Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss the top 12 released by 5-star Class of 2019 defensive lineman Ishmael Sopsher, who was surprised by the uptick in communication from LSU over the past month.
LSU pushing hardest for Ishmael Sopsher
AMITE, La. — You might remember a recruiting update published by yours truly back in June about Louisiana’s top-ranked prospect for the Class of 2019.
Ishmael Sopsher, the 5-star defensive lineman from Amite (La.) High School and No. 2 overall recruit in the class per 247Sports, was taken aback by the lack of communication with LSU. Fast-forward to early October and Sopsher can’t help but laugh.
The 6-foot-5, 282-pound 5-technique is among the most sought-after recruits in the country. When Sept. 1 rolled around and college football coaches were permitted to begin contacting junior prospects, he realized he had been overlooking a major NCAA rule. LSU could not contact Sopsher prior to Sept. 1, so when the clock struck midnight, he was pleasantly overwhelmed by the astounding outreach from the Tigers’ coaching staff.
“Man, when Sept. 1 got here, almost everybody was blowing me up, but mainly it was LSU,” Sopsher revealed to SEC Country. “I didn’t know at the time that they couldn’t call me. I didn’t know about that rule. I was surprised, so when I learned that [we] could start calling me and texting me, it was 12 o’clock that night and my phone started to blow up.”
Clearly, the LSU coaches watched the clock, patiently, for midnight to arrive.
Sopsher was immediately in touch with three members of the Tigers’ staff, including coach Ed Orgeron, outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson and area recruiter Matt Canada. And since Sept. 1, Sopsher has not stopped hearing from the LSU, which is prioritizing the state’s top prospect as it tries to usher in a Louisiana-heavy 2019 recruiting class.
“They were sending me edits. Coach O was on me about how he would love to have me over here. Coach Johnson and Coach Canada — all of them were texting me — so you could say communication picked up once Sept. 1 came,” Sopsher laughed. “They would just love to have me. They tell me that and really Coach O has been telling me he has loved how I’ve been playing and how I’ve been carrying myself around.”
The Tigers have put the full-court press on the 2019 Under Armour All-American but are also recruiting his mother and father.
In addition to immediately touching base with Sopsher, the nation’s top defensive lineman, LSU sent mail to both of his parents. In a way, LSU is after the entire Sopsher family, which has caught the attention of the 5-star prospect.
“I feel like a priority because of how they keep talking to me every day,” Sopsher explained. “They’ve sent my mom a lot of letters and stuff. One time, they sent my mom 20 and my dad 20 letters apiece. That’s important for me — to show they care about my mom and my dad and my family and me, too. That says a lot.”
While Sopsher is in no rush to make a decision — which is expected to be close to or on National Signing Day in 2019 — Orgeron has tried to appeal that he could be the centerpiece of the Tigers’ Louisiana-heavy recruiting class.
The team already holds commitments from 5-star offensive lineman Kardell Thomas and 4-star running back Tyrion Davis and remains in strong position with other notable in-state targets such as John Emery Jr., Derek Stingley Jr., Trey Palmer and Sopsher’s teammate, Devonta Lee. Orgeron is hoping that the bulk of the top prospects in The Boot — and Sopsher included — stays home at LSU.
“Really, LSU is the home team and I know they’re going to recruit me the hardest,” he said. “They want me to stay in-state and he [Orgeron] thinks that it would be good for all the 2019 guys in Louisiana to come over and build a championship team.”
Texas, Michigan added to top 12
Sopsher has released two versions of his top 12. The first came at the end of August. The second was revised and was made public at the end of September.
The biggest difference: Miami and Memphis were replaced by Texas and Michigan, which offered the 5-star defensive lineman recently and began pushing right away. While the top 12 is not set in stone, Sopsher won’t release another list of top schools until this time next fall. That will be a final 5 leading up to his National Signing Day commitment ceremony.
“In the first top 12, I had named Miami and Memphis, but I didn’t really like the communication. Michigan and Texas talk to me like every other day,” Sopsher detailed. As far as the other 10 teams that remained in the top 12: “Those are the teams that are really interested in me. It’s just the communication and how they keep showing that they’re interested.”
“This is my last time updating,” Sopsher continued. “The next time I release a top schools list will be next year around this time and I’ll go ahead and name a final 5. For now, these are my top 12 teams, period, but my recruitment is still open.”
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