LSU coaches hit the road

The bye week gives LSU assistant coaches the chance to hit the recruiting trail and close in on some of the nation's top-ranked prospects.

LSU is 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country, and a date with Alabama – also 8-0 and ranked No. 2 – looms large on Nov. 5.

In the meantime, the Tigers are taking advantage of a bye week, sending assistant coaches out on the road to visit with some of the nation’s top uncommitted prospects.

With 20 pledges for the class of 2012, the staff has room to add five more commitments before February. Who is the staff turning up the heat on?

Here are some tidbits on where the LSU assistants are this week:

- Wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales has already stopped in on wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson at Hutchinson Junior College in Kansas. The Rock Hill, S.C., native is in his second year of junior college and is ranked by as the top JUCO prospect for the class of 2012. Patterson said coaches from Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn have recruited him the hardest, but the LSU staff is still trying to get involved. If academics are in order, Patterson could graduate in December and enroll in college by January.

The next order of business for Gonzales is even bigger.

Gonzales will travel to Springfield, Mo., to see Dorial Green-Beckham - the nation’s No. 1-ranked high school wide receiver prospect. Green-Beckham recently named his final five schools as Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

LSU already has commitments from three wide receiver prospects: Four-star Avery Johnson, three-star Travin Dural and three-star Kavahra Holmes.

- Quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe will visit with the one player who could make the aforementioned prospects the most excited: Gunner Kiel, the nation’s No. 1-ranked quarterback prospect.

Kiel was committed to Indiana, but last week pulled his pledge and reopened his recruitment process. Kiel’s older brother, Dusty, is currently a redshirt sophomore quarterback for the Hoosiers.

Kiel’s first visit was to Notre Dame, where he watched the Fighting Irish lose to USC last weekend. Kiel originally chose Indiana over the likes of LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma.

- With only one defensive line commitment for 2012, the staff is beginning to swing at some of the biggest names on the board.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis will travel to Harrisburg, Pa., to visit with five-star prospect Noah Spence – ranked by as the No. 1 defensive end in the country.

Prior to his senior season, Spence released a list of seven schools that he was focused on, including Penn State, Florida, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Maryland, Notre Dame and USC.

LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley has already made one stop during the bye week and has another one planned.

Haley visited with San Antonio defensive tackle Javonte Magee, a four-star prospect with just short of 50 scholarship offers. Magee has not narrowed his list and plans to wait until after his senior season to make his five official visits.

The next stop for Haley will be Aberdeen, Miss., where he will visit with five-star prospect Channing Ward. Ranked as the No. 7 defensive end in the country, Ward has picked up offers from every school in the SEC. Ward visited Baton Rouge for the Florida game, the first official visit the Magnolia State standout made this fall.

First-year LSU special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, who assists Haley on the defensive line, hopped on a flight to Ramsey, N.J., and checked in with five-star prospect Darius Hamilton, ranked by as the No. 4 defensive end in the country.

Hamilton named Rutgers his leader over the summer and will announce his decision on MSG Varsity, a high school sports channel in the New Jersey area, on Dec. 23.

- While McGaughey was in New Jersey, he also visited with Old Tappan’s Devin Fuller.

Though Fuller is ranked as the No. 6 quarterback prospect in the country, the 6-foot, 185 pound four- star could play defensive back at the college level.

Fuller has offers from the likes of LSU, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Michigan, but recently named Rutgers and Nebraska as two standouts. Fuller said he plans to wait until National Signing Day to make a decision.

- Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Greg Studrawa will stop in and see the Tigers’ latest commitment: Vadal Alexander.

Alexander, a native of New Orleans who moved to Buford, Ga., during elementary school, visited LSU for the Florida game and committed the following Monday, giving the Tigers four offensive line commitments for 2012.      

A four-star prospect, Alexander is ranked as the No. 8 offensive guard in the country.


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