A pair of LSU cornerback targets committed elsewhere on Friday — one perhaps a bigger surprise than the other.
Tarvarus McFadden announced his choice in the morning, and the four-star prospect opted to stay in-state with Florida State. Though LSU had a hat on the table, the Tigers were never considered a threat to land his commitment Friday. McFadden to this point has not visited Baton Rouge, so that would obviously have made it hard to see him picking the Tigers.
That being said, McFadden continues to say he wants to visit LSU at some point despite the commitment he made Friday. We’ll see if that ever materializes, but regardless, it would seem a long shot that McFadden backs away from the Seminoles.
The bigger surprise came Friday night when East Jefferson’s Deshawn Raymond announced his decision to commit to TCU. The Horned Frogs had always been a serious contender in Raymond’s recruitment, one of the first schools to extend him an offer. Their style of defense suits Raymond well, and there’s a very big opportunity for him to play as a freshman.
He admits it was hard to turn down home-state LSU. Raymond had taken double-digit visits to Baton Rouge over the last few years, including a trip just last weekend for the Ole Miss game. Many may have thought that comfort and proximity to home would win out, but ultimately Raymond decided to take advantage of a better opportunity.
Set to enroll early, Raymond will head to Fort Worth in a little more than two months. Though LSU may continue to pursue this four-star prospect, it’s our expectation that Raymond’s made his final decision. He’s certainly at peace, and there isn’t much more LSU could show him that would change his mind, especially when you consider how loaded the Tigers already are at corner.
So moving on from Raymond, who does LSU have left at that position for the 2015 class?
Let’s first look at the Tigers’ three commits that project to play corner.
Kevin Toliver remains a five-star prospect, ranking No. 3 at his position. Toliver has been to Baton Rouge for multiple games this season, including last week’s Ole Miss game, and is absolutely firm with his pledge. Though he has taken a few official visits elsewhere this fall, we’ve received no indication that he’s wavering in his commitment, and barring some major surprise, Toliver will be a Tiger next season.
Earlier this fall, LSU added a commitment from junior college prospect Jeremy Cutrer. Though he may project to safety, Cutrer is a more natural corner and that’s where he’s played this year at Mississippi Gulf Coast. Though LSU should return all three of its top corners from this season, both Cutrer and Toliver have the ability to contribute immediately and provide even more depth at that position.
There’s also Xavier Lewis, a four-star prospect in his own right. Lewis has committed twice to the Tigers and appears firm with that pledge, though he has expressed interest in taking some official visits elsewhere. We’d be surprised though if he flips. Lewis does have the ability to play as a freshman, though I’d expect his role to be limited to special teams considering the depth ahead of him at corner.
CB Donte Jackson
Now let’s look at the uncommitted prospects still on LSU’s board.
With Raymond off to TCU, the focus in-state shifts to Donte Jackson. The Riverdale athlete has the Tigers in a dead heat with Georgia at the top of his list. It’s still far too close to call and the two teams seem to alternate for the lead each week. Jackson has been in attendance for several LSU games this season, and he’s also been to Athens to see the Bulldogs. His recruitment will likely come down to the wire, and these two teams will stage a fierce battle for his services.
If LSU can add Jackson to the three commits already on board, that would be one of the top classes of corners in the country, but there are some other big names in play for the Tigers.
Five-star Kendall Sheffield has been near the top of LSU’s board for a long time. Ever since he showed up for the Spring Game, the Tigers have been a serious contender for his commitment, and his ensuing unofficial visits to Baton Rouge since have solidified their chances. He’s expected to be in attendance for another unofficial when the Tigers play Alabama, so look for LSU to continue gaining momentum into the winter.
Another five-star corner has mentioned plans to take an official visit to LSU at some point. Iman Marshall has LSU in his final group of schools, and the Tigers’ reputation for producing defensive backs has piqued his interest to the point he wants to visit. LSU would be a long shot for him, but should that visit go well — which would likely come after the season — then the Tigers may have more legitimate hopes.
The addition of Cutrer likely lessened the odds that Justin Martin from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M ends up at LSU. But the Tiger coaches continue to recruit him, and he has said LSU was the school he grew up following. Having only spent one year of eligibility at the junior college level, Martin still has a lot of football ahead of him, so LSU does still seem open to the idea of adding another JUCO corner to this class.
There are still some other names to keep an eye on as we go through the rest of the season. Garrett Taylor recently dropped his commitment to Michigan, and he’s expected to visit LSU for the Alabama game. Ugo Amadi, an Ole Miss commit, has also mentioned the possibility of taking an official visit to LSU, and may show up for the Alabama game. Then there are guys like Holton Hill and Darius Slayton that have visited in the past, but LSU seems to not presently be in the main picture.
So to sum it all up, even though LSU missed on Raymond this week, the Tigers are still very loaded at cornerback with the potential to add even more talented prospects to the class. The lineage of DBU seems set to carry on for another generation.
Where They Stand: Cornerbacks
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