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 how the rest of LSU’s 2018 recruiting class will pan out. The Tigers’ group is nearly full, but there are still a certain number of prospects expected to fall into the team’s lap. We project the final pieces of 2018 puzzle.
An overview of LSU’s class
LSU’s 2018 class is up to 22 commitments, which ranks as the No. 3 collection in the country and the best in the SEC, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
LSU is projected to take 26 prospects in this recruiting cycle so there are four spots left to fill between now and National Signing Day. Of course, it is likely that LSU’s recruiting efforts will hit a handful of stumbling blocks in the forms of de-commitments, flips or mutual parting of ways between some recruits between now and then.
The final 4
The term “priority recruit” is often overused. To gain a better understanding of the phrase, consider the situation that LSU is in at this juncture in the recruiting cycle.
A priority recruit has their spot reserved by the coaching staff, meaning they can give their commitment at any point and there is no debate that the program will take it.
With 22 commitments and room for four more recruits to fill up the class, there are three priority recruits that LSU is waiting on. Here’s how we expect the class to finish up:
Glenn Beal, 3-star TE (New Orleans)
Beal, the No. 1 tight end in Louisiana’s 2018 class, has been close to pulling the trigger on a
commitment to LSU dating back to National Signing Day 2017. The 3-star prospect from John Curtis Christian (La.) School has visited LSU more than any other campus this spring and summer and is a candidate to commit every time he steps on the nearby campus.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target expects to commit on National Signing Day. LSU is the prohibitive favorite with Alabama, Ole Miss and UCLA also in his top group. The Tigers already hold a commitment from 3-star Florida tight end Zach Sheffer, who projects to be a Y-tight end in Matt Canada’s offense. Beal is the top name to know to be an F-tight end.
Ja’Marr Chase, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
Ja’Marr Chase did not commit on Monday at The Opening Finals in Oregon. As the decision neared, TCU emerged as the clear-cut favorite for the Archbishop Rummel (La.) High School standout.
Sources on the LSU side believe that even if Chase gives an early commitment to TCU that the Tigers will still be in it until the end. LSU already became one of two finalists for the 4-star wide receiver and was quickly closing the gap leading into the scheduled announcement.
Chase has a spot reserved in LSU’s 2018 class and is a priority target for this coaching staff. The Tigers had to overcome a handful of setbacks in Chase’s recruitment, including former coach Les Miles working him out as a defensive back and an offer that came in February. Still, LSU is a finalist ahead of a decision that Chase said could come as early as next week.
While Chase may commit to TCU, the LSU staff will have an opportunity to pursue him in the fall. His family wants him to play his college football in Baton Rouge and the new-look offense has already garnered his attention. An out-of-state commitment certainly hurts, but does not mean that the chase for Chase is over with.
Patrick Surtain Jr., 5-star CB (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Surtain may be the final defensive commitment for LSU in 2018. The elite cornerback is an LSU
lean, but that has not deterred Florida State and Ohio State from pursuing Surtain over the past few months.
The nation’s No. 1 corner and top-five overall prospect is aiming to give his commitment prior to his senior season at American Heritage (Fla.) or at some point this fall. He sits atop of LSU’s 2018 defensive backs board and has a spot reserved in the Tigers’ recruiting class.
Surtain is likely the final piece on defense, especially in the secondary for LSU this cycle, barring a de-commitment or flip from defensive backs Kelvin Joseph or Nadab Joseph. Surtain is the only true cornerback of this group. Kelvin Joseph is projected to be a safety, Nadab Joseph is projected to play corner and 3-star Ar’Darius Washington will likely play the nickel for LSU.
Terrace Marshall Jr., 5-star WR (Bossier City, La.)
Much of the final pieces of LSU’s 2018 recruiting puzzle center around the offensive side of the ball. Without question, Marshall is the top priority for the Tigers’ coaching staff as they look to transform the passing game under Canada.
Marshall is the No. 1 wide receiver in the country, the top prospect from Louisiana and a top-10 overall recruit for the 2018 class. The 6-3, 195-pound target is down to LSU, Texas A&M, Texas and Miami, but his recruitment is more closely down to the Tigers and the Aggies with a Dec. 22 commitment date already scheduled.
If Chase picks LSU, along with commits Jaray Jenkins and Kenan Jones, Marshall could be the final wide receiver in the Tigers’ 2018 class. There is most definitely a spot waiting for Marshall when he makes up his mind after his senior season at Parkway (La.) High School.
After making multiple trips to Baton Rouge this spring and summer, LSU has put itself in a favorable position with elite wide receiver, who will certainly challenge for playing time as a true freshman.
Who’s next in line?
A brief overview of LSU’s 2018 class includes a handful of prospects that may not wind up signing on the dotted line in December or February.
