Crunch time is upon us, and the first weekend of official visits in Baton Rouge has the makings of the most important of the LSU recruiting cycle.
LSU expects double-digit visitors to arrive on Jan. 13 and stay through the weekend. Among recruits on campus are important commits and high-priority targets.
There has, of course, been shuffling and cancellations. LSU quarterback commit Myles Brennan and targets Marlon Williams moved their officials to Jan. 20 weekend. Tennessee commits Will Ignont and Cheyenne Labruzza opted not to make their official visits this weekend. Instead, both prospects shut down their recruitment and will stick with the Vols.
Here’s a look at the prospects who will be visiting.
- Marvin Wilson, 5-star DT (Bellaire, Texas)
- K’Lavon Chaisson, 4-star DE/OLB (Houston)
- Todd Harris, 4-star DB (Plaquemine, La.)
- Phidarian Mathis, 4-star DL (Monroe, La.)
- Christopher Allen, 4-star LB (Baton Rouge) *Alabama commit
- Tyler Taylor, 4-star LB (Buford, Ga.)
- DeVonta Smith, 4-star WR (Amite, La.)
- Racey McMath, 3-star WR (New Orleans)
Consider this a time for coach Ed Orgeron and his LSU staff to make their best pitch to priority targets.
LSU hopes to add two more defensive linemen; Wilson and Mathis fit the bill.
Wilson, a 5-star defensive tackle, will return to Baton Rouge and get a chance to get reacquainted with Orgeron, his primary recruiter. This could be Wilson’s final official visit if he does not wind up reconnecting with Charlie Strong in South Florida.
Mathis, a 4-star Neville (La.) prospect, was on hand for several Tigers games, but his official visits to LSU this weekend and Alabama on Jan. 20 are critical to his decision. His choices are down to the Tide and Tigers.
Chaisson is down to LSU and Texas, but Orgeron’s offer to him in June 2015 still carries weight. Chaisson’s family is believed to be pushing for Texas, but a closer look at LSU’s academics could sway them in a different direction. He’ll decide on National Signing Day.
Harris remains the top defensive back on Corey Raymond’s board. LSU hopes to pair him with Grant Delpit and JaCoby Stevens. With Jamal Adams set to play on Sundays and Rickey Jefferson to graduate, Harris will be a key part of LSU restocking its secondary — if the Tigers can outlast Alabama for the 4-star safety.
Allen decided to officially visit LSU this weekend after Orgeron spent the bulk of Thursday going in-home with the prized Alabama commit. Allen,the 4-star linebacker from Baton Rouge, was originally slated to visit Tuscaloosa, Ala., this weekend, but altered his plans after the lengthy visit from LSU’s head coach. Much of this weekend will be about changing the Under Armour All-American’s mind, the emphasis of staying home and the immediate playing time available to Allen.
Smith and McMath are priority targets for the Tigers’ offense. Assistant coach Dameyune Craig spearheaded both receivers’ recruitment, helping the Tigers emerge as a finalist with Smith and the leader for McMath. Smith will bring his family to LSU this weekend. McMath will make his first stop before Texas A&M and Mississippi State, the closest competition.
Taylor is a late addition to the LSU’s official visitors list, but he was on the team’s radar for some time. The 4-star Georgia linebacker is one of several linebackers that the Tigers continue to court, though LSU remains behind Oklahoma and Auburn on the pecking order. Dave Aranda needs to pad the depth in the second layer of his defense and is running out of bodies. Taylor is one of the top uncommitted ‘backers in the country.
- Tyler Shelvin, 4-star DT (Crowley, La.)
- Kary Vincent Jr., 4-star CB (Port Arthur, Texas)
- Edward Ingram, 4-star OL (DeSoto, Texas)
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, 3-star RB (Baton Rouge)
- Aaron Moffitt, 3-star DE (Baton Rouge)
- Tory Carter, 3-star FB (Lee County, Ga.)
- Jontre Kirklin, 3-star ATH (Lutcher, La.)
LSU’s most solid commits headline the wave of official visitors this weekend.
Edwards-Helaire, Ingram and Carter comprise the offensive prospects and will have the first opportunity to get better acquainted with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Edwards-Helaire and Ingram shut down their recruitment, but this could lock up things for Carter, who continues to be pressed by Michigan.
Vincent, Moffitt and Shelvin are the defensive prospects, and both Vincent and Moffitt affirmed they are 100 percent solid to the Tigers. Vincent will be recruiting Wilson and Chaisson, and Shelvin could do the same, particularly with his close friend and fellow blue-chip defensive tackle, Wilson.
However, Shelvin reiterated he is not yet 100 percent to LSU during the Under Armour All-America Game week in Orlando. It appears the 4-star defensive lineman is planning on a future in Baton Rouge. If he is 95 percent, then this weekend could close things out before he makes official stops at Alabama and Nebraska to close out the month.
Moffitt shut down his recruitment after officially visiting TCU in December. He remained solid throughout his recruitment and could play defensive end, linebacker or even tight end next season for the Tigers.
Kirklin was a late addition to this weekend’s visitors. The 3-star athlete will shift to cornerback when he arrives at LSU, and at 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds hehas the frame and athleticism to do so. Raymond remained in constant communication with Kirlin, who played for a two-time Louisiana high school state champion. Kirklin is firmly locked in with the Tigers.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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