With just six home games for LSU this season, the Tigers will need to make every weekend count on the recruiting trail – and this could well be one of the biggest.
LSU hosts official visitors from the 2012 class and unofficial visitors ranging all the way from the class of 2012 to 2015. It will go down as the most attended game of the year for LSU prospects, meaning the No. 1 Tigers will need to have their A-game on display – from the field to the fans.
“This is why people come to LSU,” said Russell Shepard, a five-star prospect who signed with the Tigers out of Houston in 2009. “The kids come on the field after the game, and their faces are lit up. You know they experienced something that they never had before.”
Offensive lineman Josh Williford said his first trip to Tiger Stadium sealed the deal despite the scoreboard after four quarters.
“LSU lost the night I came, but I still left there knowing I had to be a Tiger,” he said. “No high school kid is ready for what 90,000 people sound like when they are going wild.”
Said LSU coach Les Miles: “There will be no game-day atmosphere like it. They will be saying ‘Wow’ all the time.”
Sunshine State represented
There will be five official visitors to the campus, the first group of officials that the staff has hosted this football season.
Johnson, the younger brother of former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, travels in for his 18th birthday. He will make the trip from Pompano Beach, Fla., with his parents, and Johnson has recently cancelled other recruiting trips and reaffirmed his commitment to the Tigers. Johnson will graduate from Ely High this December and enroll in college for the spring semester.
Miller, the 19th commitment to a class that should fill up to 25 prospects, will make his official visit on the same weekend Dwyer High is on bye, meaning the Miller family will spend Friday through Sunday in Baton Rouge.
Now comes the moment where the Sunshine State prospects get a look at their future team take on their home state.
Three more big ones
The three other official visitors also come from outside Louisiana.
Buford High (Ga.) duo Vadal Alexander and Reid Ferguson are scheduled to spend Saturday and Sunday in Baton Rouge. Ferguson is already committed to LSU as a long snapper, while Alexander, the nation’s No. 8-ranked offensive guard, remains one of the top prospects on LSU’s board. LSU, Auburn and Alabama are the final three schools in the mix for Alexander.
Mississippi’s Channing Ward is the final official visitor.
The five-star prospect was in Starkville, Miss., for LSU’s Thursday night game against Mississippi State. Being recruited to LSU by defensive line coach Brick Haley, the Aberdeen, Miss., native has listed LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama and Tennessee as favorites, though the chatter around Mississippi is that the nation’s No. 7-ranked defensive end will stick close to home in the end. Getting Ward into town this weekend is big for LSU, a team that could be the biggest threat to land the Magnolia State product.
More from Mississippi
Ward isn’t the only highly touted Magnolia State prospect on hand for this one.
Liggins camped at LSU and has the Tigers among his leaders, despite heavy interest from Ole Miss. Brown, who also camped at LSU and stayed in contact with the staff since earning his offer, has offers from the in-state schools, but favors the Bulldogs over the Rebels. However, a big win over Florida could do enough to sway the pair to leave the state and help finish LSU’s 2012 class, which still has five spots open.
The committed and the future
In addition to Johnson, Miller and Ferguson, everyone from the Breaux Bridge trio – Lamar Louis, Travin Dural and Kavahra Holmes – to O. Perry Walker’s Dwayne Thomas will make the trip in on unofficials.
The majority of the local commitments will save their official visits until after the football season, which gives a chance for the group to come in bunches on weekends late in their recruitment process.
The staff also expects a number of prospects from the 2013 class, including quarterback Kendall Beckwith and wide receiver John Diarse. Beckwith’s visit will be his first to Tiger Stadium, and the LSU staff is one of many SEC schools that have become involved with the Bayou State quarterback in the early stages.
Two big Louisiana fish
After he visited LSU for the win over Kentucky, Dutchtown safety Landon Collins will be back in Baton Rouge for a second straight weekend. The five-star prospect remains high on LSU and Alabama, and will take an official visit to Tuscaloosa to see the Tigers and Tide on Nov 5.
Collins will make this weekend an unofficial visit, leaving his official visit date open for a date to be determined. The staff will likely use the weekend in the months of December or January, which will give them a chance to bring Collins and his family in around the current LSU commitments.
One name that the Tigers hope to flip into the group of commitments is Patterson linebacker Lorenzo Phillips, who pledged to the Gators over the summer but has since opened the door on his recruitment. This will be the first time Phillips has been to campus since the early summer months.
Even a few from Alabama
Though the Crimson Tide is undefeated and Auburn is coming off a national championship, the Tigers are still picking their spots to attack in Alabama.
2013 running back Jordan Huff will be the eldest of three visitors from St. Paul’s in Mobile. Huff camped at Alabama and Florida State this summer, and he attended Big Cat Weekend at Auburn.
But make no mistake, linebacker Tre Williams is the biggest prize from St. Paul’s. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore has already been offered by Alabama, Auburn and Florida State, but said that he has heavy interest in LSU. He will make the trip with Huff and one of the St. Paul’s coaches this weekend.
One from the past
After earning over 40 scholarship offers in 2011, Benton (La.) safety T.K. Fleming went the junior college route without signing with an FBS school.
This weekend he will visit Baton Rouge.
LSU has already received an unofficial visit from 2011 safety Alonzo Lewis, who signed with the Tigers but went the junior-college route.