The Tiger coaches hosted 10 prospects on official visits this weekend, including four of LSU's main targets and two commits that needed a little shoring up. By all reports, LSU did exactly what it needed to this weekend and hit a home run with every recruit that made the trip.
Here's the complete list of recruits that visited Baton Rouge this weekend, followed by all the notes and scoop on what this weekend meant for LSU recruiting:
DT Travonte Valentine
OT Derrick Kelly
WR Emanuel Porter
ATH Russell Gage
DE Deondre Clark (soft commit)
DE Davon Godchaux (soft commit)
S John Battle
ATH Devin Voorhies
WR Tony Upchurch
WR D.J. Chark
S Jamal Adams (unofficial)
NOT SO SOFT ANYMORE
Neither one of LSU's defensive line commits entered the weekend as a firm commit, but exiting the visits, the Tigers feel much better about their chances of keeping each one. The big victory was gained with Deondre Clark and his mother Dorshell. The Tigers rode the momentum gained from the in-home visit with the Clarks on Thursday night into the weekend. Though weather prevented them from getting to campus until Saturday morning, the coaches made a supreme effort to show what kind of care Clark would receive in Baton Rouge. Selling his mom on LSU was the big goal for this weekend, and it appears for now like mission accomplished.
Clark posted numerous times on social media that he felt at home at LSU, and indications after this weekend are that his mother does as well. That should be enough to keep Clark in this class, but nothing is certain yet. Oklahoma will still continue its hot pursuit until pen meets paper on National Signing Day. But if NSD were today, the indications are that Clark would sign with the Tigers.
That same confidence applies to Davon Godchaux after this weekend. Though the four-star lineman visited Auburn last weekend, multiple sources feel that Godchaux will stick with the Tigers come NSD. He tentatively had a visit set to Florida for Jan. 31, but don't be surprised if that trip doesn't happen. But even if it does, look for Godchaux to reaffirm his commitment to LSU on NSD.
EYES ON SIGNING DAY FOR VALENTINE
NSD should be a big day for LSU's defensive line as Travonte Valentine is now eyeing that date for his commitment. The Tigers entered the weekend with all the confidence that they will land Valentine when it's all said and done. Many felt that he would go ahead and pull the trigger with his commitment after the visit, but that did not happen. Instead he told the staff he's going to wait until Jan. 5 to go public with his decision.
LSU has every reason to look forward to that date after the success of this visit. The Tigers really made him a priority and even had fellow Miami native John Battle lead the recruiting efforts. Battle and Valentine shared the same flights both going to and returning from Baton Rouge. That's a lot of quality time for Battle to share and the LSU pledge told TSD that he's confident Valentine will be his teammate on the next level.
Sources would agree with Battle as it's been indicated that Valentine's mind is made up and LSU will be where he commits eventually. Valentine has a visit tentatively scheduled to Miami for Jan. 31 to give the Hurricanes one last chance to pull him back. But few are expecting that visit to happen and most feel Valentine will shut down his recruitment until NSD. If that proves to be the case, that's obvious good news for the Tigers, who now appear set to land the nation's No. 2 DT.
TIGERS SNEAKING UP ON TCU FOR PORTER
LSU has its eyes on a late flip after Emanuel Porter's visit this past weekend. Though the four-star WR committed to TCU just one week ago, the Tigers feel they're trending in the right direction after his time in Baton Rouge. Porter hasn't said much publicly about where the Tigers rank in his recruitment, but sources close to him have said he's been highly interested in LSU since they offered late in the dead period.
LSU's made Porter a high priority since then and every intention of taking both him and Malachi Dupre if possible. We'll see if LSU continues to ride this momentum long enough to pull off a late flip from the Horned Frogs, but early indications are that LSU's in a position to attack. The next week will be pivotal as TCU will undoubtedly come hard to protect their standing, but look for LSU to continue aggressively recruiting Porter to join their class.
GRIMES, KELLY HIT IT OFF
LSU entered the weekend as the leader for OT Derrick Kelly, and there's no reason to think that's changed. New OL coach Jeff Grimes spent nearly all of his weekend getting to better know the Tigers' top OL target. The two first met late last week when Grimes visited Kelly at school. Grimes brought with him to LSU a reputation for being an energetic recruiter and he's proven that in his first week on the job.
Last weekend Grimes got his feet wet with commits Garrett Brumfield and William Clapp during their official visits. This weekend Grimes was selling Kelly on the program to which he just arrived, and early reports are certainly positive. To no surprise, Kelly didn't commit this weekend but he could be approaching a final decision very soon. He has a visit scheduled to Georgia for Jan. 31, but the Bulldogs are playing catch up to LSU at this point. The Tigers have made Kelly a very high priority, and he's really taken to that along with the opportunity in LSU's depth chart. If he does visit Georgia next weekend, look for LSU to land his commitment shortly after he returns from Athens.
NO MOVEMENT ON GAGE…YET
As of Sunday night, TSD had not received any indication that LSU had extended a committable offer to Russell Gage during his visit this weekend. The Redemptorist ATH still finds himself on the outside looking in for now, but the Tigers did get an opportunity to explain where he fits in their plans. LSU does not intend to take more than one more defensive back in this class, which is where the LSU coaches see Gage fitting.
The Tigers' top priority in the secondary is Adoree Jackson, and LSU still feels it's in the mix for that five-star prospect. The Tigers hoped they picked up some momentum late last week when they made in-home visits with both Jackson and his parents. They'll meet with him again this week as we approach crunch time in his recruitment. Jackson's eyeing either USC or Florida for his final official visit next weekend, and most feel it's down to one of those two schools for his commitment. But if Jackson's recruitment has been one thing it's unpredictable and LSU will still make a hard push for him.
Look for LSU to sit on Gage until they have a better understanding of where Jackson will end up. In the meantime, Gage is likely going to hone in on Tulane, who leads in his recruitment at this point. There are some that feel Gage may take the Tulane offer even if LSU comes calling, but that remains to be seen at this point. But with only a short time remaining, we should find out soon if LSU has intentions of trying to bring Gage into this class.
WHERE DID EVERYBODY ELSE GO?
LSU wasn't the only school to host big visit weekends: LB Kenny Young took consecutive visits to Arkansas and Oklahoma State. He returned to Louisiana on Sunday night and will head to LSU for his official visit. He'll be in Baton Rouge until Monday night…RB Darrel Williams took an official visit to Tennessee. Though the Vols are selling this LSU commit on a better opportunity for playing time, LSU feels confident that he will stick with the Tigers…DT Trey Lealaimatafao took an official visit to Oregon. The three-star prospect was at LSU last weekend for an unofficial visit and the Tigers are one of three favorites with Oregon and UCLA. He'll announce on NSD…Florida State had a big weekend and hosted a pair of five-star LSU targets in WR Malachi Dupre and DE Lorenzo Carter. Dupre has said it was one of his best visits ever and the Noles are one of four finalists for Carter. Both prospects will announce on NSD…Ole Miss commit DT Breeland Speaks reaffirmed his commitment to the Rebels during an official visit to Oxford. He took a trip to Baton Rouge last weekend but the Tigers are no longer in consideration.