Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Four-star DB Derek Stingley Jr. was one of several LSU visitors last month.

LSU recruiting: Tigers improve position with key targets after July visits

LSU has laid the foundation for a top-10 recruiting class in 2018. Over the next few months, the coaching staff will attempt to add a final couple of pieces that puts this collection of talent into “elite” territory.

The Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class — which is up to 19 commitments — ranks No. 11 in the country. There’s room for seven or eight more additions.

Each Friday, SEC Country will review the week that was in LSU recruiting. That includes an overview look at the current commitments, the top remaining targets on the board and what could be in store next for the Tigers.

LSU recruiting: Where it ranks

LSU’s 2018 recruiting class ranks No. 11 in the country and No. 4 in the SEC, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

The Tigers hold 19 commitments. It breaks down to seven 4-star recruits and 12 3-star recruits.

The week that was

  • The Tigers suffered a major blow to their 2018 class by losing long time 4-star defensive back Nadab Joseph. The Miami area prospect has been pressed to flip by UGA, Alabama and Florida State in recent months and finally reopened his recruitment. SEC Country examined what’s next for Corey Raymond and LSU’s pursuit of defensive backs in 2018 and beyond.
  • LSU hosted one-time commit Derek Stingley Jr. for an unofficial visit at the end of July, a return visit to Baton Rouge for the in-state 2019 prospect. What’s clear is LSU and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond have refused to slow down recruiting Stingley, who updated the status of his recruitment.
  • Sleeper Louisiana tight end Geor’quarius Spivey added three big offers this summer, including one from LSU after a standout performance at a June camp. The Northern Louisiana product is down to three and has a commitment date in mind, and spoke about it here.
  • Justin Watkins is one of the nation’s top uncommitted athletes. The one-time LSU commit made his first visit to Baton Rouge in July and had a chance to connect with the Tigers’ coaches. Watkins is down to three schools — or maybe two — and updated where LSU stands.
  • With the issues popping up around LSU’s offensive line, 4-star commit Dare Rosenthal was asked about the possibility of switching from defensive to offensive line. The 6-foot-7, 330-pound commit provided a clear answer here.
  • Alabama and Florida offered 3-star LSU defensive line commit Nelson Jenkins this spring, but neither SEC schools hosted the Plaquemine (La.) High School standout for a visit. Why has Jenkins remained so loyal to LSU? He explains it here.
  • Five-star Houston cornerback Anthony Cook unveiled a final three of LSU, Ohio State and Texas. That came as a bit of a surprise, but nonetheless, the Tigers find themselves in a strong position with one of the nation’s premier uncommitted defensive backs. We detail LSU’s chances and what Cook is prioritizing during his recruiting process.
  • Dantrieze Scott may be a sleeper in LSU’s 2018 class, but the 3-star athlete projected to be an edge rusher broke down what spurred him to commit in June. Additionally, he gave an update on where he stands in his verbal pledge.
  • Top New Orleans defensive back Joseph Foucha trimmed his list of top schools from 15 to seven, but made one huge addition. That, of course, was LSU, which offered the nickel safety during June’s camp.
  • Alabama edge rusher Andres Fox has narrowed his top schools list down to four — LSU, Stanford, Auburn and Alabama — and a decision could be coming soon. The 3-star pass rusher has a private leader and provided some hints as to which school it could be.
  • Top 2019 Louisiana running back John Emery Jr. was not supposed to make any unofficial visits at this juncture in his recruitment, but his father made the exception for LSU. That visit left a lasting impression on the elite rising junior.

Current commits

Kelvin Joseph, 4-star DB

Jarrell Cherry, 4-star EDGE

Davin Cotton, 4-star DL

Chasen Hines, 4-star OL

Damone Clark, 4-star LB

Kenan Jones, 4-star WR

Dare Rosenthal, 4-star DL

Chris Curry, 3-star RB

Micah Baskerville, 3-star LB

Jaray Jenkins, 3-star WR

Travez Moore, 3-star EDGE

Cole Smith, 3-star OL

Cameron Wire, 3-star OL

Zach Sheffer, 3-star TE

Nelson Jenkins, 3-star DL

Tae Provens, 3-star RB

Ar’Darius Washington, 3-star DB

Ja’Quon Griffin, 3-star DL

Dantrieze Scott, 3-star EDGE

Top uncommitted targets

Terrace Marshall Jr., 5-star WR (Bossier City, La.) — Marshall made a second unofficial visit to LSU in as many months last Thursday and again brought his entire family. Marshall was high on his relationship with the LSU coaching staff, but added it will come down to how the Tigers offense looks in the fall. LSU is sure to get one of his five official visits. As will Texas A&M, Texas and Miami. Alabama, Florida State and TCU are in the mix for the fifth. A decision will come Dec. 22.

