LSU recruiting was a marvel as the team made a coaching change in September.
Still, the Tigers remain solid with 19 commits in the middle of the NCAA’s dead period. The second wave of official visits are underway in a matter of days as LSU looks to bolster its 2017 football haul.
Here’s a peek at LSU’s 2017 class snapshot.
LSU recruiting: Where it ranks
LSU’s 19-member recruiting class is cemented as one of the top collections in the country. More impressive: Its national ranking and overall talent can improve, if and when the Tigers land some of the 5-star talent remaining on their board.
LSU’s 2017 class ranks 7th overall and 3rd in the SEC, trailing only Alabama (No. 1) and Georgia (No. 3).
For context purposes, the Tigers hold pledges from one 5-star recruit (JaCoby Stevens), 11 4-star prospects and seven 3-star players.
Most of LSU’s 2017 haul is comprised of blue-chip prospects. Even more impressive is that the Tigers are preparing to reel in elite players at key skill positions who will bolster depth at spots of need.
- JaCoby Stevens, 5-star S (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
- Austin Deculus, 4-star OT (Cypress, Texas)
- Tyler Shelvin, 4-star DT (Crowley, La.)
- Grant Delpit, 4-star S (Bradenton, Fla.)
- Kary Vincent Jr., 4-star CB (Port Arthur, Texas)
LSU’s most recent de-commitment came from 3-star linebacker Monty Rice, which added a sense of desperation for the Tigers’ pursuit of linebackers in 2017.
Rice remained in touch with Georgia staffers and many of the Bulldogs’ commitments, and he pledged back to Georgia, where he was silently committed for much of the fall.
That was not unexpected. In fact, SEC Country provided a heads-up on this right before Christmas.
Rice filled a large hole at linebacker, a position of emphasis in the Tigers’ 2017 class. That will be one of the more interesting story lines as official visitors head to Baton Rouge in the coming weekends.
Who are LSU’s top uncommitted targets?
On offense, LSU has pressing needs at skill positions. First and foremost, the Tigers need at least two more wide receivers to bolster the depth chart after losing players to transfer, graduation and possibly the NFL. Then, there is only one running back the team has its eyes on.
- DeVonta Smith, 4-star WR (Amite, La.) — Hiring Ed Orgeron improved LSU’s chances of nabbing 247Sports’ top prospect in the state of Louisiana, but count on Alabama to continue to be a factor in the race. LSU is picking up steam with Smith, who said the team is more intriguing after the coaching change. He’ll officially visit this weekend before deciding on Feb. 1, National Signing Day.
- Racey McMath, 3-star WR (New Orleans) — Keeping Dameyune Craig and Jabbar Juluke on the LSU coaching staff is paramount. That seems to be the case, which bodes well for the Tigers’ chances to keep McMath in-state. He’ll officially visit in January and is a fan of Orgeron’s stamp on the program. He named LSU a co-leader along with Texas A&M earlier this month and sits atop of the Tigers’ wide receiver board.
- Nico Collins, 4-star WR (Pinson, Ala.) — Craig lured Collins to Baton Rouge for an official visit earlier this month. That relationship carries weight, but is it enough to usurp Alabama and Michigan as leaders for Collins? That’s the question. It will take a strong push from Craig to get LSU into the mix, but the Tigers have until National Signing Day to do so.
- Marlon Williams, 3-star WR (Mobile, Ala.) — Williams is emerging as another realistic wide receiver target if a worst-case scenario takes place. That, of course, would mean Smith landed at Alabama, McMath at Texas A&M and Collins at Michigan. Williams de-committed from Southern Cal on Jan. 10 and is scheduled to officially visit LSU on Jan. 20. He’s being recruited by Craig, his area recruiter and wide receivers coach.
- Travis Etienne, 4-star RB (Jennings, La.) — Etienne added an LSU offer on Dec. 27, hours before 5-star Cam Akers picked Florida State over the Tigers. Etienne was Plan B, but the 4-star Louisiana running back and one-time Texas A&M commit might be better suited for Matt Canada’s offense. Etienne will officially visit LSU on Jan. 27, right before he announces his commitment, but could still be in the mix for the Aggies.
Defensively, LSU has work to do to bolster its front seven. Defensive line and linebacker remain positions of need leading up to National Signing Day.
- Marvin Wilson, 5-star DT (Bellaire, Texas) — Wilson made a stop in Baton Rouge for the Florida game, then received an all-important visit from Orgeron the first week of the contact period. Wilson remains a top priority for LSU, and the coaching change at Texas certainly could work in the Tigers’ favor.
- Phidarian Mathis, 4-star DL (Monroe, La.) — It is a two-team race between LSU and Alabama for Louisiana’s top uncommitted defensive lineman. Mathis, too, has been a regular on the LSU sidelines this fall. Bradley Dale Peveto had led Mathis’ recruitment, which has since been inherited by Coach O and outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson. A decision should come before signing day, and LSU may be the team to beat.
