The Tigers will host 10 prospects on official visits, including four targets, two soft commits and four firm commits. Of those targets, LSU feels extremely optimistic that at least one will commit this weekend, possibly even two. Here's the full list of recruits that will be on campus this weekend, followed by all the notes and scoop to get you prepared:
DT Travonte Valentine
OT Derrick Kelly
ATH Russell Gage
WR Emanuel Porter
DE Deondre Clark (soft commit)
DL Davon Godchaux (soft commit)
S John Battle
S Devin Voorhies
WR Tony Upchurch
WR D.J. Chark
S Jamal Adams (unofficial visit)
VALENTINE ON COMMIT WATCH
The long awaited official visit of Travonte Valentine is finally upon us, and there's a strong feeling that he leaves Baton Rouge a Tiger. Sources both on the LSU side and unaffiliated with the Tigers have believed for months that Valentine was LSU's to lose, and that hasn't changed over the last couple weeks. His recruitment has always been an interesting one to follow, but things really heated up for the Tigers earlier this month. That's when he officially dropped his pledge to Miami and named the Tigers his leader.
Though the Hurricanes didn't back down once the contact period reopened, the consensus is that LSU will receive his commitment this weekend. Corey Raymond first started recruiting Valentine almost a year ago and didn't let off despite his pledge to Miami. That should pay off for LSU this weekend, and assuming he feels comfortable on campus and with the coaches, the nation's No. 2 DT should be a Tiger by the time he returns to Florida.
Throughout Valentine's recruitment there have been concerns about his academics and attitude. Though he has decommitted from three different programs, LSU is not concerned at all about his personality and feel he'll be a great fit with the Tigers. His academics also seem to be cleared up after he transferred to Champagnat Catholic this past summer to get on the proper curriculum to qualify with the NCAA. So there don't appear to be any hurdles in LSU's way should they land his commitment this weekend.
LSU enters the weekend with a significant lead for Derrick Kelly and the Tigers will hope to end the weekend with an even bigger one. After a visit with LSU OL coach Jeff Grimes earlier this week, Kelly named LSU his "top choice" according to his coach, and the Tigers have made a strong push in recent weeks to rise up his list. It all started in December when Les Miles made an in-home visit with Kelly and his family. That's when the Tigers really started to register on Kelly's radar and they haven't let off the gas pedal.
Now LSU will have a chance to impress Kelly in Baton Rouge. This will mark his first visit to the LSU campus, and the Tigers will try to ensure that he feels comfortable enough to consider committing. LSU has a major need at offensive tackle and Kelly is their primary target. The sooner he pulls the trigger the better, but that probably won't happen this weekend.
Kelly still has a visit planned for Georgia on Jan. 31, though most feel LSU has a comfortable advantage on the Bulldogs. According to Scout's Chad Simmons, Kelly isn't as high a priority for Georgia as he is for LSU, and the Tiger coaches will try to make that evident this weekend. Florida State remains in the picture as well, but tight numbers in their class will likely prevent them from making a serious run at Kelly. LSU will try to get him on board before he leaves Baton Rouge, but if he doesn't, look for something to happen as soon as he returns from that official visit to Athens.
GAGE TO GET HIS OFFER?
Redemptorist ATH Russell Gage has been on the LSU bubble since this past summer. For the last six months, Gage has been on the outside looking in, but that could all change this weekend. LSU invited Gage earlier this week to take an official visit to campus this weekend. That's usually a sign that an offer is imminent, and the Tigers do feel he'd jump on the opportunity if presented.
Gage's favorite for now is Tulane. He visited there last weekend and is very excited about the opportunity to be an early contributor for the Green Wave while also taking advantage of the excellent academics. But most feel the allure of playing for LSU and in the SEC would be too much to pass up. We should find out this weekend exactly what will happen, but it does seem likely that Gage lands an offer this weekend.
The door isn't closed on Emanuel Porter, and LSU is hoping to take advantage of that opportunity. Though he committed to TCU just last week, LSU is expecting to host Porter for an official visit this weekend with hopes of flipping this four-star WR from the Frogs. TCU was the school Porter first committed to before flipping to Texas this past summer. Once the coaching change happened in Austin, Porter began reconsidering his options, and LSU was one of the schools to come calling. The Tigers offered him near the end of the dead period, and people close to his recruitment said he's been very excited about LSU.
Will that be enough? That remains to be seen as there is a feeling his parents would like to keep him close to their home in Dallas. But there is a sense that isn't a factor in Porter's mind, and LSU will have a chance to convince him of that this weekend. Though it may be a long shot for now, a home run visit this weekend would improve the Tigers' odds of landing Porter come Signing Day.
SECURING THOSE SOFT COMMITS
Both of LSU's DL commits are considered soft, but LSU will have a chance to change that this weekend. With defensive linemen still a major need for LSU in the class, shoring up Davon Godchaux and Deondre Clark will be a primary focus for this weekend.
Clark's a bit less secure. Oklahoma has gained a lot of momentum in recent weeks because of his family's expressed desire to keep him close to home. Clark didn't flip during an official visit to the Sooners last weekend, leaving LSU with a lot of confidence heading into this weekend. Les Miles and Brick Haley had an in-home visit with him Thursday night, which should set the scene for this weekend. This a huge four-day stretch for the Tigers in their attempt to secure Clark and LSU does seem to have some reason for optimism heading into the visit.
As for the other commits on campus, there's no cause for concern there. Battle, Voorhies, Upchurch and Chark are all about as solid as it gets. Chark was on the visit list for last weekend but rescheduled it for this weekend. Jamal Adams is also expected to join this crew on an unofficial visit, his first since committing to LSU at the Under-Armour All-American Game.