Patrick Surtain Jr., 5-star CB (Plantation, Fla.) — The nation’s No. 1 corner returned to LSU with his father last month. They toured through campus and got an up-close look at the academic offerings. Surtain also spent quality time with current LSU players, most notably Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II. Surtain has named LSU as his leading school, but a commitment won’t come until later in the fall or closer to National Signing Day. He is LSU’s top defensive target on the board.

Anthony Cook, 5-star CB (Houston) — LSU holds commitments from three defensive backs in the 2018 class and is pushing hard for Surtain to be the final piece, but that has not stopped defensive backs coach Corey Raymond from dialing up the pressure on Cook. Cook was high on LSU after making a visit for the Tigers’ spring game and has been in touch with LSU every day since. Cook included LSU in his final three along with Ohio State and Texas, leaving Clemson and Notre Dame on the outside looking in. Cook will make an official visit to Baton Rouge and warrants a spot in this class.

Justin Rogers, 4-star QB (Bossier City, La.) — Louisiana’s No. 1 quarterback committed to TCU on May 31, but that has not deterred the LSU coaches from continuing the press for Rogers in recent weeks. While Rogers is entrenched with the Horned Frogs, he is keeping an open mind toward the Tigers and the new-look offense. Rogers is an early enrollee, so if LSU were to get back into the race it would need to impress the dual-threat prospect quickly. LSU is unlikely to take a quarterback in its 2018 class that isn’t named Justin Rogers.

Harold Joiner, 4-star RB (Birmingham, Ala.) — After jumping out to an early lead then being excluded from his top six, LSU again finds itself in a strong position to land a commitment from Joiner. The 4-star tailback was deterred away from the Tigers after they procured commitments from three running backs at the end of June, but Tommie Robinson has worked hard to repair the relationship and put LSU in a strong position to add Joiner to the class sometime this fall. Joiner will officially visit LSU on Oct. 14 and UCLA the weekend after. Joiner should be the final running back in LSU’s 2018 class.

Kamryn Babb, 4-star WR (St. Louis) — LSU has been pushing hard behind the scenes for Babb, one of the best wide receivers in this year’s class. The Tigers increased their efforts after Ja’Marr Chase popped to Florida, but were unable to get Babb and his family onto campus this summer. Babb will use an official visit to get to LSU, but the Tigers face stiff competition from Ohio State, the prohibitive favorite.

Luke Ford, 4-star TE (Carterville, Ill.) — Ford made a visit to Baton Rouge on the final day of the team’s elite high school camp in June. While Ford has named Alabama as his leading school, he indicated LSU was bunched into that second group of schools he is considering. Ford left his LSU visit impressed with the atmosphere and the coaching staff. LSU is likely behind schools such as Alabama and UGA in the race for Ford.

Ja’Marr Chase, 4-star WR (New Orleans) — Chase made a surprising decision to commit to Florida after attending Friday Night Lights last month, but LSU has refused to turn its efforts down on the in-state wide receiver. Chase and his family were supposed to visit Baton Rouge in the week following his commitment but opted not to go due to some backlash from the Gators coaching staff. There is confidence on the LSU side it can get Chase into this class, though the 4-star wide receiver has seemed to be leaning on his out-of-state options.

Michael Thompson, 4-star DL (St. Louis) — Thompson included LSU into his final five schools after making a visit to campus for junior day in the spring. Thompson and his mother received the red-carpet treatment from Ed Orgeron, which made a strong impression on the blue chip defensive tackle. Thompson is beginning to make more visits as the fall approaches and an official visit should be in the cards to LSU at some point during the season. Missouri is considered the favorite to land the in-state prospect, but LSU may be the top option if he chooses to head out of state.

