Malachi Dupre, DE Lorenzo Carter and Ole Miss DT commit Breeland Speaks all took official visits to Baton Rouge, while DT Trey Lealaimatafao came to campus on an unofficial. Committed prospects TE Jacory Washington, OL Garrett Brumfield, OL William Clapp, WR D.J. Chark, RB Darrel Williams, WR Trey Quinn and K Cameron Gamble also took their officials this weekend as well.
The consensus opinion on the weekend was that it was a tremendous success as LSU feels it did exactly what it needed to accomplish with the visitors. TSD has the complete rundown of the big visit weekend.
TIGERS IN THE MIX FOR SPEAKS
LSU entered the weekend as a longshot candidate to flip Rebel commit Breeland Speaks, but after his official visit this weekend, the Tigers have a renewed sense of optimism. Speaks made the trip down with both his parents, and the LSU coaches had their best opportunity yet to make a positive impression on him. Speaks called it a "great visit" as LSU showed him everything it had to offer, which went a long way for the four-star DT.
LSU is really selling its reputation of producing NFL defensive linemen as a way to counteract Speaks' relationship with the Ole Miss program. The Tigers are playing from behind in that aspect, and there are still many that feel the gap's too large for LSU to overcome. But the Tigers definitely gave Speaks something to think about this weekend, and LSU will look to continue to build on that momentum with an in-home visit this week.
"I had a great time at LSU and the tradition of winning and putting guys in the NFL probably stood out to me the most," Speaks told Scout's Chad Simmons. "I like LSU a lot and they definitely have a shot. LSU will be back for an in-home visit and we will just have to see how it works out."
Speaks will take an official visit to Ole Miss next weekend followed by a trip to Arkansas on Jan. 31. He has a final decision set for National Signing Day and LSU will try to continue trending in the right direction over these next couple days. It will be important they don't let the positives from this visit wear off and Speaks will definitely continue to be a high priority moving forward.
This may have been Trey Lealaimatafao's first visit to LSU as a recruit, but he's no stranger to Baton Rouge. With family scattered throughout the city, Lealaimatafao makes at least one trip to the Red Stick a year, and the Tigers will hope that's something that pays off for them in the end. LSU definitely likes its chances after his unofficial visit this weekend, and the Tigers have every reason to believe they're squarely in the mix.
LSU did enough this weekend to be in the final three for the Tigers, and Pac-12 schools UCLA and Oregon appear to be the stiffest competition at this point. Lealaimatafao's already taken a trip to see the Bruins and he'll take an official to Oregon this weekend. But LSU is definitely a fast-riser after only offering him less than two weeks ago. The Tigers have made a lot of headway with this former Texas commit, and this weekend definitely continued that.
Like Speaks, LSU sold Lealaimatafao on its need at defensive tackle and its reputation for producing linemen to the NFL. But most importantly this weekend was about building a relationship with Lealaimatafao as LSU is still in its early stages with his recruitment. He'll also receive an in-home visit this weekend where LSU will try to capitalize on this early momentum and solidify its spot near the top of his board.
BUSY WEEKEND FOR DUPRE
Malachi Dupre barely had time to digest his LSU official before he was off to the next one. Dupre went straight from Baton Rouge on Sunday to Tuscaloosa to begin his visit with Alabama, but LSU likes where it left things with Dupre. The nation's No. 2 WR was no stranger to the LSU campus, and the Tigers didn't really show him anything he hadn't already seen before.
But this visit was all about reminding Dupre of the opportunities and advantages he'd have by staying in Louisiana. In that aspect, LSU feels like it hit a home run as the relationship they've built with Dupre can't get much stronger. There will still be concern through the final couple weeks as he takes the rest of his visits, but LSU enters the home stretch feeling as confident as ever about landing Dupre come Signing Day.
After this Alabama visit, Dupre is scheduled to visit Florida State (Jan. 24) and UCLA (Jan. 31) then announce on NSD.
DID LSU IMPRESS CARTER?
LSU needed to hit a home run with five-star DE Lorenzo Carter this weekend to stay in the mix, and the Tigers did all they could. Now it's up to Carter. LSU had mostly gotten this far in the cycle with Carter largely based on his relationship with Coach Haley. This weekend, the entire LSU coaching staff had its opportunity to impress Carter and sell him on what the program has to offer.
While LSU's reputation with DL will go a long way with Carter, his comfort with the program will ultimately be what decides it. The Tigers still have a long way to go in that department compared to Georgia, but LSU got off to a good start during Carter's visit this weekend. Whether or not it was enough still remains to be seen, but you can't fault LSU for not putting in the effort necessary to land Carter.
Though as of Monday morning LSU hasn't made any kind of announcement regarding its OL coach, Jeff Grimes was in fact on his new job this weekend. Grimes was on-hand Friday evening as the recruits began arriving for their official visits, and he spent a large portion of his weekend getting to know his two commits — Brumfield and Clapp. The early reports on Grimes are positive as he appears to be an energetic recruiter that relates well with the kids. He should breathe some new life into the program, and this weekend was only a test run for the week ahead.
Grimes will start hitting the trail and is expected to meet with top prospect Derrick Kelly this week before hosting him on an official visit next weekend. Grimes could be the key piece for LSU to land Kelly and they'll need all the help they can get if Florida State does in fact make room for Kelly in its class. That will all come in time though, and LSU seems to have found the right choice for its OL coach.
WHERE WAS EVERYBODY ELSE THIS WEEKEND?
LSU wasn't the only school to have a big weekend of visitors, and several Tiger targets took the opportunity to venture elsewhere this past weekend. LBs Kenny Young and Otaro Alaka each tripped to Texas A&M. The Aggies continue to grow more confident in its chances with Young and most feel that if Alaka were to flip from Texas, it would be to A&M. Alaka's expected for an official visit on Jan. 24, and Young will take a midweek trip to LSU on Jan. 27.
LSU commit Davon Godchaux made an official visit to Auburn less than two weeks after saying he was "open to all his options." Godchaux gave rave reviews to the visit and Auburn does appear to at least be a small threat to LSU. Godchaux told Scout's Jason Caldwell: "I'm 100 percent committed to LSU, but I wanted to take a visit to Auburn before I make a final decision. It's just where I fit. I fit in good with the players there (at Auburn) and I fit in with the players at LSU too." Godchaux will take an official to LSU this weekend and possibly a trip to Florida on Jan. 31.
Another LSU commit was on the road this weekend as Deondre Clark made a visit to Oklahoma. The Sooners have been a growing favorite to flip Clark, especially with his family's wishes to keep him close to home. Though Clark didn't flip this weekend as some LSU fans feared, the Sooners still have to like their chances moving forward. LSU will have its opportunity to respond though as Clark's expected in Baton Rouge for an official Jan. 24.
Some other visits from the weekend: OL target Derrick Kelly visited South Florida. DL target Malik McDowell visited Florida State. Redemptorist ATH Russell Gage visited Tulane and Florida prospect George Rushing visited Wisconsin. Neither Gage nor Rushing have LSU offers but could come into play late in the cycle.