LSU keeps rising for 5-star defensive linemen

LSU's in the lead group for elite prospects Rashan Gary, Rashard Lawrence and Shavar Manuel.

The early recruiting success of Ed Orgeron is well documented.

LSU’s new defensive line coach has the Tigers in the mix for some elite recruits that may have otherwise not considered them. He’ll likely end up with one of the nation’s best DL signing classes, and the news from this past week has LSU even more encouraged.

LSU recently hit a home run of a visit with Rashan Gary, the nation’s No. 1 prospect. We also got updated top schools for five-stars Rashard Lawrence and Shavar Manuel.

We’ll break down where things stand between LSU and all three of these recruits, plus much more along the defensive line as the Tigers gear up for a busy fall.

Let’s start with Gary. He and his mother arrived Wednesday for a two-day trip to Baton Rouge. It was Gary’s second in less than two weeks, and both visits have made LSU a very serious contender in his recruitment.

It all started with that trip during LSU’s Elite Camp in late July. He made it with a coach and teammates and loved it so much that he encouraged his mother to come see it for herself as soon as possible. That’s exactly what they did, and the mother/son combo returned less than 14 days later.

The second visit went even better than the first, as LSU made a point to recruit Gary’s mother as hard as him. She saw the ins and outs of the academic support LSU will provide. She even got to sit down with some of the biggest officials on campus, like Verge Ausberry, Joe Alleva and even University president F. King Alexander.

Gary’s mother got to meet Les Mils and his family. He gave her his personal cell phone number, and LSU also had a cheering section awaiting them in Tiger Stadium, encouraging Gary to commit to the Tigers.

The visit has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from both parties, and it’s exactly what LSU needed to stick in Gary’s recruitment. He’ll soon announce a top five and schedule his official visits. LSU will definitely be in that top group and expects to get him back on campus for a game this fall.

Michigan has long been considered a favorite in his recruitment, but it’s looking more and more like Gary will head for the SEC. Auburn is right there with LSU, while schools like Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss are also in the mix. There’s a long way to go, but LSU has definitely soared up his recruitment in the last few weeks.

An LSU-Alabama battle for Rashard Lawrence?

LSU’s also near the top for another five-star, this one from inside Louisiana’s borders.

Rashard Lawrence announced his top five schools Saturday night. LSU made the cut, as did Alabama, Ohio State, UCLA and Washington. He mentioned that no schools have been ruled out, but this appears to be the group of programs he’s focused on most.

Lawrence has family in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s not a total surprise to see schools like UCLA and Washington in there. He took a trip to Ohio State early this summer and loved it, so the Buckeyes are a team in consideration.

But this continues to feel like an LSU-Alabama battle. Indications are it’s too close to call right now, and if National Signing Day was today, Lawrence would probably wait a while longer.

LSU had him on campus during camp in late July and felt optimistic after that. He’s also been to Alabama this summer, and the current leader seems to change with each visit. His recruitment will last late into the cycle, and these two rivals will fight to the bitter end for him. The Tide are no stranger to Monroe, but Coach O believes he can stop their momentum in North Louisiana. Landing Lawrence is a major priority for him.

LSU a lead school for Shavar Manuel

Another top target is Shavar Manuel. He announced his top three as LSU, Florida and Auburn with Clemson and Florida State still under consideration. He’s leaning toward the SEC though. LSU and Florida are the two teams in best shape right now, and the Tigers feel they have a leg up on the Gators.

Manuel took a visit earlier this summer with his uncle and LSU commit Saivion Smith. The Tigers weren’t considered a real factor in his recruitment until that visit, but after it, LSU soared near the top. The Tigers have maintained that momentum and are still in great shape.

It’s not just the five-stars considering LSU though.

Brian Burns continues to have LSU in his lead group. Georgia seems like the leader, but Burns may not be as ready to shut things down this summer as he originally hoped. Raekwon Davis remains committed to Alabama, but LSU and Mississippi State are more than serious threats. It still looks like an LSU-Texas A&M battle for Ross Blacklock, and Stephon Taylor still has LSU high on his list with schools like Auburn and Texas.

There are still a lot of defensive linemen available for LSU. With three five-star prospects seriously considering the Tigers, this class continues to look even more promising for LSU.

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