It’s Alabama week, and Saturday’s the date circled by most recruits as the must-see game of the year in Baton Rouge.
The staff will see the sidelines packed with prospects before the game, a group that includes commitments, uncommitted prospects and a number of the top names in the 2012 class.
15 of LSU’s 17 commitments will be on hand for their unofficial visit, the most that have made it into town at one time this season. The usual suspects – La’el Collins, Jeremy Hill, Anthony Johnson, Jarvis Landry, Alonzo Lewis, Terrance Magee, Ronald Martin, Quentin Thomas, Kenny Hilliard, Trai Turner and Corey White – will all be in attendance.
“It’s time for us to really help close this class out,” said Landry, who has served as an unofficial ringleader of the group. “We have talked about trying to influence some of these big names, so that’s going to be my focus. I want to get on guys like Odell Beckham and make sure that they know how bad we want them here. I feel like it’s only a matter of time with some of these guys.”
In addition, a handful of future Tigers will be making their first trips to Death Valley this fall. Alabama quarterback Stephen Rivers, Mississippi cornerback Jalen Collins, Texas cornerback David Jenkins and fellow Lone Star standout Trevon Randle will all make the drive from out of state.
“I’m pumped to get over and see a game in Tiger Stadium, especially one against a team like Alabama,” Jenkins said. “It’ll be my first trip, so I hope it’s a memorable one.”
Landry mentioned Beckham as a weekend visitor, one of a number of uncommitted 2011 prospects from Louisiana that will travel over for the day on Saturday.
He will be joined by Acadiana cornerback Bakari Hollier, Covington defensive tackle Mickey Johnson, Catholic quarterback Zack Oliver, Haughton quarterback Dak Prescott, Evangel defensive end Jermauria Rasco, East St. John’s Floyd Raven and D’haquille Williams and Thibodaux offensive tackle Greg Robinson.
The biggest names to watch will be Beckham, Johnson, Rasco and Robinson – all of which already have LSU offers under their belt. It will be Rasco’s first visit this fall, while Johnson, Beckham and Robinson are making return trips.
For Beckham, a recent Army All-American selection who is down to Miami and LSU, the trip is one that he has been planning all season.
“You know it,” said Beckham in response to whether he would make the drive from New Orleans to Baton Rouge on Saturday morning. “This is one I am not going to miss.”
Prescott, who has been on a tear during his senior campaign, could be someone the staff looks to late in the game if the quarterback situation doesn’t gain clarity.
Then there are the out-of-state names for 2011, a group of heavy hitters as impressive as you will see from any of this weekend’s slate of college games.
From Mississippi, South Panola’s Nick Brassell headlines the wide receiver prospects. Brassell surprised many when he committed to Mississippi State on Oct. 16. He continues to take visits, and LSU was a favorite of the four star prospect’s when the process first kicked into gear. A 6-foot-1, 180-pounder with 4.4 speed, Brassell could play on either side of the ball at the next level.
A pair of the nation’s top tight ends plan on making the trip: five-star prospects Jay Rome and Nick O’Leary. Rome, ranked by Scout.com as the No. 1 tight end in the country, said that Georgia and Alabama are his current leaders, followed by Clemson and Tennessee. O’Leary, ranked as the No. 2 tight end, is considered a lean to Florida State.
6-foot-6, 345-pounder Spencer Region, who is currently ranked among the nation’s top 25 guards, headlines the offensive line group.
The top quarterback will be Dwyer (Fla.) standout Jacoby Brissett, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder who is Scout.com’s third-best uncommitted quarterback left on the 2011 board. Brissett will be joined by teammates Nick O’Leary and Curt Maggitt.
Maggitt, a four-star prospect, is one of Scout.com’s 10 best available outside linebackers. The Tigers are looking to add another name to a class that only holds one linebacker commitment: Trevon Randle. Randle, a four-star, is ranked as the No. 6 outside linebacker. Mississippi State commitment C.J. Johnson, the nation’s seventh-best middle linebacker, rounds out the group.
Perhaps the biggest out of state guest of all comes on the defensive line with an official visit from five-star Tim Jernigan. Jernigan is ranked as the No. 1 defensive tackle and the seventh-best player overall. He has been in constant contact with defensive line coach Brick Haley and fellow five-star Anthony Johnson, one of LSU’s first commitments to the class. Florida State and LSU are considered to be among the teams to beat, so this visit should weigh heavy on his final decision.
A pair of Alabama names close out the top visitors on the line: Prichard’s Antonio Marsh and Mobile’s Devaunte Sigler. Sigler holds an LSU offer and names LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss and Southern Miss as his leaders. Marsh has LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss as his leaders, but only holds scholarships from South Alabama and Grambling State.
Though not as big in numbers, the 2012 visitor list brings just as much talent.
The top in-state names will be linebacker Trey Granier and safety Landon Collins – both of which have early offers from LSU. Granier will make the trip with teammate Greg Robinson and is considered one of the must gets early in the process.
A number of quarterbacks will be on hand. Patterson’s Justice Jones headlines the in state names, while the out of state crop is impressively thick for a list of junior visitors.
Four-star Jeremiah Briscoe leads a group of Texas names that includes Houston-Hightower standout Braylon Addison. National 100 quarterback Jameis Winston will travel from Hueytown, Ala., while Spain Park cornerback Chris Humes will come in from Hoover, Ala.
Georgia long-snapper Reed Ferguson, a junior at Buford High, is the lone Peach State 2012 name expected to make the trip. Mississippi offers a pair of defensive line names: Morton defensive tackle Quay Evans and Aberdeen defensive end Channing Ward. Ward is a Top 100 prospect, while Evans – a 6-foot-3, 300-pounder – already holds a few SEC offers in Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Georgia offensive tackle Vadal Alexander, a New Orleans native, will make the trip from Buford. Alexander, a 6-foot-5, 330-pound four-star prospect, has an offer list in the double-digits.
Stay tuned throughout the weekend for notes on other prospects that come to campus as well as updates on their visits once the weekend is complete.