Sometimes the best recruiting weekends are not the ones marked on the calendar ahead of time.
That was the case for LSU on Friday and Saturday when the team nabbed back-to-back commitments from two of the nation’s elite wide receivers in as many days.
Other Tigers targets were across the country either adding offers or narrowing down their choices.
Here’s a recap of everything that you need to know about LSU recruiting from the weekend that was:
Tigers score commitments from Ausbon, Netherly
Mannie Netherly narrowed his top schools down to six earlier this month. His plan was always to commit ahead of National Signing Day, most likely during the fall.
However, the 4-star Texas wide receiver committed to LSU late on Friday evening over a bevy of SEC powers, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M.
The one-time Aggies commit had recently made visits to College Station, Texas, and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and did not visit LSU’s campus since early in the spring. Netherly attended LSU’s satellite camp in Houston, where he met privately with coach Les Miles and area recruiter Bradley Dale Peveto, and was conversing with wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig for the bulk of the afternoon.
The 6-foot-2, 183-pound talent has family right outside the Baton Rouge, La., area, which helped LSU’s case as he closely evaluated all of his final schools.
“When I’m there, I get a feeling that this could be a possible place for me,” Netherly told SEC Country earlier this month. “I have family in Louisiana, close to Baton Rouge, so going up there I get to see family and my family can see me, and I know it’s not going to be a problem so it’s like home.”
Netherly is rated as the No. 29 receiver in the Class of 2017. He’s expected to be back on LSU’s campus in July for the second prospect camp. Also expected is LSU’s other new wide receiver pledge, Jhamon Ausbon.
The No. 11 receiver in the class committed to LSU over Texas A&M on Saturday evening after narrowing his choices down to four earlier in June.
The 6-foot-2, 217-pound native Texan also met with the LSU coaching staff during the Houston satellite camps, where he worked out in front of Miles and drew the attention of Craig for the length of the morning practice.
The one-time Baylor commitment was believed to be a Texas A&M lean. After all, Ausbon is close friends with fellow Texas product and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla) teammate Kellen Mond, who is deciding between the Aggies and Auburn soon.
However, LSU won out because of his longstanding ties to the program and the fact that he also has family that resides in Louisiana. When he picked up his offer from the Tigers earlier in the spring, Ausbon called it “his dream school.”
Ausbon is the 14th commitment in LSU’s 2017 class and very likely could be the last wide receiver. LSU also holds a pledge from the nation’s top junior college wide receiver Stephen Guidry, and is expected to only carry three receivers in the signing class.
LSU could make an exception, though, depending on the situation.
The coaches have prioritized 5-star in-state prospect Devonta Smith for the majority of the spring and could make room for the Amite (La.) High School product if needed. The same goes for 4-star Georgia wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman, who recently wowed the staff during his electrifying workouts in Baton Rouge, La., and 3-star New Orleans prospect Racey McMath, who both Craig and area recruiter Jabbar Jukuke spent much of the spring courting.
It is unclear how LSU’s three wide receiver commitments impacts the other wide receiver targets. Alabama and Florida State are the teams to watch with Smith, who was Craig’s No. 1 priority all spring. LSU is in a battle with a host of rival SEC teams for Holloman, most notably Georgia and Tennessee. McMath has long been considered an LSU lean, but opted not to commit after procuring the offer earlier this month as he tries to do the same with Alabama and Florida.
LSU among 4 SEC finalists for Vincent
Kary Vincent Jr. will not be releasing a top-10 schools list. Instead, on July 10 he’ll announce his commitment from the 32 reported offers he holds.
The No. 17 cornerback in the country, Vincent will choose from LSU, Auburn, Florida, Texas A&M, Florida State and TCU, he told SEC Country.
LSU offered the 4-star Texan late in the spring after area recruiter Peveto and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond made multiple stops at Memorial High School (Port Arthur, Texas). The Tigers quickly jumped to the top of Vincent’s list after making a visit to Baton Rouge, La., for the annual Bayou Picnic.
“They’re definitely going to make my cut for the top 10,” Vincent told SEC Country in May. “They’ve done a great job recruiting me so far. It’s the relationship with those guys and my family and the program that they have. Now it’s just me getting a feel for these other schools, as I explore my options and do the right thing.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound defensive back will announce at the same time as fellow LSU target Grant Delpit. Delpit, of course, is the one of the Tigers’ top overall targets for the 2017 recruiting cycle, and along with Vincent are candidates to be the first two secondary commitments in LSU’s class.
July 10 is merely days away and could wind up leading to LSU further bolstering an already impressive recruiting class.
LSU targets, commits add offers from rival schools
LSU cornerback target Tre’ Swilling joined his brother, Bruce Jordan-Swilling, and Alabama commit Alex Leatherwood for an unofficial visit to Southern Cal.
Both Jordan-Swilling and Leatherwood already held offers from the Pac-12 power, and Swilling, and 3-star cornerback, can now say the same.
Swilling reported an offer from Southern Cal after what looked to be a promising visit to the West Coast. If in fact Swilling wants to attend the same college as his brother, USC has made a strong play for the defensive tandem.
LSU is still considered the favorite for the 6-foot, 180-pound corner, but the confidence level continues to wane. Swilling has made several visits to Baton Rouge, La., since the spring and has longstanding ties to most of the Tigers’ coaches. There’s still a lot of time to go in Swilling’s recruitment.
LSU Class of 2018 commit Devonta Jason added an offer from a rival. This one is from former Georgia coach and now Miami’s head man, Mark Richt.
Miami represented Jason’s 13th offer for the rising junior receiver, who is the No. 6 prospect at his position in next year’s class and the No. 3 overall prospect from the state of Louisiana.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound New Orleans native has blown up this spring, earning offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, among others. However, Jason’s pledge remains strong as he delves deeper and deeper into his recruitment.
Louisiana linebacker committed to SEC rival despite LSU interest
Linebacker is one of the positions of utmost importance in LSU’s 2017 class as first-year defensive coordinator looks to add the right pieces to fit his newly implemented 3-4 scheme.
Apparently, Aranda and some of the other LSU coaches believed 3-star New Orleans linebacker Josh Paul was a strong fit.
Paul, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound talent from De La Salle High School (New Orleans), was courted by LSU and asked to come for visits and prospect camps, but Paul turned them down.
Instead, he received attention from Arkansas area recruiter Michael Smith before deciding to commit to the Razorbacks last week.
“LSU tried to get him to camp, and he just didn’t go,” Paul’s high school told WholeHogSports.com. “I was in contact with them multiple times to get him up there.”
Paul opted not to attend LSU’s camps because of team obligations. De La Salle lost a heavy load of seniors from last year’s team, and the linebacker felt he was needed for workouts.
Paul’s coach told the site that he linebacker held 32 offers — not including one from the in-state Tigers — which is why he flew a bit under the radar.
LSU holds a commitment from 4-star in-state linebacker Patrick Queen and is high on a number of other prospects across the nation, most notably Jordan-Swilling, Dylan Moses, K’Lavon Chaisson and Christopher Allen. Paul could have been among the staff’s top targets and might have reeled in an offer once the staff saw him compete in person.
Now the staff will have to prepare to play against him on Saturdays.
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.