The last week provided us plenty to talk about for the LSU Class of 2013. A big weekend of official visitors made fans optimistic LSU can land some of the premier talent left in the 2013 class. Some academic shortcomings in the JUCO ranks have made the WR situation a little iffier for LSU, but the Tigers did ink its first two official members of this class.
We'll give a rundown of the 2013 action below, as well as an outlook for how the class may finish up. First, here's the list of 2013 commitments:
Christian Lacouture – No. 14 DT – Early Enrollee
Logan Stokes – JUCO TE – Early Enrollee
Avery Johnson – Prep WR – Early Enrollee
John Diarse – No. 15 S – Early Enrollee
Hayden Rettig – No. 22 QB – Early Enrollee
Anthony Jennings – No. 31 QB – Early Enrollee
Ethan Pocic – No. 4 OT – Early Enrollee
Fehoko Fanaika – JUCO OL – Early Enrollee
Quantavius Leslie – JUCO WR
Greg Gilmore – No. 8 DT
Rashard Robinson – No. 31 CB
Desean Smith – No. 9 TE
Tre'Davious White – No. 20 CB
Rickey Jefferson – No. 22 WR
Tevin Lawson – No. 51 DT
Jeremy Cutrer – No. 19 S
Jeryl Brazil – No. 19 CB
Melvin Jones – No. 8 MLB
Frank Herron – No. 16 DE
Lewis Neal – No. 31 MLB
Andy Dodd – No. 34 OG
Michael Patterson – No. 43 DE
K.J. Malone – No. 41 OG
Josh Boutte – No. 10 OG
LSU hosted eight total official visitors this past weekend, including four that weren't yet committed to LSU. I'll breakdown where LSU stands with each of those targets:
Maquedius Bain – No. 27 DT - Bain quickly became the focus of headlines Sunday as some outlets reported that the No. 27 DT had committed to LSU following his official visit. Bain dispelled those reports though, going to his Twitter to say he was still waiting to announce his decision at the Under-Armour game. Bain did rave about his trip to Baton Rouge, where he was also able to comfort his mom about the academic side of the school. Though he does include LSU in a top five with Oklahoma, Miami, USC and Marshall, all signs point to the Tigers, and it will likely be them that Bain chooses when he announces his commitment in Orlando.
Priest Willis – No. 3 CB - Willis finally made that long-awaited visit to Baton Rouge, and the trip apparently exceeded all of his expectations. Considered a UCLA-lean entering the weekend, Willis will now likely wait until after the Under-Armour game to announce his decision. The LSU staff gave him plenty to chew over after the visit, and it would appear they made up serious ground on some of his closer suitors. It may still take some work to lure Willis away from the West Coast, but LSU did work its way up Willis' list.
Josh McNeil – No. 7 TE - After McNeil wasn't able to enroll early at Alabama because of his grades, he began looking elsewhere and made an official visit to LSU as part of that search. The four-star TE sent message boards into a frenzy Thursday morning when he tweeted that he had decommitted from Alabama and had chosen LSU instead. But it takes both sides to acknowledge a commitment, and all indications are that LSU isn't prepared to take McNeil at this point. Grades are still a lingering concern, and with dwindling numbers in this class, the staff likely won't want to use a spot on another TE with an uncertain future. Unless there are some drastic changes in the 2013 class, it's unlikely that McNeil winds up at LSU.
Jamal Carter – No. 19 S - Though the Miami commit took an official visit to LSU, it doesn't appear that he will likely make the switch. The Miami staff continues to make sure Carter remains a Hurricane, and keeping him in the class is one of their primary priorities. They even went so far as to meet with Carter in the airport before he left for Baton Rouge. Though it was rumored grades may keep him from qualifying at Miami, that no longer appears to be an issue as word out of the Sunshine State is that he will be fine on the academic front.
With 24 players currently in the 2013 class, LSU is likely willing to take three more according to reports that the staff plans to take a total of 27 this year. With one of those spots likely reserved for Kendell Beckwith — who appears likely to announce a commitment to LSU at the Under-Armour game — LSU's final two spots could go to players on campus this past weekend. Bain remains very likely to wind up a commitment and Willis has garnered a lot of optimism from LSU fans.
A lot of uncertainty remains, and things will likely change between now and Signing Day, but LSU has to like where they stand with some of the bigger names left on its wishlist.
The other big news this week was Quantavius Leslie's failure to graduate from Hinds Community College this semester. Expected to enroll early, Leslie must now wait until the summer to secure his academic standing. That leaves LSU with eight early enrollees, including Logan Stokes and Fehoko Fanaika who sent in their NLIs at the opening of the JUCO signing period.
Leslie joins Courtney Gardner as another WR prospect with an uncertain academic future. Both players are still reportedly favored to be taken by the LSU staff should they get their affairs in order by the end of the spring semester. But the rumors have started swirling that the staff has started reaching out to some other JUCO WRs.
One of those players being Vince Mayle, a teammate of Gardner at Sierra College. Mayle tweeted Thursday that he spoke with a LSU coach, who told him that interest was real. Mayle is currently committed to Washington State, but he was admittedly flattered to hear from LSU, and if the staff decides to make a run at another JUCO prospect, he may be a name to keep an eye on.
The staff is now mostly invested in bowl preparation as the dead period extends into the new year. Things will likely stay relatively quiet on the recruiting front until the All-American games, which LSU fans will watch with anticipation as several big prospects are set to announce their commitments. With some more official visits expected to happen in January, that will be a big month in determining the final pieces of the 2013 puzzle for LSU.
There are several big-time prospects still available that have pledged visits to LSU in January, but have yet to schedule so far: Robert Nkemdiche, Antonio Conner, Tahaan Goodman, Tashawn Bower and Eddie Jackson are names that have popped up recently but remain longshots until a visit actually gets scheduled.
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