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 LSU’s six official visitors heading to town as the dead period comes to a close. Among those visiting, three are likely to wind up to the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class.
LSU hosting 6 official visits
The dead period has come to an end and official visits resume this weekend. For LSU, it will be the most crowded group of prospects coming to town in the month of January.
The Tigers signed 21 players during the early signing period in December. They entered the month with 20 verbal commitments before adding kicker Cole Tracy and 5-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. down the stretch. That leaves room for four more prospects before National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
LSU made a splash during the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Game last weekend as 4-star Baton Rouge defensive back Kelvin Joseph re-joined the class. That leaves room for three more prospects to close out the projected 25-player haul.
Here’s a look at who will be coming to town for official visits on Jan. 12-14:
- Patrick Surtain Jr., 5-star CB (Plantation, Fla.)
- Ja’Marr Chase, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
- Mario Goodrich III, 4-star CB (Lee’s Summit, Mo.)
- James Foster, 4-star QB (Montgomery, Ala.)
Sealing the deal with Patrick Surtain Jr.
After competing in the U.S. Army All-American Game last week, the nation’s top 2018 cornerback returned to Louisiana to spend time with his family. Both of Surtain’s parents hail from The Boot and they have family all across the southern portion of the state, from New Orleans to Donaldsonville, La., to Baton Rouge, La.
Surtain has been leaning toward LSU for the last year and a half. In fact, the 5-star cornerback admitted that he’s nearly popped a handful of times in that span because of his relationship with defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. Should that trend continue for one more month, the Tigers will land their highest-ranked cornerback prospect since Patrick Peterson signed with LSU a decade ago. The timing could not be better with both Kevin Toliver II and Donte Jackson already making his NFL draft plans known.
Alabama has emerged as LSU’s biggest threat for Surtain, but with Jeremy Pruitt and Derrick Ansley set to take other jobs, there is more coaching stability on the defensive side of the ball in Baton Rouge. Raymond is staying put as his alma mater and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda just re-upped his contract with LSU for another four years.
Surtain’s first official to LSU this weekend will be followed by a trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala. Raymond will have a chance to seal the deal with the nation’s top cornerback before Nick Saban has his ear on Jan. 19.
3 recruits making critical visits
Chase, Goodrich and Foster are three prospects making visits to Baton Rouge this weekend who are worth keeping close tabs on.
Chase and Goodrich are both candidates to commit by the end of the week, or soon after. Both are leaning toward LSU at the moment and are projected by SEC Country to land in the 2018 class.
Chase, a 4-star wide receiver from New Orleans, has consistently favored his long list of out-of-state schools for the bulk of his recruitment. He committed to Kansas last spring, nearly popped to TCU over LSU at The Opening Finals and made a surprising decision to commit to Florida over the summer. Since de-committing amid the coaching shakeup, Chase has visited Michigan and TCU. LSU will host him and a trip to Auburn will likely do it for the Under Armour All-American.
Chase will have a chance to spend quality time with primary recruiter Mickey Joseph, who is looking to add one more chip to his receiving corps in 2018. Joseph helped LSU to land 5-star Terrace Marshall Jr. and two of the state’s top wideouts in Kenan Jones and Jaray Jenkins. Chase has been a priority for Joseph since the spring and there is no better opportunity to close than now.
Goodrich didn’t pick up his LSU offer until December, but it was followed by an in-home visit from Raymond 24 hours later. Goodrich has since named LSU as his top school and the school pushing for his commitment the hardest. The one-time Nebraska verbal has a long list of official visits scheduled for the rest of January, but it would not be surprising to see Raymond close the deal during Goodrich’s first visit to Baton Rouge this weekend.
Foster is the lone uncommitted quarterback on the Tigers’ board. As of October, when Tommie Robinson offered, LSU emerged as the favorite for the 4-star Alabama target. Florida State and Texas A&M have each extended offers since and Alabama has turned up the heat after missing on Emory Jones, who signed with the Gators in December. This will mark Foster’s first official visit and his inaugural trip to Baton Rouge. LSU will have an opportunity to push its thin depth chart and a new offensive coordinator on Foster, who is leaning toward his other options. If the Tigers miss on Foster, they won’t be signing a quarterback to their 2018 class.
Lawrence Keys III, Joseph Foucha no longer visiting
UPDATE, 11:40 a.m. | Two of LSU’s official visitors will no longer be in Baton Rouge this weekend.
McDonogh 35 (La.) High School standouts Lawrence Keys III and Joseph Foucha will not take official visits for Jan. 12 weekend. Instead, the visit will be the four priority targets left on LSU’s 2018 board: Chase, Surtain, Foster and Goodrich.
Keys, a 4-star wide receiver, will head to Notre Dame on Jan. 19 and to Houston on Jan. 26. It is unclear whether he will take an official visit on Feb. 2 right before signing day, but LSU could try to reschedule the visit for that weekend.
It’s a similar story for Foucha, the 3-star defensive back. He will make his way to Auburn and Ole Miss over the next two weeks, and like Keys, a visit to LSU right before National Signing Day is still up in the air.
With three spots open in the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class, Ed Orgeron and Co. are taking a very cautious approach down the stretch. Surtain, Chase, Goodrich and Foster are the team’s top targets at their respective positions with some combination of the three expected to take the final spots. LSU will host other uncommitted targets in the next few weeks once the aforementioned quartet make their official visits and the coaching staff can get a better gauge on where they stand ahead of their decisions.
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here.