Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss the news and notes from Day 2 of LSU’s elite high school prospect camp, including a commitment from a 2019 quarterback and tight end, and several other notable new offers.
Tidbits from Day 2 of LSU’s elite camp
BATON ROUGE, La. — A very quiet Day 1 of the annual LSU elite high school prospect camp was followed by a very busy Day 2.
The Tigers secured their much-needed quarterback for the Class of 2019, 4-star Alabama dual-threat Peter Parrish, and discovered their tight end from the junior college ranks, TK McClendon. They also witnessed a seismic shift on their defensive back board, getting a rival commitment on campus for a workout and dishing out a notable new offer to in-state cornerback Chester Kimbrough.
Coach Ed Orgeron and his staff also began to make their mark with numerous in-state prospects in the 2020 recruiting cycle. A handful of new offers went to some wide receivers, defensive linemen and defensive backs as LSU prepares to hit the ground running with a talented crop of juniors.
Here’s the latest news and notes from Baton Rouge:
- Parrish worked out for the LSU staff during the Thursday session and left town without an offer. Originally, the plan was to evaluate the Alabama 4-star quarterback and compare him with the passers in attendance on Friday and Saturday. Multiple members of the staff felt strongly about the performance that Parrish turned in, and rightfully so. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder displayed a strong arm throwing downfield and was extremely impressive with his accuracy, especially on the run. After Parrish’s family hit the road for Knoxville, Tenn., to attend camp there, Orgeron called the quarterback around 7 a.m. Friday morning, informing him he had an offer. Parrish committed a few hours later, securing his spot in the 2019 class. It’s worth noting that the majority of the 2019 quarterbacks offered by LSU are dual threats — or at least pocket passers with some mobility. We have yet to see what Steve Ensminger’s offense will look like in 2018, but by bringing in Joe Burrow, it’s clear mobile quarterbacks will have a chance to make plays with their arms and their legs. Parrish fits the bill, too. One prominent FBS coach told Orgeron he believes Parrish “is the next Michael Vick.” That high level of praise should not be taken lightly. With Burrow in place for 2018 and possibly 2019, Parrish may emerge as his heir apparent.
- McClendon was the surprise commitment on Friday as he made the 2-hour trip from Copiah-Lincoln Community College for the afternoon camp session. The 6-5, 255-pound tight end was extremely impressive in workouts, showing off strong hands and deceptive speed. He caught the attention of tight ends coach John Decoster, as well as Orgeron, who extended the offer on the spot. McClendon gives the Tigers an athletic pass-catching tight end, which is expected to be a wrinkle in Ensminger’s offense. The spot is also a need: Foster Moreau graduates after this season.
- McClendon’s commitment does not impact LSU’s pursuit of Ruston (La.) High School tight end Ray Parker, who visited with the staff on Friday. Parker, a 4-star tight end, remains a priority and will continue to be recruited at the position, though at 6-4 and 270 pounds, he is shaping up to be a tackle. Parker did not work out, but was in and out of the facilities throughout the afternoon and could put on gear for workouts on Saturday. A commitment could come by the end of the weekend, sources suggested.
- There has been a serious shake-up in the Tigers’ 2019 defensive back board. Currently, the team holds commitments from 5-star cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., 4-star cornerback Maurice Hampton and 3-star cornerback Marcus Banks, but the finish line is nowhere in sight. LSU worked out a number of talented defensive backs Friday:
- Isaiah Rutherford, 4-star cornerback, Carmichael, Calif.
- Trikweze Bridges, 4-star safety, Lanett, Ala.
- Chester Kimbrough, 3-star cornerback, New Orleans
- Cordale Flott, 3-star cornerback, Saraland, Ala. (Auburn commitment)
- Raydarious Jones, 3-star athlete, Horn Lake, Miss.
