LSU kicked off the home stretch to NSD in a big way this weekend, hosting double digit visitors to campus. The group of recruits included five not currently committed to the Tigers, including key targets along both lines and one of the top in-state prospects on the board.
Be sure you check out our preview of the official visits to know what was on the line with each of the recruits on campus this weekend.
Below we’ll provide updates on how the visits went on what it means for the Tigers’ chances. Let’s start with the five recruits not committed to LSU:
---Everyone wanted to see how Ed Orgeron would do in his first major opportunity to recruit for LSU. By all accounts, he was a superstar. Orgeron played host to two key targets along the defensive line — Arden Key and Prince Tega Wanogho. Orgeron’s biggest impact probably came with Key.
The former South Carolina commit came to Baton Rouge with his entire family after meeting Coach Orgeron on Thursday. Because Brick Haley led his recruitment up until last week, it’s absolutely vital that his replacement builds that same solid relationship to keep LSU in the hunt. Orgeron did that and then some. The Key family fell in love with Coach O, and that could be what sets the Tigers apart.
Key’s scheduled to take an official visit to South Carolina next weekend. Auburn could get him on campus Jan. 30, but after his visit to LSU, the Tigers are likely the team to beat. Key makes a final decision on Feb. 2, and as Coach O gets more time to lure him in, LSU should see that lead grow more substantial.
Coach O was the main reason why Wanogho made it to campus in the first place. His visit to Wanogho’s school on Thursday sealed the deal for this weekend’s official visit and got LSU in the chase with several other schools. This was Wanogho’s first official visit to kick off what will be a crazy couple of weeks. He came to Baton Rouge with his coach and LSU feels they set the standard other programs must meet.
Wanogho, who just recently reclassified to the 2015 class, won’t decide until a couple weeks after NSD. So LSU will need to continue riding this momentum with in-home visits over the next month.
---Pine wide receiver Derrick Dillon came to Baton Rouge with his entire family, so LSU got a great opportunity to sell him on staying close to them and playing for the Tigers. That’s the biggest feather in LSU’s cap as they try to flip him from Florida. And as the only non-lineman (excluding commits) in town, that freed Cam Cameron and Adam Henry to spend a lot of time with him.
That’s huge as Dillon’s role in the offense is another key factor in his decision, and LSU made sure that he knows exactly how he’d fit. By all accounts, he liked he heard, and the Tigers are optimistic they can pull off the flip. He will take one last unofficial visit to Florida before making a final decision, but this weekend was big for the Tigers’ chances.
---Jeff Grimes hosted a pair of offensive linemen this weekend — Zach Robertson and Chidi Valentine-Okeke. Both players came alone though, so LSU will need to really use the in-home visits to come to sell those people around each recruit.
Robertson’s an Arizona State commit, so LSU already had a tough task in getting him to flip. Distance from home (he’s a California native) will also play a part, so it’s still probably a long shot that the Tigers can land Robertson when it’s all said and done. But according to the four-star prospect, LSU really impressed him with this visit. Not only did Grimes leave an impression, but even Coach Orgeron, who recruited him at USC, played a part in selling him on the Tigers. If any school can flip him from Arizona State, LSU appears to be the biggest threat.
Valentine-Okeke does have a former teammate in Baton Rouge (Travonte Valentine – no relation), so that does help LSU in terms of comfort. He does also know Prince Tega Wanogho (a fellow Nigerian), so that helped both recruits feel a bit more at ease in Baton Rouge. LSU will remain in hot pursuit for both of these offensive linemen, and after this weekend. the Tigers may just have a shot with both.
---In addition to these five targets, LSU hosted six commits on campus — Derrius Guice, Jazz Ferguson, Adrian Magee, Maea Teuhema, Bry’Kiehton Mouton and Isaiah Washington. All remain very solid with the Tigers and will sign with LSU barring some shocking change.
---LSU also had a top target in the 2016 class on campus Saturday. John Broussard made the trip down from Alabama for an unofficial visit. He has family in Louisiana and has said that LSU was the school he followed growing up. Corey Raymond really hit it off with Broussard, and that relationship should continue to help LSU’s efforts. He’s definitely one to watch closely in that junior class.
---Stay tuned for more coverage to come from these visits as we’ll attempt to gather interviews and get the first-person experience of the weekend.
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