With spring practices ramping up across the country, that's affording the coaches a first-hand opportunity to see these recruits in action. That's led to a handful of new offers with more targets emerging on the LSU board.
One of those new offers went out Wednesday to a three-star safety LSU has kept close tabs on for about a year. Kenneth McGruder (Houston | Alief Taylor) had his first spring practice Wednesday, which attracted LSU assistant Adam Henry to his school. Henry liked what he saw and extended McGruder an offer, kicking off his spring with a bang.
McGruder camped at LSU last summer and turned in a solid enough performance to catch the Tigers' eye. They tracked him through the fall, and Wednesday's evaluation led to the offer. McGruder has mostly flown under-the-radar in his recruitment, with Arkansas, Oregon State and Utah serving as some of his bigger offers. He didn't receive his first one until January this year.
But LSU likes his game. He's a 6-foot-1, 190 pound safety prospect that moves well and can also lay a solid hit. He's smooth in coverage as well, and the Tigers like that combination in his skill set.
McGruder hasn't been back to Baton Rouge since last summer, but he plans to camp at LSU again in a couple months.
You can expect Coach Henry to spend a lot of time in Texas checking on three of the top receivers on his board. Four-stars Kemah Siverand and Carlos Strickland, plus five-star DaMarkus Lodge, are all big targets for the Tigers. Strickland recently included LSU in his top five and Lodge consistently mentions the Tigers when discussing the schools coming after him hardest.
As important as Texas is in the 2015 class, so is the state of Florida. The Tiger coaches have spent plenty of time in the Sunshine State during this evaluation period. Earlier this week, LSU offered 2017 athlete D.J. Matthews and checked in on another 2017 prospect with an offer, OL Tedarrell Slaton.
On Wednesday, the Tigers handed out an offer to 2015 OL Abdul Bello (Montverde (Fla.) Academy), who has one of the more interesting stories in this class. Bello only moved to America from Nigeria before the start of his junior year. He had never played football before, but at 6-foot-6, 300 pounds, he picked up the game in a hurry.
He only played a total of 24 quarters this past season, but college coaches quickly started to take notice. He already has double digit offers including some from SEC powers like Alabama, Florida and Georgia with other major programs like Florida State and USC in the mix. LSU hopped in the discussion Wednesday by extending him an offer.
"Cam Cameron, he's a great coach," Gibson told Scout's Amy Campbell earlier this week. "I met a lot of the players that I knew growing up. They were just telling me about LSU and how I can fit in to the school."
LSU will also see Gibson's teammate Tarvarus McFadden, one of the top cornerbacks in the nation. He hasn't visited Baton Rouge yet, but LSU's working to get him on campus as soon as possible. Even without making that trip though, McFadden has LSU high on his list, so he'll definitely be a DB to watch moving forward.
Also look for the LSU coaches to stop by Champagnat Catholic near Miami in early May. The Tigers planned to visit there earlier this week, but because the coaches and players were on a college tour, they opted to return later. LSU has offered a pair of prospects from Champagnat, the school that produced 2014 signee Travonte Valentine. 2015 TE Devonaire Clarington and 2016 WR Darnell Salomon have been offered, and a host of other prospects from that school are expected to camp at LSU this summer.
Sticking in the state of Florida, LSU visited earlier this week South Carolina commit Sherrod Pittman (Jacksonville, Fla. | First Coast). Pittman's a three-star middle linebacker that committed to the Gamecocks this past summer. With four-star MLB Leo Lewis committing to Alabama, the Tigers are still looking for linebackers, and they'd like to gauge Pittman's interest. Also at First Coast is three-star OT William Sweet, who LSU offered earlier this spring. He recently committed to North Carolina, but LSU will continue to recruit him.
Moving up north to Georgia, LSU also checked in on another prospect committed to a SEC school. Earlier this week, the Tigers visited with UGA commit Chauncey Rivers (Stone Mountain, Ga. | Stephenson), a four-star DE. He was originally committed to South Carolina, but flipped to the Bulldogs soon after they offered. He would seem to be a tough flip, but LSU's kicking the tires.
DL coach Brick Haley has spent plenty of time in Georgia during the evaluation period as he has several prospects in that state on his board. On Thursday he offered four-star DE Austin Bryant (Thomasville, Ga. | Thomas County Central), who's another highly recruited prospect in the state. He's received plenty of attention from schools across the country, so LSU has loads of competition for his services. He hasn't ruled out a summer commitment, but he may also decide to wait until after his official visits.
Another Georgia recruit LSU's checked on is three-star DT Quentez Johnson, who recently included LSU in his Top 16. The coaches have also been by to see four-star DE Natrez Patrick, who's one of several top pass rushers on LSU's board. The Tigers are currently on the outside looking in with Patrick, as his Top Five includes Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Florida, but the Tigers will work to get in the mix.
Another four-star prospect to keep an eye on is TE Jackson Harris (Columbia (Tenn.) Central). LSU visited with him Thursday as he's been one of the hotter prospects in his state in recent months. Earlier this month he narrowed his list down to 10 schools — Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Look for things to start picking up with the in-state prospects starting next week. Many Louisiana high schools will begin spring practices, so that will give the coaches to see the local talent in action.
One player in particular the coaches will visit is Helen Cox's Dion Ray. Many schools have offered him as an athlete, while several others have like him as a QB. LSU's going to give him a shot as a passer, and Cam Cameron plans to see him throw next week.