the LSU coaching staff is paramount. That seems to be the case, which bodes well for the Tigers’ chances to keep McMath in-state. He’ll officially visit in January and is a fan of Orgeron’s stamp on the program.
- Nico Collins, 4-star WR (Pinson, Ala.) — Craig lured Collins to Baton Rouge for an official visit earlier this month. That relationship carries weight, but is it enough to usurp Alabama’s and Michigan’s lead with Collins? That’s the question. It will take a strong push from Craig to assert LSU into the mix, but the Tigers have until National Signing Day to do so.
- Cam Akers, 5-star RB (Clinton, Miss.) — It’s a race between contenders such as LSU, Ole Miss, Ohio State and Florida State. He’s visited all four and is coming off multiple in-home visits with Orgeron and Juluke. Given the opportunity to play early, LSU is quietly gaining steam in the Akers sweepstakes. The verdict will be in on Dec. 27.
Defensively, LSU still has work to do to bolster its front seven. Defensive line and linebacker remain positions of need leading up to National Signing Day.
- Marvin Wilson, 5-star DT (Bellaire, Texas) — Wilson made a stop in Baton Rouge for the Florida game, then received an all-important visit from Orgeron the first week of the contact period. Wilson remains a top priority for LSU, and the coaching change at Texas certainly could work in the Tigers’ favor.
- Phidarian Mathis, 4-star DL (Monroe, La.) — It is a two-team race between LSU and ‘Bama for Louisiana’s top uncommitted defensive lineman. Mathis, too, has been a regular on the LSU sidelines this fall. Bradley Dale Peveto had led Mathis’ recruitment, which has since been inherited by coach O and outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson. A decision should come between the Under Armour All-America Game and signing day, and LSU may be the team to beat.
- Levi Jones, 4-star LB (Austin, Texas) — Charlie Strong’s dismissal from Texas bolstered LSU’s stock with Jones. Jones has not visited Baton Rouge since July, but the Tigers still are in great shape to add the priority outside linebacker target. An official visit should be in the works.
- K’Lavon Chaisson, 4-star DE/LB (Houston) — Aranda and Chaisson have a fantastic relationship, and Chaisson has been to LSU more than any other school since the spring. LSU was his first offer, but Tom Herman to Texas could make the Longhorns the new favorite in this race.
- Will Ignont, 4-star LB (New Market, Ala.) — Ignont is committed to Tennessee but received a recent in-home visit from Aranda. LSU is working to flip the 4-star inside linebacker, who Aranda said is having one of the best senior seasons of any LSU linebacker target. Ignont said he’s 110-percent solid with the Vols but won’t close the door on LSU.
- Jacob Phillips, 4-star LB (Nashville, Tenn.) — Like Ignont, LSU will attempt to flip Phillips, an Oklahoma commit. The 4-star inside linebacker canceled an official visit to LSU to head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., but things could get interesting after Tigers Thomas made a stop in Nashville to see Phillips.
- Todd Harris, 4-star S (Plaquemine, La.) — Harris is the only remaining defensive back on LSU’s board and is a favorite of both Aranda and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. Harris visited LSU nearly every Saturday this fall and boasts a fantastic relationship with the Tigers’ staff. He’ll decide on National Signing Day, with LSU being the longtime favorite.
Breakdown by position
QB: 2 of 2
RB: 1 of 2
FB: 1 of 1
WR: 2 of 3 (or 4)
OL: 4 of 4
DL: 4 of 5 (or 6)
LB: 2 of 3 (or 4)
CB: 2 of 2
S: 2 of 2 (or 3)
Louisiana (7): Tyler Shelvin, Lowell Narcisse, Aaron Moffitt, Jontre Kirklin, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Patrick Queen, Stephen Guidry
Texas (4): Austin Deculus, Edward Ingram, Kary Vincent Jr., Mannie Netherly
Alabama (3): Neil Farrell, Justin Thomas, Monty Rice
Mississippi (2): Saahdiq Charles, Myles Brennan
Tennessee (1): JaCoby Stevens
Florida (1): Grant Delpit
Georgia (1): Tory Carter
West Virginia (1): Seth Stewart
LSU added commitments from a stud LB, WR and locked in 2 QBs. Is a 5-star RB next?
Talk about all that and more with LSU recruiting writer Sam Spiegelman.
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Posted by LSU Insiders on Wednesday, December 21, 2016
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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