These numbers aren't just coming out of thin air either. Based on rumblings we've gotten from both the players and LSU staff, these confidence levels should reflect how the Tigers feel at this point.
Below is the breakdown on LSU's top 12 targets.
**Last month's ratings are in italics
FA: First appearance in the confidence levels
RB Leonard Fournette – Ben: 8.5 (8.5), Hunter 9.0 (9.0)
No movement with Fournette is a good thing as LSU continues to do everything it can to maintain a significant advantage over the competition. Expect Fournette to nail down some official visit dates in the next month, and at that point we'll have an idea of which other schools factor into the mix. But regardless of who completes his final five, it's going to come down to either LSU or Alabama, with the Tide seeming more and more of a long shot. Fournette was most recently in Baton Rouge for the Auburn game where he spent a lot of time with his 2014 classmates. All vibes are positive and LSU's in great shape.
Dupre's in a boat similar to Fournette's, which is common with most of these prospects at this point. Not much has changed but all signs continue to point toward LSU. Dupre was also on campus for the Auburn game, spending time with most of LSU's commits and top targets. Dupre will also take some official visits elsewhere after the season, but expect him to on campus numerous times before it's over.
WR Devante Noil – Ben: 9.5 (9.5), Hunter 9.5 (9.5)
Speedy has been a consensus 9.5 — the highest value one can receive without committing — since the first edition of these confidence levels. Neither of us have waivered in our thinking that LSU's a near lock in this one. Despite the tweets and official visits, like his to Texas A&M for the Alabama game, LSU is where he'll be. The Aggies do have their attractions — that offense, in particular — but LSU has shown more than enough with Cameron at the helm to alleviate any concerns.
DE Davon Godchaux – Ben: 8.5 (9.0), Hunter 9.0 (9.5)
Godchaux's future took a bit of a hit a couple weeks ago when he tore an ACL in Plaquemine's season opener against East Ascension. Godchaux recently underwent surgery to repair the damage, and has said that all went well. He'll be sidelined for eight months, and if all goes according to plan, he should be able to resume play. Godchaux was all but official to LSU, and he was all set to announce on Dec. 28. LSU is still the lead team here, and the Tigers are going to honor his offer assuming all continues as it has in his rehab. But injuries like this always have their uncertainties, so both of us dropped our level a half point.
DE Gerald Willis – Ben: 9.5 (9.5), Hunter 9.5 (9.5)
LSU has the same standing it does with Speedy. Willis will probably take a couple more official visits elsewhere with his Edna Karr teammate, but all signs still point to LSU. I recently saw their OVs referred to as free tickets to SEC games, and that about explains it. They're simply taking advantage of being a recruit. We're still as confident as possible that LSU's in ideal shape right now.
DT Garrald McDowell – Ben 8.5 (8.0), Hunter 8.0 (7.5)
McDowell's been relatively quiet on the recruiting front lately. He hasn't taken any visits since the season started, though he is still expected to make some before the year ends. It seems to be coming down to either LSU or Ole Miss with the Tigers holding the advantage. It would take a lot for that to change considering LSU's need for some depth DT. McDowell's also having a strong start to his season, which keeps him as a high priority for LSU.
A little less than two months still remain until Garrett's first LSU visit of the ball. Garrett's expected for the A&M game on an unofficial visit, then possibly an official trip later. It is possible though that Garrett shuts it down after trip No. 1. Whenever he decides, the decision is expected to be LSU as things continue to trend upward. Garrett visited Florida officially last week for the Tennessee game, and LSU maintained its lead position after that trip. Securing Garrett should give the new Core 6 training facility, set to open in Baton Rouge next year, some solid momentum with the fans, and we should have more details on that next week.
LB Kenny Young – Ben 2.5 (3.0), Hunter 3.0 (3.5)
As things continue trending upward with Garrett, that brings confidence in Young down. The staff has mostly waited to press Young until after Garrett decides. If LSU somehow misses on Garrett, they'll really push to add Young in this class. But if things hold track with Garrett, LSU will reassess where they are with the class and determine if he's still a high priority. That uncertainty, mixed with his legitimate interest in other programs, keeps his confidence level lower than most other targets.
CB Tony Brown – Ben 9.0 (8.5), Hunter 9.5 (8.5)
Before last months' edition of these confidence levels, the Brown family had just received word that track signee Bealoved had received clearance from the NCAA. That set our confidence pretty high, and it still continues to trend upward. Tony has since made two unofficial visits to LSU for games, once for UAB and again for Auburn. He doesn't seem to have that kind of comfort with any other program, and LSU is the most logical fit at this point. Whenever a decision comes, it should be for the home team.
S Laurence Jones – Ben 7.0 (6.0), Hunter 7.5 (4.5)
These ratings last came out five days before Cameron Robinson's big announcement. At that time, it was a little uncertain what kind of impact Cam's decision for Alabama would have on close friend Hootie. The immediate response was that it showed things are more positive for LSU than originally supposed. After a visit for the Auburn game, all is still positive on the Hootie front. He'll still give strong consideration to Alabama, but all rumblings indicate that he's LSU's to lose at this point.
S Santos Ramirez – Ben 6.0 (6.0), Hunter 6.0 (5.5)
The next couple of weeks will really determine a lot in the evaluation process for most of these on-the-border recruits. This is the fourth week of the preps season, and that's when the Tigers should start receiving highlight tapes from players looking to earn or solidify offers. Ramirez getting the go-ahead to play for Evangel this season was big, and he's had a good start. If he continues to show what the coaches ask of him, he should have a spot in the class. Because things appear more in his control, both of our confidence levels are high compared to our next prospect.
ATH Russell Gage – Ben 4.0 (FA), Hunter 2.5 (FA)
Gage is one of those guys that likely need things to happen around them in order for an offer to come. LSU has kept a close eye on him this season, sending Corey Raymond to his game a couple weeks ago. If there's room, I think Gage is in great shape to get a spot, but an opening will need to come available in the next couple months. His will probably be one that comes down to the wire (similar to Duke Riley's last season) and it's too uncertain right now to have much confidence.
Who dropped off this list?
OL Cameron Robinson – As I alluded to earlier, Robinson made the expected move when he committed to Alabama. Most felt it was about a coin flip after his appearance at LSU's July camp. But things quickly swung toward Alabama, especially in the week leading up to the announcement. Both our confidence levels were low in the most recent post, and that proved to be correct once he made it official.
Give us your confidence level on each LSU target