Reviewing LSU's in-season official visits

LSU hosted 10 official visitors during the regular season. With no more home games left on the schedule, TSD reviews the recruiting impact from those big recruiting trips

LSU’s home schedule came to an end last weekend, meaning no more gameday visits for the Tigers on the recruiting front.

Those official visits will resume the weekend of Dec. 5, which is shaping up to be a big one for LSU, with several big-name out-of-state recruits set to check out Baton Rouge. But before we start looking ahead, we want to take a quick look at what’s already happened.

LSU hosted 10 official visitors during this season, including three commits and seven top targets, six of which came from outside Louisiana. Let’s discuss the impact of those visits and examine where the Tigers now stand in those recruitments.

Dylan Jackson | Maryville, Tenn. | No. 112 DE

Jackson (pictured above) has been committed to Tennessee since January, but LSU has led a big charge to flip him. He served as the Tigers’ first official visitor this season, coming to the Kentucky game last month. That trip materialized because of the efforts made by defensive coordinator John Chavis and director of player personnel Austin Thomas, who has connections to the Tennessee area. Jackson hasn’t said much publicly about that LSU visit out of respect to the Vols’ coaches. He appears very firm to Tennessee, but Scout’s Danny Parker reported last week that Jackson no longer intends to enroll early. He claims it’s because he wants to finish the year with his classmates, and while that’s probably true, it will also give LSU more time to work him. It seems likely he’ll stick with Tennessee, but he’ll be one to watch closely through the month of January.

Jerry Tillery | Shreveport, La. | No. 20 OT

Tillery made several visits to Baton Rouge this football season, one of which was his official. He took it during the weekend of the Ole Miss game and was seen celebrating wildly with the students during that infamous field storming. That wasn’t the only highlight of his trip. Les Miles led Tillery on a personal tour of the state capitol building, as the intelligent youngster is a history buff. That kind of one-on-one attention speaks volume to the effort LSU is putting in trying to flip Tillery from Notre Dame. There’s also a feeling that his parents would rather have him closer to home, and that’s certainly starting to weigh on him. Intending to enroll early, he’s running low on time to make a final decision, and LSU’s confidence has never been higher they can land the state’s best lineman.

Kyle Phillips | Nashville, Tenn. | No. 12 DE

Phillips is another defensive end from Tennessee LSU has recruited very heavily. He took his official visit for the Ole Miss game and returned two weeks later for an unofficial during the Alabama contest. Those consecutive trips have LSU brimming with confidence about landing this four-star pass rusher. Many considered the Tigers his leader after the summer, though Tennessee, Ole Miss and Alabama joined LSU at the top of his list through the early parts of fall. Now that Phillips has been on campus twice in such a short span, especially with LSU’s need for defensive ends, the Tigers are feeling like a leader once more. He wants to commit somewhere by December, so these next few weeks will be vital, and LSU likes its chances.

DE Kyle Phillips

Justin McMillan | Cedar Hill, Texas | No. 48 QB

McMillan was one of three LSU commits to take his official visit during the season. McMillan attended the Ole Miss game, spending an entire weekend getting to know the players and building an even stronger relationship with Cam Cameron. He will enroll early, so McMillan will officially be an LSU Tiger in a little less than two months. His influence will be felt with his five-star teammate, whom we’ll discuss next.

DaMarkus Lodge | Cedar Hill, Texas | No. 3 WR

Lodge and McMillan have connected many times on the field for Cedar Hill HS, and those two took their official visits together during the Ole Miss game. LSU has been a legitimate player in his recruitment since he decommitted from Texas A&M earlier this fall. Having McMillan as an influence certainly helps the Tigers’ cause, but the five-star pass catcher may be looking for a better fit offensively. %%MATCH_25%% and Ole Miss are two schools mentioned most often near the top of his list, but there’s a very long way to go. He doesn’t plan to announce his decision until National Signing Day, so by the time he’s ready to shut things down, McMillan will already have been at LSU for about a month. Maybe that relationship proves fruitful for the Tigers.

David Ducre | Mandeville, La. | No. 36 RB

Ducre was the lone visitor on campus during the Tigers’ bye week. That visit came at the request of running backs coach Frank Wilson, who wanted to spend more personal time with Ducre and his family. The four-star prospect will enroll early, and the LSU coaches see him taking over Kenny Hilliard’s role as the team’s hybrid running back/fullback.

LB Malik Jefferson

Malik Jefferson | Mesquite, Texas | No. 1 OLB

The No. 2 overall prospect took his official visit to LSU this past weekend. The Tigers have made a very big push for Jefferson as they attempt to address a desperate need at linebacker. Long considered a heavy lean to Texas A&M, Jefferson seems to be opening up a bit to other schools. With Texas another legitimate contender, LSU feels they’d be his choice if he opted to go out-of-state. Planning to enroll early, Jefferson doesn’t have much time left, giving the Aggies more confidence they can land him. LSU hopes to get one more unofficial visit from Jefferson before it’s all over, as his dad wasn’t able to join him on his official (his mother did come with him though). The coming in-home visits will also be crucial as LSU continues rising up the board of this five-star linebacker.

Matthew Burrell | Woodbridge, Va. | No. 10 OT

Burrell has been one of Jeff Grimes’ top offensive line targets since he joined the LSU coaching staff. The Tigers have always been on the outside looking in, until this past weekend when they finally brought him to campus on an official visit. Burrell had hinted before that trip that he was ready to announce a decision between Ohio State, Penn State or Tennessee. The LSU visit was an absolute home run though, and the Tigers now seem to be squarely in the mix with those other three schools. Burrell really enjoyed the family atmosphere he felt with the other offensive linemen, especially after spending a Sunday dinner at the Grimes household. At the very least, LSU gave him something to think about, and that has the Tigers more confident about landing him than they did before the weekend.

Kevin Toliver | Jacksonville, Fla. | No. 3 CB

Toliver was the third LSU commit to use his official during the season. This five-star’s been committed to LSU for more than two year, and his visit this past weekend reaffirmed everything he loves about the Tigers. Though Toliver had taken some visits elsewhere, there was never much of a threat he’d leave the Tigers’ class, and he’s now more solid than ever. Much like McMillan, he’ll have some influence on the recruiting front, and we’ll get into that with our next visitor.

William Sweet | Jacksonville, Fla. | No. 21 OT

LSU has been a serious contender for this North Carolina commit since his first visit this past summer. Toliver, a fellow Jacksonville native, has been in Sweet’s ear ever since, and that’s kept the Tigers firmly in the mix. His official visit this past weekend has LSU even more confident they’ll eventually pull off the flip. With the Tar Heels not having the best season, LSU seems an inviting destination for this four-star offensive lineman. Bradley Dale Peveto and Jeff Grimes have led the recruiting charge, and it’s growing more and more likely he winds up in the Tigers’ class as another impressive lineman.

OT William Sweet


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