Recruiting: Where we Stand – December

With 21 commitments, LSU does not have much room left in what should be a full class of 25.  Who will get the last few spots?   Here is a run down of the players still left on LSU’s board:

LSU definitely wants to sign a quarterback in this class, and big name out there is Indiana’s Gunner Kiel, thought to be one of the best, if not THE best, quarterback prospect in the nation this year.   Kiel, once an Indiana commitment, has opened things back up.   He has recently taken visits to LSU, Vanderbilt, and Notre Dame and will choose between those three schools.   Kiel graduates soon and will enroll in college in January, so we’ll know his decision shortly.   After taking an unofficial visit to LSU for the Arkansas game, Kiel and his family immediately returned to LSU’s campus for an official visit.   That is certainly a good sign.   He has since visited Vanderbilt and Notre Dame.  LSU definitely has a shot here, but the smart money is that he stays close to home and picks the Irish.  On the field, Kiel is a great fit for what LSU likes to do on offense.  He’s a strong-armed, accurate passer but has enough mobility to keep a defense honest on an occasional zone-read running play or scramble.  

LSU is also still recruiting Mississippi prospect Jeremy Liggins and is considered one of the leaders for his signature.  Many think that Liggins, who checks in at 6’3″ 260 pounds, is better suited for the defensive line.   However, he impresses with his running ability and strong arm.  He has a long way to go before his accuracy is at a SEC level, but you can see the potential.   It certainly seems that Liggins could at least develop into a Chris Relf or Jordan Jefferson type of player.  My guess is that LSU will wait to see what Kiel does before deciding whether to really push hard for Liggins

Another Mississippi prospect, Anthony Alford, continues to be on the radar too.  Alford is a tremendous athlete and doubles as a big-time baseball prospect.  Whoever signs him runs the risk of losing him to the Major League Baseball draft.  Alford has been favoring LSU for some time but if LSU lands someone like Kiel, would they also take Alford?   Senior highlights of Alford are pretty darn impressive.  He’s a great runner, has a strong arm, and shows the ability to hit receivers in stride.   Many question whether he can he do it consistently, or whether he is destined for another position?   I’d love to see LSU find a place for him strictly from a baseball standpoint.  I wouldn’t mind him playing outfied at Alex Box Stadium for three or four years. 

LSU has a commitment from Crowley’s Davante Bourque.  Bourque is a very versatile player whose frame will remind many of former Tiger Richard Murphy.  I believe Bourque is probably best suited for wide receiver or another position, but he’s sold on playing running back and Les Miles is willing to give him that opportunity.  However, LSU is also still recruiting Jeremy Hill, who was a LSU commitment last year before running into some off the field issues.   Reportedly, those issues are now straightened out and Hill may sign with LSU again this year.   Many thought that Hill was the best back in Louisiana last year, ahead of Kenny Hilliard and Terrance Magee.   He would unquestionably be the state’s top running back prospect in the Class of 2012.   Bourque may choose to look elsewhere and explore his options if LSU does indeed sign Hill, so that’s something to watch.  

It appears that LSU is done at the wide receiver position with commitments from Avery Johnson, Travin Dural (pictured), and Kavahra Holmes.   LSU would not mind a bigger receiver to compliment these guys (along with the smaller group from last year), but it does not appear any are available that fit the bill.   Dural had a really outstanding senior season and will be shooting up my SNS Top 21 Louisiana State Rankings that I plan on releasing Monday night or Tuesday.  

LSU is done with commitments from John Thomas and Dillon Gordon.  Thomas suffered a season ending knee injury early in his senior season, so his recovery is something to keep an eye on.  Thomas looks like a complete tight-end prospect while Gordon better fits the role of a blocking tight-end, similar to Mitch Joseph or Keith Zinger.  

LSU is done on the offensive line.  They have commitments from tackles Jerald Hawkins, Derek Edinburgh, and Patrick Miller along with Vadal Alexander who will likely play inside at guard.  This is another great haul on the O-line for Les Miles and staff.  

LSU has zero defensive tackles committed right now, and unless we see a surprise, it’s doubtful LSU will sign one.  I believe LSU wants to sign one, but the quality has to be there.  In the Class of 2011, LSU signed three defensive tackles in Anthony Johnson, Mickey Johnson, and Quentin Thomas.  Both Thomas and Mickey Johnson are redshirting this year and will be freshmen next season.  So if you have a recruiting cycle where you get shutout at the defensive tackle position, then the Class of 2012 is a good time to have it.   

