With the first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, the LSU coaching staff took that as an opportunity to assemble some elite recruits on campus for unofficial visits.
Though LSU didn't lock up any commitments, the staff did put in serious work to ensure that some of their targets keep the Tigers at or near the top of their lists. With a possible No. 1 recruiting class in the future, LSU did its best to ensure that some of the necessary pieces stay high on the Tigers.
To catch you up on the weekend's proceedings, TSD's Hunter Paniagua runs down who was on campus, what happened and what's next for LSU's 2014 Class.
The staff hosted four out-of-state prospects on Saturday, including a pair from the same school. Vigor HS (Prichard, Ala.) teammates DeShaun Davis and Justin Thornton each made the trip to campus to further examine the Tigers.
Davis picked up an offer from LSU a couple weeks ago, and at the time, called LSU his "dream school." He entered the weekend with the mindset that if everything lived up to his expectations, he would likely commit. Well everything did, and Davis was ready to pull the trigger as he went into a meeting with Les Miles.
In that conversation though, Miles informed Davis that LSU was interested in him only as a fullback, not as a linebacker — his preferable position. There had been some questions about Davis' size, and according to reports, he measured in closer to 5-foot-10, not 6-foot as had been expected.
That news left Davis a bit down on LSU, and he decided to reconsider his other options. He did say that he would maintain interest in LSU even though they're recruiting him for offense. But with offers from other programs interested in him as a linebacker, it appears Davis may look to take his talents elsewhere.
For Thornton, the weekend went as well as it could have. Thornton has long been high on LSU, but Florida has always been the consensus favorite. LSU also ranked behind Texas A&M before this visit, but after returning home, Thornton said LSU did enough on his visit to creep near Florida for the top spot.
Thornton spent a lot of time with Miles and the coaching staff, who sold him on early playing time at defensive end, the position Thornton would prefer to play. The coaches also compared him to former Tigers Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, something that left Thornton very high on the Tigers.
Thornton plans to make a commitment in August and will make a visit to Texas A&M in April, with a trip to Gainesville some time in the coming months. Don't rule out a return trip to Baton Rouge, as Thornton will keep LSU high on his list until the very end.
One of the other out-of-state prospects was QB Mason Rudolph, who picked up an offer when Steve Kragthorpe was still the quarterbacks coach. Since Cam Cameron has taken over, he's remained high on Rudolph, and the South Carolina QB has maintained mutual interest with the Tigers.
Rudolph made the trip down with his family and spent a lot of time with both Coach Miles and Coach Cameron. He said the visit went great and LSU is the program showing him the most interest. Distance from home doesn't appear to be a factor, and the coaching staff assured Rudolph that he'd be a perfect fit in Cameron's new offense.
Should LSU wish to stay in the running for Rudolph's commitment, the Tigers appear to be in great shape as he hopes to have a final decision before the start of his senior season.
The staff also hosted Beaumont, Texas, CB Tony Brown. LSU had wanted to get him on campus for some time as track meets have caused him to delay several visits. Already a heavy favorite to commit to LSU, the visit went as well as it could have and LSU seems to be in tremendous shape for this five-star prospect. Based on his relationship with the LSU coaches, and the fact that his sister will soon sign to run track for the Tigers, it would be surprising if Brown winds up anywhere else.
Aside from the collection of out-of-state talent, LSU also hosted several big names within its own border. In addition to commits OG William Clapp and TE Jacory Washington, the staff also brought in DB Laurence Jones, WR Trey Quinn and LB Kenny Young.
By all accounts, the visits went great for all three prospects. Jones has been one of the bigger in-state question marks, but LSU does seem to be at the top for the Neville standout. It all will eventually come down to his mother's comfort level with LSU, and she did not make the trip down this time around. Still, the Tigers have a lot to offer, and the in-state pull should do a lot for all involved.
Young made the trip to campus a week after his teammate, WR Malachi Dupre, did likewise. Like with Dupre, the staff would like to secure Young sooner rather than later, and it appears LSU made big strides in that department. Young has been LSU's No. 1 priority at linebacker in this class, and despite other offers from major programs, the Tigers should like where they stand with Young.
The same goes for Quinn, who has received plenty of attention from big-time schools. The biggest question for Quinn would be whether his talents would be best served in LSU's offense, and with the addition of Coach Cameron, that should stem all concerns. Quinn got a firsthand look at the new offense as the passing game was put on display in the team's scrimmage. Quinn will continue building a relationship with Cameron that will almost certainly go a long way for LSU. Quinn still intends to take a few visits this spring before making a final decision, but it's LSU's race to lose, and it would appear Quinn winds up with the Tigers by the end of the summer.
One big name was missing from this list, though fans shouldn't worry. Edna Karr WR Devante Noil didn't make the trip to campus, but likely will some time soon. Noil had a track meet Saturday morning and hoped to make it to LSU later in the afternoon. But by the time he would have arrived, the staff had already starting wrapping things up for the day and instead convinced him to come for a midweek practice. LSU is still in great shape with Noil, and it doesn't appear he's seriously considering too many other programs. It seems more a matter of when, than if, he'll commit.
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