Recruiting the Sunshine State

LSU coaches have been active in the state of Florida this week and throughout the evaluation period.

The state of Florida has long been good to the LSU football program. The Tigers have signed at least one prospect from the Sunshine State in each of the last five signing classes, and with Kevin Toliver already committed for 2015, it appears that streak will continue.

But the Tigers are nowhere near done panning that talent-rich state.

Since Corey Raymond joined the coaching staff, he's done his part to secure the LSU pipeline in South Florida, and the two newest coaching additions have stepped in as well. Bradley Dale Peveto has been a steady presence in the Tallahassee area since he came aboard, and Jeff Grimes, who's recruited nationally for offensive linemen, has spent plenty of time in Florida finding players to fit his unit.

Throughout the evaluation period, LSU has been active in Florida, checking in on some of their top targets. This week has been no different, as several of Florida's best have reported visits from the Tiger coaches.


On Thursday, LSU handed out a pair of new offers to 2016 prospects from Tallahassee.

Coach Peveto stopped by Florida A&M High School to check on DB Armunz Mathews. At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Mathews does just about everything for his team, contributing on offense, defense and in the return game. LSU will recruit him as a defensive back, either as a corner or a safety. Several coaches have been by his school this spring, including Alabama, who extended him an offer earlier this month. South Florida is also on his offer list, while schools like Florida and Kentucky have shown interest.



Coach Peveto handed out another offer Thursday while he was in Tallahassee. 2016 WR Kalen Riles picked up an offer from the Tigers, his second after Akron offered him earlier this spring. At 6-foot, 175 pounds, Riles is a versatile receiver that can fit inside and outside. He caught 33 passes for 452 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore, and his role will expand heading into his junior year as he'll get time in the secondary and even behind center.

Both Mathews and Riles figure to be two highly-touted recruits in their area, and LSU will have the advantage of being in early on their recruitments.



These two weren't the only Tallahassee area prospects LSU visited this week. On Wednesday, Coach Peveto stopped by the school of North Carolina commit Ronnie Harrison. The three-star safety has had an offer from the Tigers since February, and he visited Baton Rouge for the Spring Game on April 5. He remains committed to the Tar Heels, but the Tigers are hopeful they can flip him, and Harrison plans to camp in Baton Rouge this summer.

LSU also checked in on 2016 prospect Korey Charles, who visited LSU with Harrison. He has said the visit to Baton Rouge was the best he's taken, and he plans to return for camp this summer as well. The two aren't necessarily a package deal, but LSU expects that landing one would certainly help with the other.

Coach Grimes has also been active in the state. One of the top offensive linemen on his board is Abdul Bello from Montverde Academy, the same school as LSU basketball commit Ben Simmons. Bello picked up an offer from the Tigers in late April, and LSU was by to see him again to continue building that relationship.

Bello is still relatively new to football, which leaves many excited about his potential. He moved to America from Nigeria before the start of his junior season, and his size — 6-foot-3, 300 pounds — brought him straight to the football field. Despite only having played less than a full season of football, schools from all over the country have extended him offers, and LSU will hope they can float to the top of his list.

LSU has also been by to check on a pair of five-star prospects this week. The Tigers visited DE CeCe Jefferson, the nation's No. 4 overall prospect. Jefferson is close with Byron Cowart, another five-star DE on LSU's board, and those two have said they plan to play together on the next level. Florida is considered the heavy favorite to land both, and Jefferson said on May 7 that he thinks he already knows where he's going. But he also plans to take the process until National Signing Day, and LSU is hopeful they can get him on campus to make the full sales pitch.

The other five-star Florida prospect LSU expects to have on campus soon is WR George Campbell. The Tarpon Springs, Fla., native is expected to be in Baton Rouge for the Tigers' Bayou Picnic on May 31, which would be a tremendous opportunity for LSU to reel in one of the top receivers on their board.

QUICK HITTERS


---Another big-time receiver that could be at the Bayou Picnic is Dexter Neal (Stone Mountain, Ga. | Stephenson). LSU stopped by his school recently to see him and his teammate, DE Chauncey Rivers. Neal is committed to South Carolina, but he's said publicly that he's open to other schools, and LSU seems poised to receive a visit from him.

---OT Zach Giella committed to Clemson on Wednesday. Giella visited LSU for the Spring Game and said as recently as last week that the Tigers were his leader. But Giella did not have a committable offer from LSU. He planned to camp this summer to solidify that offer, but Clemson came through with a full offer and he jumped on the opportunity to take up the last OT spot in their class.


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