Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss LSU’s updated quarterback board, which is now short 4-star Texas prospect Grant Gunnell and could include potential new offers.
LSU’s search for a 2019 QB
LSU is not looking for a plug-and-play quarterback in its 2019 recruiting class.
In fact, the team is in a good spot heading into this season, thanks to the addition of Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow, who is the presumptive favorite to nab the job during fall camp. There’s also Myles Brennan, who before Burrow was pegged as the guy, as well as veteran backup Justin McMillan and talented redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse, who’s now fully healthy.
Attrition aside, coach Ed Orgeron is still in need of finding one quarterback in the current recruiting class to pad the team’s depth. McMillan, Narcisse and Brennan all are potential options to transfer. Burrow has two years of eligibility remaining, but a strong 2018 campaign could lead to him declaring for the NFL draft sooner rather than later.
Four-star Texas quarterback Grant Gunnell has long sat atop Orgeron’s board for 2019. Gunnell, who visited twice this spring — including the exclusive elite junior day in late January — has held my Crystal Ball pick since last March. Under Les Miles’ rein, Gunnell was a quarterback former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron liked, but did not offer. When Orgeron took over as coach on an interim basis, he offered Gunnell quickly. During his one-year stint in Baton Rouge, Matt Canada was able to forge a strong relationship with Gunnell, but the then-junior prospect picked Kevin Sumlin’s Aggies.
Last winter, Canada was pushed out at LSU and replaced by tight ends coach Steve Ensminger. Sumlin exited Texas A&M and accepted the same position at Arizona. He brought along offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who was a huge reason why Gunnell picked the Aggies in the first place. Arizona hosted the All-American in May and was able to secure a verbal commitment from Gunnell on Wednesday — before his scheduled visit to LSU for the team’s passing and lineman camp on June 16.
It is unclear whether Gunnell and his St. Pius X (Texas) High School teammates will still attend the camp next weekend.
So, where does Ensminger turn next to find a quarterback in 2019?
Last weekend, LSU hosted its first of six on-campus camps. On Sunday, several notable quarterbacks were throwing in front of the staff, most notably JUCO product Jacob Free. The former Vanderbilt signee was easily the most impressive 2019 passer in attendance. His size, arm and experience could earn him an offer should LSU lose a quarterback to transfer in the next few weeks.
Two dual-threat prospects with LSU offers already in hand include 4-star Oregon product Michael Johnson Jr. and 3-star Florida recruit David Baldwin, who preps at IMG Academy. Johnson included the Tigers in his top group of schools but has yet to visit campus. That could change as early as this summer, should the West Coast prospect take an official visit to Baton Rouge and take a closer look at what’s available. Thus far, he has been linked to Miami, Ole Miss and Penn State, so LSU has its work cut out.
Baldwin also has yet to make his way to the Bayou. His center at IMG is Charles Turner, who committed to LSU in April. The Tigers also are key contenders for 4-star running back Noah Cain, who should be back on campus this month. Baldwin is more than likely to make his way there with his teammates, which looms large toward furthering the team’s chances with the out-of-state target.
That’s the current outlook on LSU’s 2019 quarterback board, but things could take off rather quickly.
LSU will host a passing camp on June 16, which will lure several of the state’s top quarterbacks to campus and give the coaching staff a close-up look at potential new offers. Expected to be there in the No. 1-ranked passer, 4-star recruit Lance LeGendre of Warren Easton (La.).
LeGendre made a visit to Baton Rouge last year for the passing camp, then returned for a sit-down with Canada a month later. LeGendre seemingly was Canada’s pick for an offer in 2019, but that has not trended the same under Ensminger’s watch. However, that could change beginning next weekend, or if LSU can lure LeGendre back to campus for the elite high school camp on June 21-23.
LeGendre is committed to Kansas, but has continued to make visits elsewhere and was open with SEC Country about his interest in the in-state team.
The verdict: LSU has offers out to nine 2019 quarterbacks, six of whom are committed elsewhere. Gunnell was the top guy on the board, but his commitment to Arizona has him out of the mix, again. Sources inside the building have maintained that there is a plan in place, but have been tight-lipped about what that entails.
That has SEC Country thinking that the Tigers’ 2019 quarterback may not have stepped foot on campus yet or has not been offered. In other words, brace yourselves for what should be a wild month of June and an even more interesting summer as the coaching staff looks to make quick evaluations and dial up its pursuit of its next quarterback.
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