Manuel has the Tigers as one of his top four schools. LSU's in contention along with Florida, Auburn and Florida State. Manuel told Scout he'll visit Florida officially when they either play Tennessee (Sept. 26) or Ole Miss (Oct. 3). He'll check out Auburn when they play Georgia Nov. 14, and he doesn't yet have a date circled for the Florida State visit.
When Manuel returns to Baton Rouge, he'll be in the company of a close friend.
Five-star LSU commit Saivion Smith, a teammate of Manuel at the IMG Academy, also plans to visit LSU for the Florida game. He's not certain if that will be an official visit though, but he will be in Tiger Stadium for that contest. It'll be the first LSU game he's attended in person.
Smith is a big reason why LSU's a top contender for Manuel. The two visited together in late June, and that trip caused LSU to soar up his list.
It'll be a big boost for LSU to have Smith on campus again with him when Manuel takes his official visit.
Though Florida State was considered the early favorite in his recruitment, his focus has seemingly shifted toward the SEC. Manuel has said LSU, Auburn and Florida are all tied at the top of his list, and these upcoming official visits will be pivotal for each school to make its case.
LSU has loads of elite defensive line targets, but Manuel is one of the best among them. Ed Orgeron has made him a top priority since joining the LSU coaching staff, and his efforts are paying off.