Devonta Jason, 4-star WR (New Orleans) — Jason has been committed to Kansas since February, but a final decision won’t come until December before he graduates and enrolls early at the university of his choosing. The elite in-state receiver has made one visit to LSU this summer and enjoyed a sit-down meeting with Orgeron and Mickey Joseph. LSU has been working hard behind the scenes to get Jason back onto campus and will likely host him for a number of games this fall. If the Tigers’ offense impresses, they stand in a strong position.

Lawrence Keys III, 4-star WR (New Orleans) — Keys has named LSU as his leading school and could be close to making a decision. He made an unofficial visit to Baton Rouge in the week leading up to the Dead Period and got a better blueprint for how he would fit into the LSU offense. Next up for Keys is getting onto campus along with his mother, who is playing an integral role in helping her son make an informed decision. Don’t be surprised if Keys pops to LSU after making an official visit in the fall.

Badara Traore, 4-star OL (JUCO) — The No. 1 junior college offensive tackle remains a priority for Jeff Grimes and the Tigers coaching staff, as they look to fortify the offensive line once K.J. Malone graduates after the 2017 season. Traore has made one official visit thus far — to Auburn — but a stop in Baton Rouge is expected. Grimes has forged a good relationship with Traore, who could be in line for immediate playing time if he chose LSU. He is in the beginning of the recruiting process, so things are open at this point.

Rafiti Ghirmai, 4-star OL (Frisco, Texas) — Ghirmai named LSU as his No. 1 school in the aftermath of a visit to Baton Rouge for the Tigers’ spring game. Ghirmai was impressed by the academic side of things on LSU’s campus. LSU tried to bring the right tackle to the Bayou for a camp this summer, but instead, he visited Michigan, UCLA, Alabama and Texas, his other top schools. Those in Texas believe he’ll stay home despite his public comments on LSU.

Miles Battle, 4-star WR (Houston) — Battle named LSU as one of his five finalists earlier in the summer, and the Tigers have remained in a strong spot. Battle visited for junior day but has not returned since. He will likely make multiple visits to campus in the fall and should officially visit LSU before making a decision. Ole Miss was a prohibitive favorite for the Houston native, but Hugh Freeze’s resignation has thrown a wrench into the Rebels’ chances. LSU could increase the pressure on Battle depending on their chances with the in-state receivers.

Glenn Beal, 3-star TE (New Orleans) — Beal nearly popped to LSU on several occasions dating back to last summer when he picked up his offer. As his recruitment has taken off, he has relied on patience while going through the process. Beal camped at LSU twice in June, then made stops at Alabama, Mississippi State and Arkansas in July. UCLA and Ole Miss are his other top teams, but the Tigers have remained his leading school. Beal aims to hold off on making a decision until National Signing Day.

Andres Fox, 3-star EDGE (Mobile, Ala.) — LSU cracked Fox’s top-4 schools in July before he conceded Auburn and Alabama were a notch above the Tigers. Fox made visits to Auburn and Alabama in July and also squeezed in a stop to Stanford and LSU, but he opted to delay announcing his commitment, which was originally scheduled for before his senior season. At one point, LSU was in a strong position. Things have cooled on those fronts in recent weeks.

Joseph Foucha, 3-star DB (New Orleans) — Foucha garnered his offer from LSU during the elite high school camp in June and has since returned twice for unofficial visits, including last week before the NCAA’s Dead Period. Once considered an Auburn lean, Foucha is likely to release a top-5 list in the weeks before his senior season. LSU is sure to make the cut. Consider Foucha a go-to option if LSU were to lose Nadab Joseph or Ar’Darius Washington, who have been linked to many schools.

Michael Williams, 3-star ATH (Baton Rouge, La.) — One of the biggest unknowns in The Boot this recruiting class is Williams, who holds offers from both LSU and Alabama, but appears to be undecided in his decision-making process at the moment. Williams camped at LSU at the start of June and drew the attention of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. He also made a stop in Tuscaloosa, Ala., shortly after. Williams made the case as one of LSU’s front seven options to close out the class.

Positional breakdown

QB: 0 (not expected to take a QB)

RB: 2 of 3

WR: 2 of 4

TE: 1 of 2

OL: 3 of 4

DL: 4 of 4

EDGE: 3 of 4

LB: 2 of 2

DB: 2 of 4

Geographic breakdown

Louisiana: 12

Florida: 2

Texas: 2

Georgia: 1

Alabama: 1

Mississippi: 1

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