- Dreshun Miller, 4-star cornerback, Eastern Arizona College
- With three defensive backs on board, look for LSU to take up to six in the 2019 class. Of course, the team only reeled in one safety in 2018 and expects to lose at least three members of the secondary after the 2018 season. One coach compared Stingley to former LSU great Patrick Peterson. In other words, he’s deemed a plug-and-play prospect to quickly replace Greedy Williams. Behind Stingley, the staff is very high on Jones, who has played quarterback for his high school team, but shined in defensive back drills on Friday. One coach compared the 6-2, 170-pound cornerback to Williams.
- LSU extended an offer to Kimbrough, who is in the mix as the No. 2 or 3 cornerback in the state. Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and Florida already have made their move on the New Orleans native, but an LSU offer is expected to shake up his recruitment. In speaking with Kimbrough, this offer has not been taken lightly. Expect Corey Raymond and Mickey Joseph to begin intensifying their pursuit of Kimbrough.
- Additionally, Flott, an Auburn commit, began his official visit by working out in front of the staff. He caught Raymond’s attention rather quickly, and there is a lot of momentum in the Tigers’ corner. Sources on both the LSU and the Auburn side expect Flott to flip his commitment to LSU by the end of the weekend.
- One final defensive back to track is Miller, a junior college prospect who could come in and compete for playing time immediately. Miller was one of the top performers during the morning session and returned to campus in the evening to sit down with the coaches. There is growing confidence on the LSU side that Miller commits to the Tigers by the time he returns to school or not too long after that.
- Four-star running back Noah Cain was in attendance for the first part of camp Friday and watched the campers work with running backs coach Tommie Robinson and LSU Director of Player Development Kevin Faulk. Cain drew a good chunk of attention from Robinson and was a keen observer of all the coaches interacting with the players. LSU remains a major player for the Baton Rouge native, who will return to campus Saturday with his father.
- Other notable running backs in attendance were 4-star LSU commitment Tyrion Davis, 4-star 2020 back Ashaad Clayton and another 2020 tailback, Kyle Edwards. All three showed flashes, and Edwards could be inching closer to an offer. Expect the staff to evaluate his performance and potentially offer him in the next few days.
- The nation’s No. 1 linebacker, Nakobe Dean, made his way to Baton Rouge along with Jones, his teammate, and 2020 tight end Jakivuan Brown. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda spent most of the day chatting up Dean, a 5-star prospect with a 4.7 GPA who sits atop the team’s board. The Tigers are making a concerted effort to make a strong impression on the Horn Lake (Miss.) High School prospect by landing not only one, but ideally two from the Magnolia State.
- A pair of Tangipahoa Parish targets made the decision to visit LSU — and not Alabama — on Friday, a significant ripple from what was expected for the weekend. Four-star receivers Trey Palmer and Devonta Lee were on hand for the early part of the day, conversing with other notable recruits on campus. In talking to those close to the blue-chip prospects, it’s clear that Palmer is a heavy LSU lean who may not even wait until Signing Day to make his commitment. Lee, on the other hand, is torn between the Tigers and the Crimson Tide, according to a well-placed source. In other words, visiting LSU instead of Alabama on Friday is nothing to look past. The same goes for 5-star Amite (La.) tackle Ishmael Sopsher, who camped with the LSU staff last weekend. The source indicated that Texas A&M is a bigger threat to LSU, but the in-state program has long held an edge with Sopsher.
- All four of LSU’s offensive line commits camped with James Cregg during the Friday session, including Ohio native Charles Turner, who’s on a three-day visit, and Michigan native Anthony Bradford. They joined 5-star guard Kardell Thomas and 3-star tackle Thomas Perry, who are both in-state residents. The rather colossal quartet demanded attention with their size and athleticism. Thomas, who’s a viral sensation, worked out alongside Bradford, a projected right tackle. The two were light on their feet, but packed a powerful punch in 1-on-1s. Turner gives LSU an athletic center with room to pack on some good weight. He moved well and should develop nicely under Cregg.
