Nike’s “The Opening” Finals have come and gone, but the week-long event left a lasting impression.
LSU was well represented in Beaverton, Ore., with seven current commits in attendance and even more targets. That includes a host of 5-star prospects and even more blue-chippers, who had a chance to compete against and develop relationships with some of the Tigers’ 2017 commitments.
SEC Country will take a look at all things related to LSU as it pertains to “The Opening,” including standout performers, the latest buzz along the recruiting trail and what you need to know about the Tigers’ targets moving into the heat of the summer.
Wilson, Moses earn MVP honors
Two of LSU’s most sought-after defensive targets took home hardware after a week of competition in the Pacific Northwest. 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and 5-star outside linebacker Dylan Moses were named the MVPs at their respective positions.
Wilson and Moses both participated in the Houston regional camp in April, and this past week proved that their performances were anything but a flake. All 6-foot-4 and 329 pounds worth of Wilson turned out to be a wrecking ball in the face of some of the nation’s elite offensive linemen that attempted to block him. The athletic defensive lineman rightfully earned the top honor in the country and gave further credence to why he’s the best defensive tackle in the land and the No. 3 overall prospect.
The same goes for Moses, a Baton Rouge, La., native whose pride for The Boot was on full display at the week-long event. The nation’s No. 2 overall prospect flaunted his athleticism in numerous drills, particularly in the 7-on-7 circuit and in individual matchups against some of the nation’s most dynamic running back talents. Moses also posted this photo along with some of Louisiana’s premier 2017 prospects — Todd Harris, Devonta Smith and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. If anything can be taken out of this photo, it’s that the relationships Moses maintained prior to relocating to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., remain important. Edwards-Helaire is an LSU commit and Harris is an LSU lean, so Tigers fans shouldn’t mind seeing Moses continue to foster his ties to Louisiana.
Who’s recruiting who?
As 3-star LSU lineman commit Saahdiq Charles said this weekend, “everyone is recruiting everyone.”
By the way, that includes Charles, who used his both his Louisiana and Magnolia State roots to do some recruiting for the Bayou Bengals. Charles was born in New Orleans, but displaced to Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was accompanied on the trip with fellow Mississippi standout Cam Akers, a 5-star running back that sits atop of LSU’s running back wish list. Charles roomed with 4-star Texas offensive tackle Austin Deculus and got to hang out with current LSU standouts Jamal Adams and Leonard Fournette, but focused much of his attention of the 5-star running back and having him join the Tigers’ already star-studded recruiting class.
Speaking of that, 5-star LSU commit Tyler Shelvin was hard at work, too. The country’s No. 2 defensive tackle spent much of his time in Oregon alongside the top prospect at the position. Wilson, a 5-star defensive tackle from Texas, admitted that not only are he and Shelvin great friends and competitors on the football field, but they are wildly intrigued by the prospect of playing next to each other. LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron has spearheaded Wilson’s recruitment, but Shelvin is playing an equally as important role. The conversation has come — often, for that matter — and Wilson has been impressed by Shelvin’s pitch thus far. That includes the chance to be Freshman All-Americans and help each other thrive along the same defensive line.
LSU’s electric RB commit
Edwards-Helaire was among the first pledges in LSU’s 2017 class, but don’t let his 3-star ranking deceive you. The Catholic High School (Baton Rouge, La.) product has been a standout performer in almost all agility testing, but he’s also thrived when it comes to the football competitions as well.
— Sanjay Kirpalani (@SanjayKirpalani) July 8, 2016
— Sanjay Kirpalani (@SanjayKirpalani) July 8, 2016
The shifty running back joined LSU wide receiver commit Jhamon Ausbon as the top scorers in the Nike Rating last week. That combination of speed and lateral quickness was on display when Edwards-Helaire provided a highlight reel juke on fellow Baton Rouge, La., product in one-on-one running back vs. linebacker drills.
