LSU has reached out to several prospects that were either committed to Strong at Louisville or were commits of the previous regime in Austin. The Tigers are hoping to take advantage of these recent decommits or soft commits and make a late press to add them to their class.
In the last week, four names have emerged from this group and TSD has the latest breakdown of where things stand for each one.
Wide receiver isn't a major need for LSU in the class, but the Tigers have tested the waters with a number of pass catchers late in the cycle. One is soft Texas commit Emanuel Porter, a 6-foot-4 prospect with legitimate 4.4 speed. Based on those measurements alone, he'd seem underrated as the No. 54 WR in the country, and people in Austin felt he was quietly one of the top prospects Texas had assembled in its 2014 class.
Porter originally committed to TCU but jumped on a Texas offer he received back in the summer. But since the turnover in Austin, Porter has started to open up his recruitment, particularly because his lead recruiter likely won't be retained on the staff. Texas WR coach Darrell Wyatt was a large part of what got Porter to Texas in the first place, and early indications are that he won't be back as part of Strong's staff.
If that's the case, definitely look for Porter to end up somewhere other than Texas, and LSU is working to get in the picture. Right now it's not clear how much interest he has in the Tigers, but those that have followed his recruitment feel like he'd be open to entertaining LSU.
But definitely keep an eye on TCU to jump back in the picture for this Dallas native should he officially start to look elsewhere. Porter took a visit to TCU a few weeks back, and the folks in Fort Worth are confident where they stand with him. His family is reportedly in favor of keeping him close at TCU, but there are some that feel LSU could make a legitimate run. It's still early with him, but he's definitely an under-the-radar WR to keep an eye on.
LSU first started recruiting speedy OLB Otaro Alaka (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) last February, but things never really picked up because he didn't waste much time committing to Texas by the spring. But he's one of several Texas commits that has started to look elsewhere because of the coaching change in Austin.
Alaka scheduled an official visit to LSU on Jan. 24 and a trip to Texas A&M on Jan. 17. The Aggies were his other finalist when he originally committed to Texas, so A&M has a lot of reason to feel confident moving forward in his recruitment. Alaka has a sister at Texas A&M and College Station wouldn't be far from his home in a Houston suburb, so the Aggies have a lot in their favor with Alaka.
But Texas hasn't stopped recruiting him either. According to Scout's Jason Higdon, retaining Alaka is a major priority for Strong. As of late Thursday night, Alaka still hadn't spoken with the new Texas coach, but expect him to start building that relationship in the near future. If Alaka likes what he hears, there'd be a stronger possibility of him sticking with Texas.
LSU will continue to work on him though and Houston area recruiter Thomas McGaughey is leading the charge. The Tigers still have Kenny Young high on their board at LB, but Alaka would make for a suitable contingency plan and the Tigers will look to solidify that official visit set for Jan. 24, but it's possible Alaka makes a final decision before that weekend arrives.
Defensive tackle remains a huge priority for LSU in this class, and the Tigers have made Trey Lealaimatafao one of their top targets. The San Antonio native was a longtime commit to Texas before Mack Brown's resignation. At that point he reopened his recruitment and was very active before the start of the dead period.
He's already made four official visits — UCLA, Texas, Ole Miss and Arizona State — with Oregon poised to receive the fifth on Jan. 17. But Lealaimatafao has a lot of interest in LSU and has said he will take an unofficial visit to Baton Rouge before Signing Day. The Tigers do have some connections in their favor. Lealaimatafao's sister plays volleyball for Southern, so he does have family in the area and that would help facilitate an unofficial visit. It would also give LSU another advantage in luring him to Baton Rouge for college. Lealaimatafao was at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl along with LSU commits like Edward Paris and Davon Godchaux, so he has had some prospects in his ear about the Tigers, which can only help in the long run.
Lealaimatafao's still very much open in his recruitment as he's really only a month or so in to reevaluating his decision. At this point, the Longhorns don't seem like a factor and UCLA has been considered an early favorite to land him. But a lot can change in the next few weeks, and for LSU, the main focus will be ensuring he makes a trip to campus before it's all over.
It isn't just Texas that LSU is trying to invade. The Tigers have also reached out to one of Strong's former commits at Louisville, WR George Rushing. LSU has not extended him an off yet, and the coaches are still evaluating him as a prospect. But Rushing will take an official visit to LSU on Jan. 24.
Rushing has a lot of interest in the Tigers and has a close friendship with commit John Battle, who will also take his official that weekend, and current Tigers Avery Peterson and Rashard Robinson. If LSU does intend to pursue this three-star prospect, they'll have a lot of factors working in their favor.
Rushing has visits scheduled to TCU (Jan. 17) and Wisconsin (Jan. 29). He has also said he'll take an official visit to Louisville to meet with the new coaching staff on Jan. 31. Rushing definitely seems open in his recruitment, and LSU will keep a close eye on him moving forward, but there are higher priorities than him at this stage.