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 eight targets.
**Last month's ratings are in italics
FA: First Appearance
WR Malachi Dupre – Ben: 8.0 (8.5), Hunter: 8.5 (9.0)
Dupre takes a small dip in this month's levels, but that's more a result of what happened with the other Louisiana prospects than it is with him. The losses of Devante Noil and Gerald Willis proved that you can't be too overly confident when it comes to Louisiana kids, even though Dupre hasn't given any cause for concern. He'll begin taking his official visits once the dead period ends, with UCLA and Florida State the heaviest challengers to LSU. But Dupre still has a strong relationship with both players and coaches at LSU, and there's still a strong chance that he opts for the Tigers on National Signing Day.
The other top prospect from John Curtis doesn't inspire quite as much as confidence, but by no means is LSU out of the running as some rumors implied this week. There's no debating how high a priority Young is for LSU at this point, which means the decision will be 100 percent up to him. Unlike some of the other New Orleans kids, Young isn't trying to leave the state, but he is taking an objective look at which of his remaining suitors is his best fit. UCLA and Texas A&M are the two coaching staffs outside Louisiana most confident in their chances, and Young will start making his official visits on Jan. 17. But as LSU and John Chavis begin to make their biggest sales pitches, the Tigers should become the likelier destination in the next few weeks.
DT Travonte Valentine – Ben: 8.0 (FA), Hunter: 8.0 (FA)
Valentine could very well be the next prospect to commit to LSU when he makes his official visit, which is expected the weekend of Jan. 17. The four-star DT dropped his pledge to Miami amidst the rumblings that Al Golden was heading to Penn State. Golden put those to rest Sunday though, releasing a statement that he was not a candidate for any other position. But the feeling for weeks has been that Valentine would drop his Miami pledge regardless of what happened with Golden, and LSU is in the best shape to take advantage. There have been a lot of questions about his academics, but since he transferred to Champagnat Catholic for his senior season, Valentine is on pace to qualify now that he's in a new curriculum. Valentine also has a strong relationship with Corey Raymond, and assuming he likes what he sees on his trip to Baton Rouge, there's a strong chance he ends up a Tiger.
Speaks has been on LSU's radar since he camped in Baton Rouge this summer, but the Tigers officially entered the chase this past week when they offered him a scholarship. Speaks remains committed to Ole Miss, though he's said in the past that LSU was his dream school growing up. That might get LSU in the door, and he is expected to visit Jan. 17, but most feel the Tigers have an extremely steep uphill battle if they want to flip the four-star defensive tackle. We should know how legitimate LSU's chances are after he visits, but for now it's a long shot.
OT Derrick Kelly – Ben: 2.5 (FA), Hunter: 2.5 (FA)
Adding another offensive lineman remains a major priority for LSU in this class, and Kelly's jumped to the top of the list. The three-star prospect mostly went under-the-radar through his high school career, but he exploded on the scene once coaches got their hands on his senior tape. Les Miles had a successful in-home visit with him during the contact period, and he really won over Kelly's mom in particular. He'll make an official visit to Baton Rouge, which will go a long way in determining LSU's chances. Florida State's made a hard push, but with six offensive linemen already in their class, the Noles may not have room for him. That would leave LSU in good shape, and things should start to clear up in the next couple weeks.
CB Adoree Jackson - Ben: 4.0 (4.5), Hunter: 4.0 (5.0)
Jackson released his final six schools on Saturday — LSU, Florida, USC, UCLA, Tennessee and Oklahoma — but there isn't anyone that can confidently say which school has the edge. That being said, LSU will make him a high priority after losing Tony Brown and the Tigers do appear to be a good fit for the five-star prospect. The track program is a major appeal for Jackson, and he does like where he'd fit in the Tigers' secondary. LSU's the only school primarily recruiting him as a defensive back, while most schools are giving him the option or sticking specifically with offense. If Jackson wants defense, LSU just may be the best pick for him, but the next month will be very telling with how this will play out.
DE Malik McDowell – Ben: 1.0 (FA), Hunter: 1.0 (FA)
LSU's done a lot just to get in the mix for these two highly rated defensive linemen, but they have a long way to go to become serious contenders. Brick Haley's developed strong relationships with both prospects, and that's enough to at least secure an official visit from each one. But that'll only be the start of the battle. McDowell still seems like a heavy lean to stay in the Midwest, and nearby Georgia remains the favorite for Carter. But a successful visit could go a long way for the Tigers, and expect for them to put a lot of focus on both Carter and McDowell in the coming weeks.