A couple of prospects are on the radar though.  San Antonio’s Javonte Magee looks like the most likely.  Magee’s family is originally from Louisiana, and he holds an offer from LSU.  If LSU can get him on campus for a visit and pushes, they’ll have a shot.  Otherwise, he’s considering Texas, Texas A&M, and Baylor.    Long Beach, Mississippi prospect Nick James remains an outside possibility.  James is committed to Mississippi State and he seems solid with his pledge.  However, he was strongly considering LSU before he made that decision.  James also has some academic and off the field issues that could prevent LSU from recruiting him very hard.  

LSU has Danielle Hunter and Torshiro Davis already on board, even though Davis may play outside linebacker at the next level.   LSU’s staff has beaten the bushes for another elite defensive end in this class.   They have aggressively pursued a lot of the nation’s best such as Noah Spence, Dante Fowler, and Mario Edwards.   However, they did not seem to make much headway with those guys.   Mississippi prospect Channing Ward seems to be the most likely, even though the smart money says that he stays somewhere closer to home in Mississippi or one of the Alabama schools.  

Davis is still flirting with some other schools, mainly Texas.  He visited Austin this weekend for his official visit and while he says he had a great time, he still favors LSU.  

Bastrop’s Denzel Devall, who many projected as a defensive end, recently committed to Alabama.  For whatever reason, Devall never seemed to strongly consider the Tigers.  

LSU already has a number of guys committed at linebacker.  Trey Granier, Ronnie Feist, Lamar Louis, and Deion Jones give LSU four commitments.   As mentioned above, Torshiro Davis may play linebacker as well.   And LSU is still recruiting others.  Patterson’s Lorenzo Phillips is high on the list, and it sounds like he’ll end up in LSU’s class.   LSU is also recruiting South Bend, IN prospect David Perkins.   While Perkins was once very high on LSU, things seem to have cooled down, and that could be because Phillips has been gradually leaning more and more towards LSU.  While signing as many as six players in one class at linebacker seems like a lot, remember that LSU signed only one last year (Trevon Randle).   So signing seven over a two year stretch is not out of the ordinary.   Opportunities for earliy playing time exist at just about every spot so these guys will have the chance to see the field early.  I’d expect two or three of the guys signed this year to play next fall and for the rest to redshirt.  That should split up this large group nicely.  

LSU seems set with three cornerback commitments.  Dwayne Thomas, Derrick Raymond and Jalen Mills are all guys personally evaluated by defensive backs coach Ron Cooper. Considering his track record, especially recently, that’s good enough for me.  Raymond is the most intriguing since he has a 6’1″ frame and blazing speed.  If he adds some bulk and learns the proper technique, then he could end up being one of the steals of this entire class.   I highly doubt LSU looks at any other corners for this class.  

Hahnville’s Jerqwinick Sandolph is already on board, and LSU would like one more safety for this class.  That guy, of course, is Dutchtown’s Landon Collins who is the unquestioned top player in Louisiana this year.  Collins is one of the best overall athletes in the entire nation and will choose between LSU and Alabama at the Under Armour All-American Game on January 5th.  As is the case with almost any elite prospect that is undecided in January, the rumor mill has been hot and heavy around Collins.   Many have convinced themselves that Collins is headed to Tuscaloosa.  However, LSU has a number of reasons to feel confident.   He has visited LSU on numerous occasions, as recently as the Arkansas game.  Why continue to do that if your mind is made up?   His family has a strong relationship with LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson.   And Collins has a pair of good friends (Dwayne Thomas and Deion Jones) headed to LSU.  So if you sift through all the BS and look at what we know, then I believe LSU fans should feel fairly confident.  

Special Teams
Deep snapper Reid Ferguson will be a part of this class.  I do not anticipate any other special teams specialists ending up in this class.  

With 21 commitments, it seems that LSU has room for just four more guys.  For now, we’ll assume that all of the current commitments sign with LSU on National Signing Day.   Here is my prediction for how this class finishes out:

22.  QB Anthony Alford
23.  RB Jeremy Hill
24.  LB Lorenzo Phillips
25.  S Landon Collins

If someone like Channing Ward also wants to be a part of the class, I do not think LSU will turn him away.  They’ll instead ask a current commitment to grayshirt.  

Remember to always keep up with recruiting using The Big Board feature, which is linked at the “Recruiting Pages” menu at the top of the home page.  I update it frequently.  And again, I will be releasing my final state rankings for the Class of 2012 either Monday or Tuesday.