- The LSU staff made some notable new offers in the 2020 class: 4-star wide receivers Kayshon Boutte and Jakhi Douglas, 4-star defensive lineman Jaquelin Roy, 4-star athlete Joel Williams and cornerback Bud Clark. Boutte, Williams and Clark all worked out in front of the staff at previous camps, so their performances this weekend finally convinced the staff it was time to offer. Boutte was offered at receiver, but also has the ability to play on defense. Keep in mind the Tigers expect another four-receiver haul in 2020 and currently hold two commitments. Douglas is a prospect Orgeron has been eyeing for a week after catching wind of his 4.4-second 40-yard dash during the Southern camp last week. Once Alabama offered Douglas on Monday, there was pressure on LSU to follow suit. Orgeron, however, has viewed Douglas as a premier playmaker and had passing game coordinator Jerry Sullivan shadow him on Friday. The staff has monitored Roy for months, and after he received offers from Texas, Texas A&M and Alabama, it felt compelled to offer as soon as it could get the lineman back on campus. He’s a prospect who could commit much sooner in the process. Williams and Clark were offered at defensive back, as the LSU staff looks to get ahead in the 2020 cycle. Both cornerbacks are 6-2 with frames to grow into, a trait Raymond loves in his young prospects.
- Marcel Brooks returned for Day 2 of the elite camp and suited up for action. The 6-3, 200-pound LSU commitment saw action as a nickel safety and was coached up by Aranda and safeties coach Bill Busch. Looking at his frame and athleticism, it’s unclear what position he’ll play in Baton Rouge. By trade, he’s a projected outside linebacker, but he moved fluidly at safety and covered some of the top slot receivers in the camp. During positional drills, he looks like a jumbo-sized cornerback. Watching his film, however, Brooks excels with his tenacity and ability to not only cover, but make plays in the backfield. Whether it’s safety, linebacker or some combination of both, Aranda is adding a versatile weapon to his defensive arsenal.
- Three-star Mississippi linebacker Zach Edwards made his way back to campus. Since committing during a junior day in March, the out-of-state commitment has returned for the spring game and for camp. Aranda worked closely with Edwards, who had his fair share of ups and downs during testing and in the 1-on-1 workouts. There always has been doubt about whether a prospect who resides in Starkville, Miss., will stick with LSU. Expect some clarity on that situation in the next few weeks with 4-star linebacker Donte’ Starks and 4-star athlete Christian Harris both expected to make decisions before the end of the summer.
- Speaking of Harris, the University Lab (La.) prospect returned to campus along with Roy and 3-star running back Mike Hollins. That’s two visits for Harris in as many days, and on Friday, it included a photo session in the LSU locker room. Texas A&M and Alabama are also major players for Harris, who elected not to work out, but the staff has spent plenty of time in his ear. One source confirmed that Harris will be a take for the Tigers if he continues to postpone a decision, which could work to LSU’s advantage as the linebacker board reshuffles.
- One more name to keep in mind is IMG Academy (Fla.) 4-star linebacker Mikel Jones, who’s a hybrid outside backer/safety. At 6-2 and a shade over 200 pounds, Jones moved well on his feet in coverage and brings a lot of athleticism. He doesn’t hold an offer from LSU yet, but could be in the mix to earn one after Aranda evaluates his camp film.
- Expect some big names on campus Saturday for the final camp session, most notably 3-star Texas tailback Darwin Barlow, a potential No. 2 back in this 2019 class. Of course, LSU’s sights are set on Cain, who will also be on hand, and 4-star back John Emery Jr., but Barlow already holds an offer and presents a perfect complement to Davis. Additionally, Texas 4-star 2020 receiver DJ Williams will return for the first time since earning an offer at the LSU spring game. The top-200 junior is a candidate to commit, should the coaches urge him to. Keep in mind that the team holds commitments from two 2020 receivers — both of whom are out-of-state — and has offered three in-state wideouts.
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