Where They Stand: Defensive Ends

Defensive end remains one of LSU's biggest needs in the 2015 class, and TSD breaks down the Tigers' top targets at that position.

LSU tends to target the late deciders when it comes to defensive ends.

Two of the Tigers’ top three DEs were Signing Day decisions (Jermauria Rasco 2011, Tashawn Bower 2013). Sione Teuhema, who had a pair of sacks in his debut, didn’t flip from Texas to LSU until the final weekend before NSD. Even Deondre Clark was on the verge of flipping to Oklahoma and didn’t announce his final intentions until after NSD this past February.

This cycle doesn’t figure to be much different. The Tigers have only one DE commit thus far, and even he may be on the softer side. DE remains one of LSU’s biggest needs for the 2015 class, and today we’ll break down the Tigers’ top targets at that position.

Let’s start with that one LSU commit. Isaiah Washington made his pledge at the “Boys from the Boot” event in January, but even then he said he planned to take official visits elsewhere. Over the spring and summer Washington took trips to schools like Florida and Florida State, and now he’s starting to eye some officials.

In addition to the Noles and Gators, Washington has also expressed interest in checking out Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. He doesn’t yet have any dates locked down, so it’s still talk at this point, but LSU will have to keep a watchful eye on him to ensure he doesn’t leave the state.

With Washington being the only in-state DE LSU has offered, most of the Tigers’ attention has been spent elsewhere.

One of those top out-of-state targets is Nashville native Kyle Phillips. We covered Phillips in Wednesday’s piece on the Tigers’ targets from Tennessee, so be sure to check that out for more. To sum it up, LSU was considered an early favorite following his visit in July. Some of that momentum has worn off though, and the Tigers will need to land an official visit from him down the line to re-solidify their chances. Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn and others are still in the hunt as he plans to wait until after the fall to make his decision.

A five-star DE to keep an eye on is CeCe Jefferson (pictured above). He visited LSU back in July and said that trip really opened his eyes to what the Tigers were offering. Long considered a heavy Florida lean, Jefferson has grown more open to heading out-of-state in recent months, and LSU’s one of those schools leading the charge. He said earlier this week he might take an official visit to Baton Rouge, along with schools like UCLA, Alabama, Ole Miss, Cincinnati and Georgia. Look for the Tigers to remain a serious contender moving forward.

One name that reemerged this week was three-star DE Rasool Clemons (pictured above). The 6-foot-6 prospect visited Baton Rouge for the Spring Game in April, and following that visit named LSU his leader. But things seemed to go cold between the two parties over the summer, and he committed to Virginia about a month ago.

But Clemons spoke on the phone Wednesday night with the LSU coaches, which seems to have reopened the possibility of him being a Tiger. If LSU chooses to press him for an official visit, the Tigers could flip him before it’s all said and done.

The Tigers have at least two other defensive ends they’d like to flip — Tennessee commit Dylan Jackson and South Carolina commit Arden Key.

LSU has really ramped up its interest in Jackson lately, but he’ll be a tough sell. Jackson comes from a town just outside Knoxville and intends to enroll early. The Tigers are still working to get him to campus at least once, but they seem to be a long shot at this point.

LSU may have a better chance with Key, who visited Baton Rouge in July. Key has committed twice to the Gamecocks, and he seems firm with that decision. But LSU will remain in his ear with hopes they can parlay that summer visit into an official down the line.

Two other DE targets high on LSU’s board are four-star Terry Beckner and Josh Sweat, the nation’s best at that position. LSU’s been recruiting both prospects for quite some time, though neither has made a visit yet. Sweat has already taken an official to Ohio State with plans to visit Virginia Tech, Georgia, Florida State and Oregon. The Tigers will try to squeeze their way into one of those trips.

As for Beckner, Missouri remains the heavy favorite to land his commitment. LSU thinks they could change that though by getting him to campus, and they’re currently working to nail down an official.

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