Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman.
It’s Friday, and we’re discussing all the news coming out of Baton Rouge after LSU kicked off its annual elite high school prospect camp. That includes tidbits surrounding the team’s top 2018 and 2019 targets, plus some new offers being dished out.
Slade Bolden nearing a decision?
West Monroe (La.) High School athlete Slade Bolden was one of the more polarizing figures at camp on Thursday, making the return trip down to South Louisiana for the first day of camp. Bolden, a 3-star athlete, was offered by LSU early in the spring and visited campus for the Tigers’ spring game.
As for his position, the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder says the LSU staff is courting him as a slot receiver. So he took snaps out wide, in the slot and out of the backfield. The staff would ideally use the explosive athlete all across the formation in order to create mismatches.
Bolden was most impressive against safeties and linebackers, proving the slot is the ideal position for him in Matt Canada‘s offense. He’s a candidate to be taken as an athlete with the idea he can contribute in a multitude of ways.
Canada, wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph and outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson all shadowed Bolden throughout the day. He is clearly a top priority for this staff among athletes and slot receivers.
Bolden aims to put an end to his recruiting process later this summer, ideally ahead of his senior season. LSU is certainly in the mix for the versatile athlete, but TCU is the biggest threat. Yes, that’s certainly a trend in the 2018 class, most notably with North Louisiana prospects. But LSU is in better shape than most people realize.
Nadab Joseph re-connects with Corey Raymond
A year ago at this time, Nadab Joseph earned his offer from LSU and committed at the end of his inaugural visit to Baton Rouge. He returned on Thursday for the first day of a two-day stop back in the Bayou.
The 4-star Miami-area defensive back commit spent the bulk of Thursday in Corey Raymond’s office, re-connecting with the Tigers’ secondary coach. Joseph brought along his guardian for the visit, who stayed in the coaches’ office for the entire afternoon.
Joseph also touched base with fellow LSU defensive back commit Kelvin Joseph and some current defensive backs such as John Battle, who also hails from the Miami area.
While Joseph has made comments about his interest in Alabama and Florida State recently, his relationship with Raymond is the biggest X-factor in his recruitment. On Friday, Joseph will work out for Raymond at corner. Expect Joseph to stick with the Tigers through signing day.
Chris Curry, running backs impress
Curry, who measured up at about 5-11 and 200 pounds, clocked a 4.58-second 40-yard dash. Valentine, about 6-foot and 180 pounds, put up an impressive 4.34. Valentine is a state championship-winning track runner in the 100 meters.
LSU head man Ed Orgeron spent a good chunk of the morning chatting up Curry and his two parents, who made the trek from the Sunshine State to Baton Rouge with him for the two-day visit. Curry is coming off an ankle injury but impressed with his testing nonetheless.
By the end of the night, Curry gave his verbal commitment to Orgeron. Ranked the No. 24 running back in the Class of 2018 by 247Sports, Curry is a violent downhill runner and the first back committed in LSU’s 2018 class.
Valentine also received a generous amount of attention from Orgeron, as well as other members of LSU’s recruiting staff. The Central Florida native was also very high on his first visit to campus.
More backs are expected on hand Friday, most notably Many (La.) High School standout and UCLA commit, AJ Carter.
Ja’Marr Chase, Derek Stingley headline big-name visitors
LSU’s first day of camp drew a ton of visitors.
Among prospects who already hold offers in attendance:
- Ja’Marr Chase, 2018 4-star WR
- Nadab Joseph, 2018 4-star DB (LSU commit)
- Slade Bolden, 2018 3-star ATH
- Chris Curry, 2018 3-star RB (LSU commit)
- Lavonte Valentine, 2018 3-star RB
- Kelvin Joseph, 2018 4-star DB (LSU commit)
- Lawrence Keys, 2018 4-star WR
Other notable 2018 prospects:
- Joe Foucha, 3-star DB
- Dayven Coleman, 3-star S
- Hayden Brice, WR
- Jared Miles, 3-star WR
- Caleb Johnson, 3-star OLB
Some notable 2019 and 2020 prospects with offers:
- J.D. Bertrand, 4-star OLB
- Derek Stingley Jr., 4-star CB
- King Mwikuta, 4-star OLB
- Koy Moore, WR
Other prospects on hand:
- Austin Jones, 2019 DB
- Ray Parker, 2019 TE
- Jamie Vance, 2020 CB
- Andy Boykin, 2020 OLB
- Chandler Fields, 2019 QB
- Frank Wilson IV, 2020 DB
Dave Aranda goes 1-on-1 with J.D. Bertrand
LSU began making a strong push in Georgia in 2017 and did it again in 2018. Could the trend continue in 2019?
One notable Peach State prospect in attendance Thursday was 4-star linebacker J.D. Bertrand, who returned to LSU after visiting for the first time at national junior day in March.
Bertrand, a top-150 prospect and top-15 linebacker in the 2019 247Sports rankings, worked out privately with LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda during the testing portion of camp Thursday. Two visits in a three-month span is certainly something to take seriously as the rising junior kicks off his recruiting process in an interesting fashion.
Obviously, UGA is the favorite to land the Blessed Trinity Catholic (Roswell) High School product. But LSU has quietly inserted itself as a threat for Bertrand, whose return visit to Baton Rouge is noteworthy, to say the least.
Other Peach State prospects in attendance were 2019 linebacker King Mwikuta and 2020 athlete Andy Boykin. Mwikuta and Boykin play for Troup County High School in LaGrange. One of their coaches at Troup County is LSU alumni JC Copeland.
Copeland brought his two stud defenders to camp Thursday. Mwikuta was offered by the Tigers earlier on in the spring. Mwikuta is a top-100 prospect in 2019 and the No. 7 outside linebacker in the class. Boykin worked out with the defensive ends and outside linebackers and also drew attention from Dennis Johnson and Steve Ensminger. At 6-3 and 240 pounds, Boykin is a candidate to rush the passer or play tight end.
Friday guest list
Friday will bring even more visitors into town for the peak of camp. Notable visitors expected on campus include quarterbacks Carter Bradley, Max Johnson and Quentin Gibson — a junior college passer formerly of Shaw; running backs Keaontay Ingram (a Texas commit) and Carter; and tight ends Luke Ford, Glenn Beal and Zach Sheffer. Also expected are LSU commits Kardell Thomas (2019), Cameron Wire (2018) and Chasen Hines (2018).
Southern Lab standouts Damone Clark and Tyrion Davis are expected to camp, too. Two front-seven defenders of note include 3-star edge rusher Andres Fox and 3-star linebacker Jacquez Jones. Class of 2019 cornerback Devin Bush and receiver Trey Palmer should also be there.
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