The Tigers added a big commitment in the Class of 2015, while a Louisiana prospect took home the SPARQ championship for the third time in four years. Several other LSU commits and recruits stood out during the testing and drills, and TSD has a collection of notes in this roundup of the day’s actions.
Scout’s coverage of The Opening will continue Wednesday as the prospects begin their 7-on-7 competition. Stick with TSD for more on how LSU’s recruits are faring at this elite football camp.
LEWIS COMMITS AGAIN
2015 four-star CB Xavier Lewis (East St. John) was one of six recruits announcing his commitment during Tuesday’s broadcast of The Opening on ESPNU. Lewis was the third to go, forcing fans to wait more than 80 minutes to learn of his decision.
But their patience was rewarded, as Lewis pulled his hands out of his pockets while on camera, unveiling the purple and gold gloves that signified his commitment to LSU.
This was the second time Lewis had made such a pledge. His first came last fall when he and close friend Nicholas Brossette committed to the Tigers. But Lewis backed off his in February, wanting to explore all his options. The LSU coaches were more than happy to let Lewis take his time, and that trust ultimately won out for the Tigers.
Lewis cited that as a big reason he joined back with LSU, and even though he wasn’t 100 percent sure the first time around, this time he is.
"This is my final decision, and I will not take any other official visits besides LSU," Lewis said.
LSU now has four commits at The Opening, with Lewis joining Brossette, Kevin Toliver and Maea Teuhema as the Tigers’ representatives in Oregon. Lewis’ commitment pushed LSU’s full 2015 class to 13 members that now ranks No. 7 in the country.
SPARQ TITLE RETURNS TO LOUISIANA
Louisiana’s reputation for football talent is undeniable. The state sent nine players to The Opening this week — one more than it did last year — a number that trailed only big states like Texas, California and Florida. So it only makes sense that someone from The Boot would take home the title in a competition that measures the best athlete.
Destrehan’s Kirk Merritt won the SPARQ championship Tuesday night, televised nationally on ESPNU. The SPARQ measurement involves a 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and kneeling powerball toss to test the players in a variety of settings.
Merritt had one of the nation’s best SPARQ scores during the camp circuit this winter and spring. He qualified for the finals Tuesday with the top overall score, running 4.43-second 40 and 45.5-inch vertical jump. He didn’t disappoint in the finals either, defeating some of the country’s best athletes to take home the title with a SPARQ score of 148.83.
Merritt becomes the second consecutive Louisiana recruit to win the SPARQ title and the third in four years. Speedy Noil (Texas A&M) took it home last year and Landon Collins (Alabama) did the same in 2011. Now the Tigers will hope they have a bit better luck when it comes to recruiting those SPARQ champions.
Several other LSU commits and targets put up impressive numbers during the preliminary SPARQ testing Tuesday. Check the full list of results at the link below:
BROSSETTE DOES THE SHAKE
Camp settings like The Opening don’t typically provide running backs with their best chance to shine. The drills available just aren’t designed to truly test their true ability.
But the running backs still had a big day Tuesday, particularly LSU commit Nick Brossette. As this vine from 247’s Barton Simmons shows, Tennessee LB commit Cecil Cherry couldn’t quite keep up with future Tiger.
Scout’s Jamie Newberg also took notice of Brossette’s ability. He included him in his breakdown of the day’s top backs, citing his impressive size and deceptive speed.
"Nicholas Brossette (Baton Rouge, La./University Lab) had a very good day. This LSU commitment has very good size (6-0/210) and a powerful lower body build. He showed speed and the ability to catch the football, whether it was on swing routes or long routes. In fact, he had the catch of the day on a wheel route deep down the sideline. Brossette has long strides and he has sneaky, fast speed."
Brossette’s performance even stood out to a certain former LSU running back that’s now getting ready for his first year in the NFL.
Here’s an assortment of quotes and evaluations from some other top LSU commits and targets, as compiled by Scout’s team of analysts at The Opening.
---Warren Easton WR Tyron Johnson was one of the top pass-catchers Tuesday. Scott Kennedy took notice:
“Johnson never looks like he’s working that hard. All he does is catch the ball. He gets late separation if he’s covered, and he never fights the ball. He’s smooth in his change of direction, and again, makes getting open and beating his man look like second nature to him.”
---LSU commit Kevin Toliver is the best at his position, and he certainly stood out Tuesday amongst his peers at cornerback. Allen Trieu relayed his impressions:
“Kevin Toliver, the nation’s top cornerback prospect, showed his considerable upside. He got beat one on one a few times and showed his rawness a little bit, but in terms of size, athleticism, fluidity and pure physical skills, he could easily be a guy who we’re hearing his named called early in the NFL Draft in several years. It all comes down to how he continues to hone his physical skills and mental game because he’s a very gifted athlete.”
---Offensive tackle is a major need for LSU in 2015. The best at that position, Martez Ivey, has LSU on his list, though the Tigers do have considerable ground to make up. Here’s what he told Scout’s Jamie Newberg:
”Right now it’s Auburn and Florida,” Ivey said. “They are my top two schools. I am still looking at a bunch of others but those two really stand out and it will likely be the Gators or Tigers. I will make official visits to those schools and probably Alabama, Florida State and LSU.”