LSU's next move after losing Stephen Sullivan

TSD's Hunter Paniagua examines where LSU football turns next at wide receiver in its 2016 class.

LSU must now work to get one of the state’s best players back in its 2016 recruiting class.

Stephen Sullivan, a four-star wide receiver ranked No. 77 nationally, announced late Sunday night that he was decommitting from LSU. Sullivan had previously been the recruit committed longest to LSU, but he has now officially reopened his recruitment.

It leaves LSU with two wide receivers committed and in a fight to get Sullivan back on board.

Sullivan’s decision shouldn’t come as a surprise. We’ve seen him have a growing interest in TCU over the last few months, and the Horned Frogs began emerging as a legitimate threat this summer. Even had he not decommitted, he still would have seriously considered everything TCU has to offer, so this announcement doesn’t necessarily change anything.

Sullivan first committed to LSU back in February 2014. The Tigers were his first offer and he didn’t waste much time accepting it. He fielded a lot more attention after that, and gave schools like Auburn and Mississippi State a look. They may reemerge in his recruitment now, but TCU is the main team to watch moving forward.

Sullivan lived in Dallas for a time growing up, and he still has family in that area. That’s helped him take several unofficial visits to TCU this summer, and he’s one of the Horned Frogs’ top targets in this recruiting class.

Sullivan did say in his message Sunday night that he still has a lot of love for LSU, and the Tigers do have a very good chance of landing him again. But even he admitted in July that it was 50/50 between the two schools, and it figures to be a fierce battle moving forward.

Cam Cameron is Sullivan’s lead recruiter, and the two have developed a strong relationship. That will be very important for LSU’s chances. Sullivan is an elite prospect at 6-foot-6 and has legitimate NFL potential. LSU has done really well to recruit wide receivers in the past couple years, and bringing Sullivan into that mix would give the Tigers even more weapons.

Sullivan also plans to be an early enrollee, so that will affect his timeline moving forward. Official visits will likely come during the season with a decision made by December.

LSU does still have two wide receivers committed in the 2016 class. Da’Monte Coxie is 100 percent solid after landing his dream offer in July. Dee Anderson is the other commit, though he was recently ruled ineligible for his senior season because of transfer rules. That won’t affect his standing with LSU though, and the Tigers are hopeful that he can enroll early.

Getting Sullivan back in the class is LSU’s No. 1 priority moving forward. There’s a chance they make that happen and close the books on this year’s wide receiver class.

But before Sullivan decommitted, there was a push to add a fourth pass catcher, and you can expect LSU to ramp up that pursuit in case Sullivan doesn’t come back.

The top two names on the board for now are Drake Davis and Mykel Jones.

Davis landed his offer at camp in July. He recently said his top three are LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. The Rebels are the team to beat right now, especially with his move to the IMG Academy, where he’ll team with Ole Miss commit Shea Patterson. LSU’s offer brought the Tigers closer to the top, but they still have some work to do this fall to bring Davis back to Louisiana.

It’s a similar story with Jones. His final three are LSU, Alabama and Tennessee with the Crimson Tide currently in the lead. Jones has a former teammate in Daylon Charlot already in Tuscaloosa, and that’s a bonus for Alabama. LSU has ground to make up, and most feel at this point that Jones is bound to head out-of-state.

There’ve been several national names LSU has tried getting in the mix with. Guys like Trevon Diggs, Binjimen Victor, Cavin Ridley, Darnell Salomon and Devin Duvernay among others. LSU hasn’t really been considered a legitimate contender for any of these players, but the Tigers will keep pushing for official visits with hopes that can shoot them up lists.

Especially now that Sullivan is back on the market, LSU will expand its search for pass catchers. But priority No. 1 is to land Sullivan once again. It’ll just be tougher than the first time around.

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