1/26/15 5:40 am CST
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Good morning, Tiger Fans,
With just a little over a week before National Signing Day, I’ve been hearing from an ever-growing number of you who are concerned about whether LSU’s 2015 football recruiting class will meet team needs. Those of you who’ve followed this site for a while know that I believe what makes a recruiting class successful is not how highly it finishes in the team rankings, but rather how well it meets team needs. So far, LSU’s class has addressed its needs at running back, cornerback and wide receiver very well, and has also done a great job of securing the state’s top talent. In that regard, it has already been successful. But in order for this class to be considered great, there are three remaining “positions of need” that need to be addressed. These include defensive end, linebacker, and offensive tackle. I know what some of you are thinking: “What about quarterback?” Well, LSU has a commitment from one QB (Justin McMillan) and entertained another this weekend, Torrance Gibson. I would like to see LSU get a commitment from Gibson or take in a transfer, but I think it’s unlikely. One reason for that is because LSU has a commitment from Felipe Franks for 2016 and is also hot on the trail of Shea Patterson, one of the state’s Top Prospects for 2016. With that said, below is a list of a few DE, LB and OT targets that could transform this year’s class from very good to great.
DE Arden Key (6-5, 230, Lithonia, GA)
Key might be new LSU D-line coach Ed Orgeron’s best chance at making a huge splash in this year’s recruiting class. LSU feels good about where they stand with Key after he was blown away by his visit a week ago, but since that time he has visited South Carolina (where he was once committed), and next week Auburn will get his last visit. Key will announce his decision on Monday, February 2, two days before Signing Day.
DE CeCe Jefferson (6-2, 275, Glen Saint Mary, FL)
Along with Key, Jefferson is another prized target being recruited by new DL Coach Ed Orgeron and new Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele. Right now, it appears that Ole Miss and Florida lead for his signature, but that could change this coming weekend when LSU gets his final visit.
DE Prince Tega Wanogho, Jr. (6-8, 250, Elmore, AL)
This is the young man from Nigeria who has made a huge splash on the recruiting trail despite having only played four months of football, and then recently broke his leg in a basketball game. Things have been happening at a whirlwind pace for Wanogho ever since his high school received his transcripts from Nigeria and reclassified him from the class of 2016 to 2015, and so far he has only had a chance to take two official visits - one to LSU and another to Tennessee. Wanogho is scheduled to visit Auburn next week and probably won’t sign with any school until a couple of weeks after National Signing Day. I suspect LSU will not sign the full allotment of 25 on NSD in order to save a place for him.
There are also a couple of in-state DEs that LSU has shown interest in, but has not yet offered. They are Reggie Walker (6-3, 230, Ponchatoula, No. 25 on our list of Top LA Prospects, currently committed to Kansas State) and Joe Anderson (6-4, 240, Riverside Academy, No. 27 on our list). Also, one DE prospect who is apparently off the board is Dylan Jackson of Tennessee. Yesterday he committed to Stanford.
LB Leo Lewis (6-3, 225, Brookhaven, MS)
Just as Key represents Coach Orgeron’s best chance at making a huge splash in this year’s recruiting class, Lewis is probably the best chance for new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to prove his recruiting prowess early on. Lewis, once committed to Alabama, already had a good relationship with Steele, and the Tigers will be looking to capitalize on that when they host him on his last official visit this weekend.
Lewis is currently the only linebacker I know of that LSU is actively recruiting, but I’m hoping there are others. One “fallback” possibility could be Louisiana’s own Arthur McGinnis (6-2, 225, Warren Easton, No. 19 on our list), although he doesn’t currently hold an offer from LSU.
OT Toby Weathersby (6-4, 295, Houston)
Weathersby visited LSU this weekend and I’m hoping to hear how his visit went today. LSU, Arkansas and Oklahoma appear to be his top three, and his last visit will go to Houston.
OT Chidi Valentine-Okeke (6-6, 305, Ludowici, GA)
Like Prince Tega Wanogho, Valentine-Okeke is Nigerian-born, and the two are said to be interested in playing at the same school, but this doesn’t appear to be a “package deal.” Both visited LSU a couple of weeks ago, and all indications are that the visits went very well. Where Valentine-Okeke ends up could play a part in influencing Wanogho.
So how do I think this class finishes? As it stands right now, my guess is that on Signing Day LSU ends by signing three of the players listed above, plus a safety (either Jamal Peters or Justin Reid), and maybe in-state wide receiver sensation Derrick Dillon or Daylon Charlot. That would give LSU 24 signees and room to add Prince Tega Wanogho if he should decide to be a Tiger. The word is that Tega is in no rush to make his decision and could wait a couple of weeks after NSD before signing with any school. However, I’ve done this long enough to know that recruiting is very “fluid” and could change at any moment, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few names come and go this week.
While on the topic of recruiting, a lot of you have asked me if I have information on the upcoming Recruiting Bash. I posted the information last week, and I’ll gladly report it again today (see below). I hope many of you will make plans to attend. As usual, my nephew, John, and I will be there (in the free viewing area) posting live updates and handing out copies of our list of Top Louisiana Football Prospects for 2016.
Speaking of our 2016 Top Prospect List list, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on our initial rankings today and tomorrow, so if you know of an in-state D1 prospect you’d like to suggest for the list, be sure to let me know.
In baseball news, LSU held its first informal scrimmage yesterday. The team was divided up into two squads and went at it for four innings. The highlights of the outing were home runs by Jared Foster and Alex Bregman, and the pitching of Jesse Stallings who threw two hitless innings with two strikeouts and no walks. The season will get underway in earnest in just 18 days, and I can hardly wait.
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