BATON ROUGE, La. — It’s Move-In Day at LSU, with six members of the Tigers’ 2017 recruiting class packing up and moving onto campus before classes get underway on Wednesday.
LSU has six early enrollees relocating to Baton Rouge on Monday, including 5-star safety JaCoby Stevens, 4-star safety Grant Delpit, 4-star dual-threat quarterback Lowell Narcisse, 4-star offensive tackle Austin Deculus, 4-star wide receiver Mannie Netherly and 3-star defensive end Justin Thomas.
Geographically speaking, two commits hail from Texas; the rest are from Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama. However, Stevens and Delpit are both originally from Louisiana — from Crowley, La., and New Orleans, respectively — representing a homecoming of sorts.
Here’s what you should know about these six early enrollees:
High School: Oakland (Tenn.) High School
Recruitment: Stevens originally committed to LSU as a junior, but reopened his recruitment amid rumors of Les Miles’ unstable job security. Georgia emerged as the favorite in the spring, but named the Bulldogs and Tigers his co-leaders after making a return trip to Baton Rouge during spring practice. Stevens’ recruitment came down to Georgia, LSU, Alabama and Auburn into the summer, but he eventually landed back at LSU thanks to the efforts of defensive backs coach Corey Raymond and GM Austin Thomas.
Impact on 2017 LSU football team: With Jamal Adams heading to the NFL draft and Rickey Jefferson scheduled to graduate, LSU will usher in two new starting safeties in 2017. Xavier Lewis, John Battle and Ed Paris all received playing time this past season, and Eric Monroe and Cam Lewis are preparing to shed their redshirts. Stevens is an all-world talent and should make a push for a starting job, or playing time at the least. He’ll also compete to return punts and kicks, and is expected to have an offensive package installed.
High School: IMG Academy (Fla.)
Recruitment: Delpit added his LSU offer early in the 2017 recruiting cycle. The Tigers were among his leaders along with Texas A&M and Baylor before his recruitment took off during camp season. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Florida State, Southern Cal and Notre Dame all followed suit, but Delpit eventually chose LSU ahead of Florida and Auburn at Nike’s “The Opening” Finals in Oregon. Delpit only officially visited Notre Dame early in the fall, then shut down his recruitment when changes were made to the Gators’ staff. A New Orleans native, Delpit’s commitment to LSU represents a personal triumph for him and his family.
Impact on 2017 LSU football team: Like the situation with Stevens, Delpit will have a chance to garner playing time or a starting role immediately. He’ll room with Stevens and eventually 4-star cornerback commit Kary Vincent Jr. Delpit is a true center fielder and has shades of Jamal Adams’ style in his game. He ultimately should give the upperclassmen a run for their money and will have a chance to put himself in the mix when he participates in spring practice.
Position: Dual-threat quarterback
High School: St. James (La.)
Recruitment: Narcisse committed to Auburn in July 2015, two months after tearing his ACL for the first time before his junior season. At the time, Narcisse was exploding onto the scene as one of the most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. In his first two seasons, he passed for 4,500 yards and rushed for another 1,600 before suffering the injury in front of a host of college coaches, including LSU’s Cam Cameron and Frank Wilson. Naricisse de-committed from Auburn last January as his father was in the hospital. Cameron was a steady presence in Narcisse’s life, which eventually led to him committing to the Tigers. The 4-star Louisiana native remained solid until changes were made to the staff, leading to a brief de-commitment before landing back with LSU.
Impact on 2017 LSU football team: With Matt Canada on board as LSU’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, there will be an open competition to determine who gets the nod behind center in 2017. As an early enrollee, Narcisse has a leg up on fellow quarterback commit Myles Brennan, but will have to beat out veterans Brandon Harris and Danny Etling, as well as Justin McMillan and Lindsey Scott Jr. Narcisse is expected to be 100-percent healthy after a second torn ACL by the time spring practices roll around. If he can absorb Canada’s playbook quickly, he should put himself in the running to be the starter.
Position: Offensive tackle
High School: Cy-Fair (Texas) High
Recruitment: Deculus committed to LSU over Alabama and Michigan in May, but it was never even close. Deculus had built an outstanding relationship with former head coach Les Miles and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. How close were they? See here. Once Miles was fired, Deculus certainly wavered. Michigan made a strong pitch for the sought-after offensive tackle, but when the job went to Ed Orgeron, Deculus reaffirmed his pledge to the Tigers.
Impact on 2017 LSU football team: As we saw in the Under Armour All-America Game, Deculus started at left tackle. He was steady, making a couple of key blocks but also got beat a few times by some marquee edge-rushers. If and when K.J. Malone announces he’s returning for the 2017 season, Deculus should have a chance to compete at left guard. Will Clapp should shift to center in place of Ethan Pocic, leaving Deculus to battle Garrett Brumfield and Donavaughn Campbell for the starting gig.
Position: Wide receiver
High School: Crosby (Texas) High
Recruitment: Netherly was a dynamic quarterback for Crosby (Texas) High in 2016, flaunting outstanding speed that intrigued Dameyune Craig over the summer. Netherly should have a chance to put himself on Craig’s radar this spring. LSU’s wide receiver competition also will feature last year’s newcomers in Drake Davis, Dee Anderson and Stephen Sullivan.
Impact on 2017 LSU football team: Netherly is one of two LSU receiver commits, but the only one that’ll enroll early. LSU is certainly in a position to add a third wideout and even a fourth, based on what follows with Racey McMath, DeVonta Smith and Nico Collins. Netherly boasts incredible top-end speed, but will need to sharpen his route-running and hands.
Position: Defensive end
High School: Spanish Fort (Ala.) High
Recruitment: Thomas committed to LSU out of the blue in August, despite offers from Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, among others. Thomas’ father played for Alabama, but held a relationship with former Tigers coach Nick Saban. Ultimately, Thomas carved out his own path to Baton Rouge. Thomas considered his options when Miles was fired, but was locked in with LSU once Orgeron took over as head coach. Tennessee and Arkansas continued to push for the underrated defensive lineman, but his recruitment was long over.
Impact on 2017 LSU football team: LSU is in need of defensive linemen, particularly on the end. The team lost junior Davon Godchaux to the draft, Lewis Neal to graduation and lost out on the Isaiah Buggs sweepstakes to rival Alabama. That leaves Christian LaCouture as the only proven defensive end, with Frank Herron, Deondre Clark, Glen Logan and Rashard Lawrence to round out the depth chart. Thomas will have a chance to learn under guru Pete Jenkins and quickly climb the ladder if he impresses early on.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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