- Justin Harris, 3-star DL (Gonzales, La.) — If LSU strikes out on Mathis, Harris will be next up on the board. The one-time Central Florida commitment remained in touch with Orgeron throughout the fall and is keen on the Tigers after a breakout senior campaign. Harris will officially visit LSU on Jan. 20, which could end in a commitment, depending on how LSU feels with its defensive line and edge-rusher targets.
- K’Lavon Chaisson, 4-star DE/LB (Houston) — Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and Chaisson have a fantastic relationship, and Chaisson has been to LSU more than any other school since the spring. LSU was his first offer, but Tom Herman to Texas could make the Longhorns the new favorite in this race. Sources indicate it’s 60-40 in favor of Texas, with an all-important official visit looming large.
- Markaviest Bryant, 4-star DE/LB (Cordele, Ga.) — Like Chaisson, Bryant is being courted as the next Arden Key in LSU’s 3-4 scheme. Bryant will visit LSU on Jan. 20, but that official stop will have to make head waves for the Georgia product, who favors the Bulldogs and Auburn for the time being. However, Bryant boasts a great bond with Orgeron and Johnson, and he admitted LSU has the chance to be his No. 1.
- Jacob Phillips, 4-star LB (Nashville, Tenn.) — As with Ignont, LSU will attempt to flip Phillips, an Oklahoma commit. The 4-star inside linebacker canceled an official visit to LSU to head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., but things could get interesting after Tigers GM Austin Thomas made a stop in Nashville to see Phillips. If Phillips unofficially visits in January, it could spell a flip on the way.
- Willie Gay, 4-star LB (Starkville, Miss.) — The loss of Rice could open the door for LSU to add Gay to its class. Gay has been in regular communication with Aranda and will head to Baton Rouge on Jan. 20. He sees a ton of opportunity at LSU and believes Aranda will develop him to reach his full potential. LSU is confident it can land Gay, but Mississippi State poses a major threat for his services.
- Christopher Allen, 4-star LB (Baton Rouge) — Will Allen make an official visit to LSU? He has one open date — for Jan. 20 — with visits scheduled to Alabama this weekend and Colorado on Jan. 27. The Alabama commit has not yet shut the door on the Tigers, who remain in regular contact with the prized target. The interesting thing here is whether Allen shuts down his recruitment after his return trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., or gives LSU one last opportunity to flip him.
- Nick Smith, 3-star LB (Orlando, Fla.) — In need of linebackers, Smith represents a second-tier option who LSU could try to flip if it strikes out on some of the aforementioned options. A 6-foot-3, 240-pound N.C. State commitment, Smith added an LSU offer on New Year’s Eve. He’ll officially visit LSU for the first time on Jan. 27 and is on Orgeron’s radar as an underrated prospect.
- Ellis Brooks, 4-star LB (Richmond, Va.) — Brooks added his LSU offer on Jan. 3, a day after Rice de-committed. The No. 15-ranked inside linebacker is favoring Maryland, Notre Dame, Michigan and Oregon, but could be intrigued by playing in the SEC. The Under Armour All-American has an impressive tape and the LSU staff is high on him. A visit could be in the cards.
- Tyler Taylor (Buford, Ga.) — The 4-star from Georgia will officially visit LSU this weekend, but the Tigers are behind Auburn and Oklahoma for the inside linebacker prospect. Aranda went in-home with the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder during the December Contact Period, and Taylor could emerge as a realistic target if LSU is unable to flip priority targets such as Allen or Phillips.
- Todd Harris, 4-star S (Plaquemine, La.) — Harris is the only remaining defensive back on LSU’s board and is a favorite of both Aranda and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. Harris visited LSU nearly every Saturday this fall and boasts a fantastic relationship with the Tigers’ staff. He’ll decide on National Signing Day, with LSU being the longtime favorite.
Breakdown by position
QB: 2 of 2
RB: 1 of 2
FB: 1 of 1
WR: 2 of 4
OL: 4 of 4
DL: 4 of 6
LB: 1 of 4
CB: 2 of 2
S: 2 of 3
Louisiana (7): Tyler Shelvin, Lowell Narcisse, Aaron Moffitt, Jontre Kirklin, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Patrick Queen, Stephen Guidry
Texas (4): Austin Deculus, Edward Ingram, Kary Vincent Jr., Mannie Netherly
Alabama (2): Neil Farrell, Justin Thomas
Mississippi (2): Saahdiq Charles, Myles Brennan
Tennessee (1): JaCoby Stevens
Florida (1): Grant Delpit
Georgia (1): Tory Carter
West Virginia (1): Seth Stewart