Two of the nation's best recruits — Saivion Smith and Shavar Manuel — came to Baton Rouge together, both with family, for a weekend visit. Smith, an LSU commit and the nation's No. 1 corner, came with his father, while Manuel brought his uncle. The two are teammates at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
LSU received a commitment from Smith in February and has been a strong recruiter for the Tigers since pledging. He and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron set their sights on Manuel early in the cycle.
While Smith has been to Baton Rouge several times in the last six months, this was the first visit for Manuel. LSU gave him the red carpet treatment.
The entire coaching staff was in town to host the two five-stars. They got the full tour of the campus and facilities, also getting a chance to spend plenty of quality time with their lead recruiters — Orgeron and Corey Raymond — and the head man himself, Les Miles.
The group also made a pit stop in New Orleans on the way home for a gumbo lunch with Keith Fulton, father of LSU target Kristian Fulton, who's considered a heavy lean to the Tigers. Both Smith and Manuel got the full Louisiana experience this weekend, and there was a lot of positives for LSU during the trip.
Smith's commitment to LSU seems to get stronger as time passes. Now, LSU also seems to be rising with Manuel as well.
Florida State has long been considered the team to beat for Manuel. But based on rumblings out of the visit, LSU has at least pulled even with the Seminoles, some even hinting the Tigers have a legitimate lead at this point. Manuel rarely does media interviews, so he doesn't let much slip publicly about where he stands.
It's not expected that Manuel will make a public commitment in the near future. Florida State will also continue to press hard for Manuel, regardless of how much momentum LSU has. As one of the top prospects in the country, Manuel's recruitment will be hotly contested until National Signing Day.
But if LSU can build on what it accomplished this weekend, it's very possible the Tigers add another five-star to its defensive line. LSU already has a commitment from Ed Alexander and Glen Logan, plus pass-rushing DE/OLB Andre Anthony, Caleb Roddy, Rahssan Thornton and Erick Fowler. LSU's also solidly in the mix for top in-state guys like Rashard Lawrence and Stephon Taylor plus a handful of other out-of-state prospects.
Orgeron hopes now Manuel will be the next on board, and after this weekend, he seems to have a strong chance of making that happen.