Here’s a quick look at LSU’s 22 commitments, as of Tuesday.
|Adam Anderson||4-star DE/OLB|
|Kelvin Joseph||4-star DB|
|Dare Rosenthal||4-star DL|
|Davin Cotton||4-star DL|
|Jarell Cherry||4-star DE/OLB|
|Nadab Joseph||4-star DB|
|Damone Clark||4-star LB|
|Chasen Hines||4-star OL|
|Kenan Jones||4-star WR|
|Micah Baskerville||3-star LB|
|Travez Moore||3-star DE/OLB|
|Jaray Jenkins||3-star WR|
|Cole Smith||3-star OL|
|Cameron Wire||3-star OL|
|Chris Curry||3-star RB|
|Zach Sheffer||3-star TE|
|Tae Provens||3-star ATH|
|AJ Carter||3-star RB|
|Nelson Jenkins||3-star DL|
|Ar’Darius Washington||3-star DB|
|Ja’Quon Griffin||3-star DL|
|Dantrieze Scott||3-star ATH|
Here are some things to note about the current state of this class:
- There is no quarterback committed. For LSU, it’s 4-star Justin Rogers or bust in 2018. Rogers committed to TCU over LSU on May 31. A flip is the Tigers’ best shot at reeling in a quarterback in this cycle.
- LSU aims to take at least four and up to five wide receivers. Keep in mind the team added Justin Jefferson to the 2017 class late and secured a transfer from former Texas Tech standout Jonathan Giles.
- Georgia defensive linemen Adam Anderson and Ja’Quon Griffin remain in the class, tentatively, but there is a lot of momentum for each to wind up elsewhere. Sources on the LSU side have maintained that both Anderson and Griffin have been saying the right things about their future in Baton Rouge. UGA and Clemson have emerged as major threats for Anderson, while Tennessee is a likely landing spot for Griffin.
- Tae Provens and Dantrieze Scott, who committed to LSU in June, are being taken as athletes. Provens is projected to play running back for the Tigers. Scott is going to be groomed as a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid edge rusher.
Given the shaky nature of some of LSU’s commitments, there are a handful of other prospects on the board to eventually take their spots in the 2018 class.
Lawrence Keys III, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
As mentioned, LSU wants to reel in at least four and upward of five receivers in its 2018 class. Keys, a top-five prospect in Louisiana for this recruiting class, has maintained the Tigers as his leading school since the aftermath of the LSU spring game in April.
Keys is planning to trim his top schools list to five or six at the end of the summer after making as many unofficial visits as possible before his senior season. A decision could come ahead of his senior year or immediately after. The latter is the more likely option.
Keys is LSU’s top target as a slot receiver and could also fill the role as an athlete in this class. Remember that Provens’ commitment was a bit of a surprise and his recruitment is not completely shut down. Auburn and Tennessee are still major threats to flip Provens and Keys is a top target for the LSU staff in 2018.
Justin Rogers, 4-star QB (Bossier City, La.)
Rogers committed to TCU over LSU on May 31, which delivered a major blow to the Tigers’ pursuit of a quarterback in 2018.
Since then, LSU has shifted its focus onto 5-star Justin Fields and had Carter Bradley camp, but the Tigers have been unable to make waves with Fields and opted not to extend an offer to Bradley.
Both Ed Orgeron and Steve Ensminger remain in contact with Rogers, who has and continues to be LSU’s top quarterback target in the 2018 class. While Rogers is solid in his verbal pledge to TCU, he admitted he is still picking up the phone for the LSU coaches and has not completely shut his recruitment down.
If LSU can squeeze Chase into the 2018 class and with Marshall considered a lean, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Tigers could prompt Rogers to flip. It will certainly not be an easy task. The staff has work to do and the offense must impress Rogers, but all things considered, Rogers is the most realistic quarterback to land in LSU’s class. Otherwise, the team will likely use that scholarship for another position.
Devonta Jason, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
Perhaps the most polarizing recruitment in Louisiana and maybe the country in 2018 has been that of Jason. The 4-star wide receiver and top-150 overall prospect committed to Kansas at the start of the recruiting cycle and has not wavered much since then.
While Jason has maintained he is solid to Kansas for much of the spring and summer, he is still listening to pitches from LSU, Mississippi State, Georgia, Notre Dame and Florida State, among others. The 6-3, 218-pound wideout is expected to make a final decision in December before he enrolls early.
The first phone call that Mickey Joseph made when hired as receivers coach by LSU was to Jason. Joseph lured Jason to campus for an unofficial visit and he had a sit-down meeting with the entire coaching staff, including Orgeron, while there.
If the Tigers offense impresses in 2017, it could make things much more interesting. Jason has a desire to play his college football close to home. Remember, Jason is a one-time LSU commitment. The new push from this coaching staff has renewed Jason’s interest in the program.
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