Using a 1-10 scale, 10 being the highest, the TSD staff will clue you in with their feelings on each prospect's recruitment. We’ll update the confidence levels on the first Friday of each month until National Signing Day.
These numbers aren't just coming out of thin air either. Based on rumblings we've gotten from both the players and LSU staff, these confidence levels should reflect how the Tigers feel at this point.
Below is the breakdown on LSU's top nine targets.
WR Tyron Johnson – Ben: 6.5, Hunter: 6.0
Johnson remains the No. 1 ranked prospect in Louisiana, and he’s equally high on LSU’s list of priorities. He showed exactly why last week, emerging as one of the top wide receivers through the three-day camp. His stay on campus afforded the LSU coaches plenty of one-on-one time with the four-star wide receiver, allowing him to grow more comfortable around the program. His dad, who manages his recruitment, also has a strong relationship with Frank Wilson and Adam Henry, and that’s helped the Tigers feel like family for Johnson. He’s also tight with most of the other big names out of New Orleans, which LSU hopes will serve as the foundation for another stellar in-state class. These are all signs pointing in favor of the Tigers, but plenty of competition remains. Texas Tech still seems the biggest threat, and he plans to start narrowing down his list through the fall. LSU feels they’re in great shape though and their confidence should grow in the coming months.
TE Bry’Keithon Mouton – Ben: 8.0, Hunter: 8.5
Mouton could very well be the Tigers’ next commit when he announces his final decision Monday at 11 a.m. during a ceremony at his school. Mouton has narrowed his focus to four schools — LSU, Alabama, Miami and Ole Miss — and said, as of Thursday night, that he hadn’t yet made a decision. But the Tigers hold a significant advantage here. He was on campus last Saturday for the final day of LSU’s camp, giving them the final look before his decision. Of his three other finalists, he’s only visited one — Alabama in June — and that should be a big sign pointing the Tigers’ direction. LSU envisions Mouton as a pass-catching tight end that can also contribute as an H-back out of the backfield. That versatility has made him a big target for LSU, and he seems poised to be a Tiger when he announces Monday.
ATH Kirk Merritt – Ben: 3.0, Hunter: 2.5
Merritt’s probably the one in-state prospect that’s caused the most unease among the LSU faithful. Though LSU considers him the best athlete in Louisiana, Merritt has seemed very willing to take his services outside the state. Part of his exploration elsewhere has had to do with where he’d fit in certain offenses. He primarily sees himself as a running back first, and with the Tigers having Nicholas Brossette, Derrius Guice and David Ducre already committed, he may not want to join such a crowded backfield. That being said, Merritt still hasn’t really narrowed down his list and continues to rack up big-time offers. Oregon and Texas A&M are two schools that have made big pushes for him. He doesn’t plan to make a final decision until late in the cycle, so all schools involved have plenty of time to make their pitches. But at this point, it seems more likely that he winds up heading out-of-state.
CB Donte Jackson – Ben: 5.0, Hunter: 5.5
One of the fastest players on LSU’s board, the Tigers have big plans for Jackson in their defensive backfield. He was one of the top corners at last week’s camp, going toe-to-toe with some big-time wide receivers. Jackson has remained very high on the Tigers since they offered back in the spring. That was a big time for Jackson, as he racked up several big offers in just a few week’s span. Jackson continues to mention both LSU and Georgia as the two schools atop his list. The Bulldogs are a legitimate threat, but staying close to home will likely factor heavily into his decision. As he’s gotten comfortable on LSU’s campus through several visits this spring and summer, LSU’s grown more and more confident that one of the state’s best DBs will stay in Louisiana.
DB Deshawn Raymond – Ben: 7.0, Hunter: 7.5
LSU offered Raymond during the Bayou Picnic on May 1 and immediately became the frontrunner in his recruitment. He made it no secret that offer was one he desperately wanted, though he still intends to take his time with his recruitment. TCU and Mississippi State have been the two schools he’s regular mentioned near the top of his list along with LSU. He was in Starkville last month for their camp, and he’s also made trips to Fort Worth to check out the Horned Frogs. Raymond says he wants to take his official visits and make his decision after the season. But regardless of when he does make that call, LSU is the clear favorite at this point.
S Roney Elam – Ben: 5.0, Hunter: 5.5
Elam’s another top LSU target with a final decision likely coming soon. Elam was on campus earlier this week where he had a chance to spend a lot of quality time around the Tigers’ coaches. That was his second visit to campus — first coming for the Bayou Picnic — and that has the Tigers feeling confident about their chances to reel in this East Texas athlete. Texas A&M seems to be the biggest threat. He’s set to visit College Station next week and plans to make his final decision then. This one still seems like a toss-up between these two SEC programs, which is reflected in our confidence levels. Either way, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer to learn his destination.
ATH George Campbell – Ben: 5.0, Hunter: 4.0
Campbell was at one time considered a five-star receiver. His stock has dropped some, though he’s still widely considered one of the best athletes in the country. Some schools, LSU included, have even entertained the idea of playing him on defense as a safety. Either way, he’s still highly sought after, and LSU seems to have as good a chance as any. Earlier this week he unveiled his first top ten list, and LSU made the cut along with schools like Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Clemson, among others. LSU had him on campus for the Bayou Picnic, and the Tiger coaches continue to build a very strong relationship with him. Many have even started predicting Campbell will eventually end up with the Tigers, though it’s far too early to say for sure. LSU does seem poised to receive an official visit from him, which would go a long way in solidifying their chances.
DE Kyle Phillips – Ben: 3.5, Hunter: 3.5
Phillips has made a pair of visits to Baton Rouge within the last two months, making the Tigers one of the early contenders for this four-star defensive end. Phillips is one of John Chavis’ top targets on the defensive side. A Nashville native, Chavis has closely tracked Phillips for quite some time and the relationship between those two has really blossomed through the spring and summer. Nearby Tennessee and Ole Miss are two schools mentioned regularly in his recruitment, but LSU will remain in the hunt throughout. Look for him to return for another visit this fall, which would go a long way for the Tigers.
CB Kendall Sheffield – Ben: 3.5, Hunter: 3.5
This five-star corner has been on LSU’s campus twice since early April. Sheffield keeps his recruitment very close to the vest, never releasing any top schools or favorites. Though the in-state schools Texas and Texas A&M like their chances, LSU has to be considered very much in the mix. Visits speak louder than words, and the Tigers have certainly been encouraged by him making two trips to Baton Rouge in recent months. He’s also checked out Alabama and Florida State this summer, so there’s plenty of competition for his services. But look for LSU to ride this early momentum through the fall and late into the cycle, when Sheffield plans to decide.
ON THE CUSP
Not all of LSU’s remaining targets are included in this batch of confidence levels. There are still several recruits that have visited LSU recently, but we aren’t quite ready to assign them a value. We’ll keep a close eye on these names through the fall to gauge how legitimate their interest is in LSU: Jaason Lewis, Justin Martin, Holton Hill, Darius Slayton, Will Gragg, CeCe Jefferson, Rasool Clemons, Leo Lewis.
We don’t assign confidence levels this early in the cycle to prospects committed elsewhere, but there are certainly some worth mentioning. We’ll be watching these prospects as each one has visited LSU recently despite being pledged elsewhere: Jerry Tillery, Jamal Peters, Daylon Charlot, William Sweet, Arden Key.