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 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 10 targets.
Last month's ratings are in (parenthesis)
FA = First appearance
WR Tyron Johnson – Ben: 7.0 (6.5), Hunter: 6.5 (6.0)
Since our last batch of confidence levels, Johnson has narrowed down his recruitment to 10 schools. LSU made the cut along with programs like Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Clemson among others. That marked the first significant cut to Johnson’s long list of suitors, and while LSU’s inclusion may have been assumed, it does have the Tigers feeling even more confident about landing Johnson. Schools with high-powered offenses serve as LSU’s biggest threat, and Johnson will have a close eye on how these teams produce during the season. Still, Johnson has a lot of respect for the LSU coaching staff and the comfort there should push the Tigers to the top.
WR Kirk Merritt – Ben: 2.0 (3.0), Hunter: 1.5 (2.5)
Merritt seems to be the top in-state prospect most likely to leave the state. He hasn’t showed as much interest in LSU as Tigers fans would probably like, and you can see our confidence level lowering as we enter the fall. He has started to have a change of heart in terms of what position he’ll play in college though. He’s previously seen himself as a running back, and now he’s leaning more toward wide receiver. LSU’s depth chart is more favorable at that position, so that might raise the Tigers’ status in his eyes. But the consensus opinion for now is that Merritt will leave Louisiana for college.
CB Donte Jackson – Ben: 5.0 (5.0), Hunter: 5.5 (5.5)
DB Deshawn Raymond – Ben: 7.0 (7.0), Hunter: 7.5 (7.5)
Not much has changed in the last month with LSU’s top two in-state DB targets, as reflected in their confidence levels holding steady. Both Jackson (pictured above) and Raymond have said they want to primarily focus on their senior seasons and will mostly put recruiting on the back burner this fall. Tracking the visits they make this season will give a decent indication as to where things stand. LSU and Georgia remain the top two contenders for Jackson, while the Tigers are still considered a heavy favorite for Raymond. LSU feels they’re in great shape for both and would love to continue adding to its stellar class of defensive backs.
WR George Campbell – Ben: 3.5 (5.0), Hunter: 3.0 (4.0)
A final decision from Campbell should come within the next month. He’s narrowed his recruitment to three finalists — Florida State, Florida and LSU. As the lone out-of-state program still in contention, the Tigers are still very much a factor here, but most of the momentum has him staying closer to home. LSU felt they made a big impression on him for his Bayou Picnic visit on May 31. Since then though, Florida State has risen and is the favorite heading into his decision. If LSU can get him on campus once more before he decides, then the Tigers’ chances could increase, but right now they’re an underdog with time running out.
DE Kyle Phillips – Ben: 6.0 (3.5), Hunter: 6.0 (3.5)
Phillips is the biggest riser in this edition of confidence levels. Our last batch came out shortly after his visit during LSU’s Elite Camp in July. The Tigers were feeling confident after that trip and that’s grown in the last month. Phillips has said his two trips to Baton Rouge have really opened his eyes to LSU, and those close to him have given the indication the Tigers have a significant lead in his recruitment. He isn’t in a hurry though and doesn’t plan to make a final decision until after the season. Ole Miss is considered the biggest threat to LSU with home-state Tennessee also in the mix. But if his recruitment came to an end today, most would figure LSU to be the choice.
CB Kendall Sheffield – Ben: 3.5 (3.5), Hunter: 3.5 (3.5)
Sheffield’s confidence level holds steady at 3.5, but that’s a relatively high number considering how early it still is in his recruitment. Sheffield has double-digit schools high on his list, but a pair of visits to Baton Rouge since the spring has the Tigers feeling very confident about their chances. He also plans to make the short trip over to NRG Stadium on Saturday to take in the Tigers’ season opener against Wisconsin. Ranked as the nation’s No. 1 corner, Sheffield’s interest in LSU stems from their DBU reputation, and the Tigers have solidified that by building a strong relationship with him. Texas A&M would seem the other early favorite, but there’s still a long way to go before he makes a decision.
ATH Jaason Lewis – Ben: 2.5 (FA), Hunter 4.0 (FA)
Lewis is the first of three targets debuting in this batch of confidence levels. The four-star athlete from Virginia came to Baton Rouge for a five-day visit in July. Those close to him said that trip made a big impression on Lewis, and the Tigers are firmly in the mix for his commitment. With things cooling between Kirk Merritt and LSU, Lewis has emerged as the offensive weapon firmly in the Tigers’ sights. He’s focused on four other schools — Arizona State, UCLA, Ole Miss and Miami — with a decision to come September 25. LSU feels confident heading into the final month before Lewis makes the call.
CB Iman Marshall – Ben: 2.0 (FA), Hunter: 1.5 (FA)
Marshall appears on this list after announcing that he plans to take an official visit to Baton Rouge during the season. Another five-star cornerback with interest in the Tigers, LSU has the potential to reel in some very big names at that position. He’s also high on nearby USC, UCLA and Stanford, and plans to also visit Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame and either Texas or Oklahoma. His recruitment will go all the way to Signing Day, so this will certainly take several more twists and turns.
CB Justin Martin – Ben: 3.0 (FA), Hunter: 3.0 (FA)
This junior college prospect picked up his LSU offer at camp last month, capping off a big summer. He has said that LSU was one of his favorite schools growing up, and that DBU prestige has left a big impression on him. He’s received plenty of SEC attention from schools like Florida, Tennessee and Ole Miss. He plans to take some official visits in December with a decision to follow those trips. It’s early, but Martin is definitely another defensive back with which LSU has a legitimate chance.
OFF THE LIST
Two LSU targets have come off the board since our last batch of confidence levels. TE Bry'Keithon Mouton committed to the Tigers on the same day the last levels were released. His ratings read 8.0 and 8.5, so the Tigers were certainly the heavy favorites leading into his decision. S Roney Elam had ratings of 5.0 and 5.5 about two weeks before he committed to Texas A&M. Most felt it was a toss-up between those two schools, and it was very close, but the Tigers ultimately lost out to the Aggies.
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: Holton Hill, Darius Slayton, Will Gragg, CeCe Jefferson, 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.
LSU continues to recruit Tillery very heavily. He's also taken notice of the academic scandal that's recently plagued Notre Dame, possibly giving the Tigers another opening to lure him to Baton Rouge. Charlot originally scheduled to visit LSU earlier this month, but switched his plans at the last minute for another trip to Alabama. He seems unlikely to flip.