LSU is getting a versatile addition to their backfield in Edwards-Helaire, who plays on the same high school team as Les Miles’ son, Ben Miles, and LSU defensive line pledge Aaron Moffitt. Edwards-Helaire is an electric talent, which got the LSU coaches’ attention last winter when he tore up one of Louisiana’s top defenses in the Division I state championship game. He’s only going to improve in these areas, which gives LSU a bit of a luxury if it can only sign one true running back in its current recruiting cycle.
Brennan among QB standouts
Perhaps no quarterback in the country has made more strides in the past few months than LSU commit Myles Brennan.
The 3-star Mississippi product is severely under-ranked, or at least made the case to be included in that category since his performance at the “The Opening” regional camp in New Orleans and participating in the Elite 11 quarterback competition.
Brennan, who is 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, is only rated as the No. 22 pro-style signal-caller in the country. However, he finished among the 11 best quarterbacks in the Elite 11 competition, then landed in the final six to participate in “The Opening” tournament over the weekend.
The LSU pledge was joined by eventual MVP Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama commit), Dylan McCaffrey (Michigan commit), Sam Ehlinger (Texas commit), Chris Robison (Oklahoma commit) and Davis Mills (Stanford commit). All of those quarterbacks have rated higher than Brennan, who is making a dynamite case at to why he needs to be elevated among the nation’s elite passers.
At LSU’s prospect camp last month, he showed how strong of an arm he has and his pinpoint accuracy. Factor that with the fact he owns numerous Mississippi state passing records that he could easily break again with a strong senior campaign. LSU’s two-quarterback class of Brennan and dual-threat monster Lowell Narcisse gives the Tigers an overwhelmingly bright future behind center.
Delpit’s pledge; what it means
LSU landed a commitment from the nation’s No. 9 safety Grant Delpit pushed its class to 15 pledges.
In Delpit, the Tigers added an exceeding athlete defensive back with exceptional range and a distinct nose for the football. The 4-star talent has garnered attention from most college football powers across the country in recent months, but the LSU coaches were first on the scene. However, Delpit’s natural abilities were on display in Oregon as the elite defensive back received much positive attention for his ballhawking skills and ability to cover a lot of ground.
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) July 9, 2016
Delpit is going to be groomed as Jamal Adams’ successor on the back end of the Tigers defense, and at 6-foot-4 and 181 pounds, will instantly be the tallest defensive back on the roster when he arrives in Baton Rouge, La.
The New Orleans native has since been recruiting others to join him in Death Valley, including 4-star Texas cornerback Kary Vincent Jr., who is expected to make his announcement later in the week. Delpit is close friends with his former high school teammate, Anthony Cook from Lamar High School (Houston), one of the marquee cornerback targets in the Class of 2018. He’s also discussed the prospect of playing alongside fellow Wilson, a fellow Texan, and he will be playing his senior season at IMG Academy, where he’ll be a teammate of fellow LSU targets such as Moses.
If Delpit is going to be his recruiting cap on, LSU has yet another distinct advantage.
LSU’s reign in H-Town
Delpit is the latest Houston-area product to commit to the Tigers, joining the likes of Deculus. Speaking of which, the nation’s No. 8 offensive tackle was another standout performer at the Nike event, and got a chance to show LSU fans what they can expect when he eventually arrives in Baton Rouge, La.
Deculus went toe-to-toe with one of the Tigers’ top outside linebacker targets, K’Lavon Chaisson. Lined up as a left tackle, Deculus used his outstanding footwork and massive arm length to keep the uber-athletic Chaisson from beating him off the edge.
— Sanjay Kirpalani (@SanjayKirpalani) July 9, 2016
That praise cannot be discounted either, as Chaisson — the No. 5 weak-side defensive end in the country — sits very high up on LSU’s linebacker wish list. Deculus and Chaisson did not
Deculus and Chaisson did not leave Beaverton, Ore., with the hardware to represent their performance, but they did provide a preview of what could soon be at LSU. Deculus has been one of LSU’s best recruiters, particularly in the Houston area with blue-chip talents like Wilson, Delpit and Ausbon. Perhaps Deculus’ next task will be talking with Chaisson, who would be a major get for LSU’s recruiting efforts in 2017.
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.