The secondary has been one of LSU's bigger weaknesses this season, so there's no question it's a major focus of the 2014 class. TSD's Hunter Paniagua breaks down how things look in this edition of "Where They Stand."
Adoree Jackson in play after official visit
Five-star CB Adoree Jackson became LSU's first official visitor for the 2014 class when he made a trip to Baton Rouge this past weekend. Throughout the process, Jackson has expressed his interest in the Tigers, citing its reputation for producing NFL DBs as a big selling point. Saturday he finally got to see what LSU was all about, and early indications are that the Tigers impressed.
LSU needed to make a strong impression on Jackson in order to get in the mix. LSU was able to sell him on early playing time, as he saw first-hand the contributions that Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson are already making. The Tiger defense also got a big victory against a Florida team that Jackson is also high on, a feather in LSU's cap when it comes time to compare.
Another big selling point that LSU has is the track program. Jackson's considered one of the nation's best sprinters, and he's expecting to also run track in college. He even has Olympic aspirations. Tiger track coach Dennis Shaver is also actively recruiting Jackson, and he spent significant time with him and Coach Miles this past weekend.
Whether all that is enough to send Jackson to LSU remains to be seen. Heading into the weekend, Scout's West Coast recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said that Jackson was legitimately wide open in his recruitment. LSU got a big foot in the door during the visit, and that's definitely a promising sign moving forward.
Where's Hootie Jones leaning?
LSU most recently got Hootie on campus for the Auburn game, an encouraging sign for the home team. On that trip, Hootie received plenty of one-on-one attention from John Chavis, ensuring he knows how high a priority he is for the LSU staff. With Ronnie Clark now committed to Alabama, and the Tide still targeting S C.J. Hampton (a Ole Miss commit), LSU is really plugging that angle in Hootie's recruitment.
Though LSU does have reason for optimism, so too does Alabama, especially with Cameron Robinson on board. The Tide are expected to receive his final visit, which some might take as a sign. But Hootie has made so many trips to both schools, that one visit likely wouldn't make or break his recruitment.
Still, this will be a recruitment that comes down to the end, and cases can be made for both sides. For LSU, landing Hootie is an absolute must in this class.
All good on the Tony Brown front
At this point, it's looking more and more certain that Tony Brown ends up in purple and gold. Between his relationship with the coaching staff, his desire to run track, his sister's decision to enroll at LSU, those are all signs that Brown will ultimately sign with the Tigers. He's made a pair of trips to Baton Rouge this season for home games. The only other schools he's visited this fall has been Texas A&M for the Alabama game.
Expected to be an early enrollee, Brown's decision will likely come within the next month or two. Regardless of when he does announce it, the consensus opinion is starting to turn in favor of LSU.
Where else may LSU turn in 2014?
If all goes according to plan, LSU will only have one or two spots remaining in the 204 Class once all the big dominoes fall. There are a number of different directions LSU could go with those scholarships, but early indications are that the coaches would like to add another DB.
Three names have continued to stay in the discussion as possible late additions to this class.
Santos Ramirez – the Evangel product first emerged at camp this summer. After an impressive performance during one of the opportunity periods, LSU made its interest in Ramirez be known. A couple weeks later, Ramirez met with the coaches and gave them his commitment. But LSU held off on making that official, wanting to first see how he looked during his senior season. Early reports are positive, as Ramirez has shown some of the physicality that LSU wanted to see out of him. Ramirez did show some brief interest in Arkansas, though after a visit earlier this fall, Ramirez said LSU still leads in his recruitment. If LSU decides to pull the trigger, Ramirez will be a Tiger.
Russell Gage – the Redemptorist athlete also turned heads at camp this summer, both as a DB and as a WR. LSU has kept in close contact with him, as he's made several visits to Tiger Stadium this season. Corey Raymond has also seen him play in-person, showing just how serious LSU is in pursuing him. As with Ramirez, LSU is continuing its evaluation process, and will likely wait until some other pieces come together before making a move. But if LSU makes a serious run at Gage, there's little doubt he'll end up a Tiger.
Donovan Wilson – LSU brought Wilson in to camp this summer wanting to get a closer look at the Shreveport DB. Though he had an impressive workout, Wilson didn't quite carry the same buzz that Gage or Ramirez did. Still, LSU is keeping a close eye on him though, inviting him to multiple games this season. He's likely on the outside looking in, but Wilson's still a name to keep an eye on.
Looking ahead to 2015
With LSU possibly taking as many as six DBs in the 2014 class, that position likely won't be as big a priority in 2015. The Tigers are already off to a great start though with that junior class.
One name in particular to keep an eye on is Jamal Peters, a four-star safety from Bassfield, Miss., a small town northwest of Hattiesburg that's closer to Baton Rouge than it is Oxford or Starkville. Peters made his first visit to LSU this season for the Auburn game and left with the Tigers his leader. He's mentioned that Ole Miss is recruiting him hardest, and he visited the Rebels this past weekend. Peters has said he'll make an early decision with his commitment, and LSU has to like its chances at this point.
Give us your take on how things look with the DBs