Last week, Scout.com dropped its updated rankings for the Class of 2014, the first reworking since last fall. The new list came as positive news for LSU fans, as several names near the top had strong connections to LSU.
In this week's Where They Stand, we take a look at all the five stars with significant interest in LSU, and try to predict how legitimate the chances are that they end up in Baton Rouge.
No. 1 – RB Leonard Fournette – New Orleans, La. (St. Augustine)
Fournette has been atop the LSU big board since his freshman year, and now he's atop the national rankings. The recruitment of the nation's best junior has always been expected to boil down to LSU and Alabama, and that's certainly the case. After several cancellations, Fournette will finally make a trip to Tuscaloosa today, but that shouldn't concern fans too much. Fournette is still considered a heavy lean to LSU, and a decision could be made as early as this summer. Part of an elite group of New Orleans talent, Frank Wilson has done a great job building a bond with Fournette, which should almost definitely pay off for LSU down the road.
No. 3 – OT Cameron Robinson – West Monroe, La. (West Monroe)
Much like with Fournette, Louisiana's second best prospect has essentially narrowed down his recruitment to LSU and Alabama. Robinson has some other schools in the picture, but the Tide and Tigers are far ahead of the competition. After Robinson attended a pair of Junior Days at LSU, he'll make a visit to Alabama in early April. LSU still appears to be a slight favorite over Alabama at this point, but new Tide OL coach Mario Cristobal has already started leaving quite an impression on Robinson. His recruitment is far from over, and a decision isn't likely until after his senior season. But with the influence of the West Monroe pipeline destined to have an effect, LSU still seems like the place Robinson ends up.
No. 5 – CB Tony Brown – Beaumont, Texas (Ozen)
After his sister committed to run track at LSU, and his friend Edward Paris pledged his name to the Tigers, it's been considered more a matter of when he'll commit to LSU, than if. With so many factors playing in LSU's favor, the Tigers are a strong favorite to land Brown. In addition to the relationship he's built with the coaches since they offered him in his freshman year, Brown's intentions to run track in college should put LSU over the top. He has played his recruitment close to the vest in recent months while he focuses on track season, but expect a final decision to be made before the end of the summer.
No. 7 – CB Adoree Jackson – Gardena, Calif. (Junipero Serra)
Jackson expressed publicly his excitement from receiving an LSU offer in late January, and he intends to visit Baton Rouge in the near future. Since the offer, he's mentioned the Tigers in his early group of leaders among many other elite programs. In addition to LSU, USC, UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida and Texas A&M appear to be the schools in the hunt. While the mutual interest is certainly there, LSU will have plenty of competition to land this elite DB. We saw how difficult it was for LSU to strike out west in 2013, so we'll have to wait and see how things play out with Jackson.
No. 11 – CB Jabrill Peppers – Paramus, N.J. (Paramus Catholic)
As with Jackson, there's certainly some mutual interest with Peppers and LSU. After some initial confusion about how much interest he had from LSU, the Tigers have worked their way into his recruitment. Though he's recently mentioned a top five of Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford, Ohio State and Alabama, LSU has worked its into the mix and will receive a visit from him on April 12. After LSU landed Tashawn Bower out of New Jersey in 2013, the Tigers would love to strike again in the Northeast, and Peppers will be their primary target.
No. 14 – MLB Kain Daub – Jacksonville, Fla. (Sandalwood)
Few were surprised when Daub decommitted from LSU in November. Though he said LSU would stay in it after he dropped his pledge, it now appears the Tigers have fallen out of the race. It's widely considered a battle between Alabama and Florida State for one of the nation's top linebackers.
No. 18 – DT Khairi Clark – Hollywood, Fla. (Chaminade Madonna)
LSU made Clark the first DT offered in the 2014 class, and he has long mentioned LSU as one of the schools that stood out to him. But his recruitment has always been considered Miami's to lose, and the Hurricanes are still the likely favorite. Should LSU wish to push back up the list, they'll likely need to secure at least one visit out of him, though nothing has been scheduled. Most recently, he's been linked to Florida, Clemson, Notre Dame and Georgia, in addition to Miami.
No. 19 – ATH Davion Hall – Texarkana, Texas (Liberty-Eylau)
Hall made an early commitment to Baylor because of strong relationships with the coaches and other people at the school. But two weeks ago, LSU extended an offer to Hall that made him take a step back and reevaluate his options. Hall readily admitted that the LSU offer excited him. He still remains committed to Baylor, but he's open to switching if he finds a better fit. It's still early in the relationship between these two, but look for LSU to continue impressing Hall as they bid to flip the Texas DB.
No. 23 – DE Gerald Willis – New Orleans, La. (Edna Karr)
The third Louisiana prospect to receive a five-star rating, Willis appears another heavy lean to LSU. Part of an elite group of talent at Edna Karr, LSU has been building its relationship with Willis for years, dating back to when his brother Landon Collins began going through the process. Though Willis has picked up serious interest from other schools lately, namely Texas A&M and Florida, it still appears LSU's to lose, though Willis says the added attention from other programs has made the decision tougher. But his bond with Frank Wilson appears too strong to ignore, and it would be surprising if he ends up somewhere other than LSU.
In other news…
---I mentioned earlier that Leonard Fournette will visit Alabama Thursday. He'll make the trip with teammate Jermaine Roberts, who also holds an offer from the Tide, though it is not committable at this point. Roberts told Scout's John Garcia that the theme of this trip is to learn exactly what he needs to do in order to make that offer committable. Roberts hasn't picked up an offer from LSU yet, though he is on their radar. He'll be someone the staff continues to evaluate in the spring, and may need to show up at camp to get an offer from LSU.
---With spring practice opening Thursday, plenty of prospects will make their way to campus to check out LSU. One of those won't be Darrel Williams. According to a source close to his recruitment, Williams doesn't plan to visit LSU until the Tigers make clear their intentions of offering him. Williams picked up an offer from Georgia recently, and the Bulldogs are squarely atop his list. He'll visit Athens in April. The source said Williams is a bit frustrated with the way LSU has slow played his recruitment, and they're leaving the ball in LSU's court in terms of how they proceed. Though it does appear LSU will offer him at some point, the longer they wait, the more likely it is that Williams winds up at Georgia.
---LSU extended another offer to a quarterback this past week. Randall Cunningham Jr. became the second QB offered in the Cam Cameron era as the Tigers look to add a dual-threat option in 2014. The other QB, DeShone Kizer, recently mentioned LSU in his final six along with Alabama, North Carolina, Northwestern, Tennessee and Michigan State.
---LSU extended five new offers this past week. In addition to Cunningham, the Tigers offered a pair of WRs — Saeed Blacknall and Markell Pack — who are both high on LSU at this early stage in their recruitment. Both intend to visit LSU in the spring. The staff also offered DE Dante Sawyer and S Michael Johnson, a Louisville commit that intends to camp at LSU in July.
Where They Stand: The Five Stars
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