Five-star defensive tackle talks summer hoops, The Opening
By: Billy Embody
Scout's No. 1 defensive tackle in the country Marvin Wilson was busy with summer recruiting visits, competing in The Opening and running with Texas Elite on the adidas basketball circuit. For Scout's No. 10 overall player, it's all about having fun with the team he's played with since he was 14.
"It's just having fun to come out here with my boys and chilling out for the rest of the summer," Wilson said. "The game goes pretty fast. It's different than football where you get a quick hit and five-second break. This is just constantly running and going on so it's good conditioning stuff. It'll help me with my footwork and stuff like that to be able to move at all times."
Before he hit the hoops circuit, Wilson went out to Oregon where he competed in The Opening, which was a life-changing experience for the big man to go up against some of the best players in the country.
"That was probably the best experience of my life. I got some of the best coaching I got and got to go against some of the best guys — guys I don't get to go against all the times — to really measure up against top talent," Wilson said. "I enjoyed going up against Wyatt Davis and Cesar Ruiz. It was a good battle going up against them every time."
After the Fab 48 Tournament in Las Vegas, Wilson headed out to USC and UCLA to see what life on the west coast would be like for the defensive tackle and both schools impressed Wilson.
"The trip was absolutely amazing. I never been to LA before and I was just blown away by everything. The city, the campus, and the facilities it just caught me of guard. The visits left a huge impression on me."
Where that leaves USC and UCLA in the grand scheme of things for Wilson's signature is one thing, but one school that just won't back off is LSU.
"Every day. I got a text from the whole coaching staff over the last few days just saying good morning and stuff like that," Wilson said. "They wanted to see how I'm doing and stuff like that. Just checking in."
Alabama is also hot on the trail for Wilson and his best friend and LSU commit Tyler Shelvin, who is also being courted by Alabama.
"They just got coach Dunbar, a guy from the league. That's a place where you want to go so you can go there and get coached up by him. Some of my good friends are already committed there and are real keys to my recruitment."
Texas closed extremely well for their 2016 class and Wilson is close with a few of those now Longhorns, but is impressed with their improvement and momentum.
"I like the 4-3 more because I can get more 1-on-1s especially if I can get a key guy and have another dog on the opposite side of you. They got to pick your poison really. If you double-team me, he'll get the sack. If you double-team him, I'll get the sack," Wilson said. "It's just real good to have a program that's on the rise right now. You've got to wait and see what they do this year, but if they have a good year, that'll really push them up in my recruitment."
A couple schools that are farther away, but made Wilson's top 10 are Ohio State and Florida State, schools he has a good bond with.
"Ohio State really stands out to me a lot. Coach Urban Meyer and them have a really good group coming. Florida State isn't far away and coach Brewster is one of the best recruiters in the nation and can really build that relationship with you. He's a people guy. Those are two schools that have really made an impression on me."
Les Miles, Bradley Dale Peveto and Ed Orgeron are all spearheading the recruitment of Wilson, who's a player that can really do it all in LSU's defensive scheme.
"They just like how I get off the ball and know how to plug the hole real well. I can still flip my hips and get off on the pass rush too. I don't just play two downs, I play all three downs," Wilson said. "Every time I go there, he's (Orgeron) just trying to coach me up and he really is a d-line guru."
Miles though is a key selling point along with Orgeron and Shelvin.
"If I go to LSU, I don't see myself playing for nobody else, but coach Miles. Without coach Miles, there's no LSU really. I like LSU with coach Orgeron being one of the best developers and Tyler Shelvin already being there. That's what separates them and one of the best coaches to do it with."
At The Opening, there was plenty of recruiting being done by all the players in attendance, with Bama and LSU commits working Wilson pretty well.
"Jhamon and others were hitting me up and we're real cool with them. Alex (Leatherwood) would always come knocking on my door and it'd just be like the Bama boys are in here. He never stops recruiting," Wilson said. "I talk to Tyler (Shelvin) all the time especially in a camp together. We're workout partners. We always know we're going to make each other better. He's so big and gets off the ball. Both of us together sounds great."
Wilson expects to visit LSU in the near future if he can squeeze in a visit before the season starts. The recruiting process, while busy, has been everything Wilson has wanted.
"I've been having fun with it. It's been one of the best experiences. It's everything it was hyped up to be. It never gets stressful or anything like that."
Wilson is prioritizing early playing time, a good journalism major and where he can see his family coming to visit. Wilson sees himself on TV following his playing days.
"I like doing interviews and stuff like that. Just getting behind the camera and knowing about sports. Even if I go to the league and retire, I can be on CBS and stuff like that."
Wilson will announce his decision on National Signing Day. He plans to take his five official visits to schools that might be farther away and said that if a school doesn't get an official, it doesn't mean they're out of it.
2018 4-star OL building relationship with LSU
Wayne McGahee III
By: Billy Embody
2018 Warner Robbins (Ga.) Houston County offensive lineman Deontrey Hill has been talking with LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes for a few months now and recently, Grimes offered Hill a spot in LSU's 2018 class. Grimes has made a solid early impression on Hill too.
“He said he wanted to offer me a scholarship and to come up and visit him to see how the campus and campus life is,” Hill said. “I think he’s a great coach. He’s energetic and can get someone to the NFL.”
LSU likes Hill’s footwork, hands, how he moves around and his size for their guard spot, but he’s versatile enough to be getting attention at tackle and guard from other schools. LSU's offensive style fits well with Hill's abilities.
“They’re real physical and like to play smash mouth football and run the ball down your throat.”
Hill doesn’t have any top school just yet and is hearing from Ohio State, Miami (Fl.), Texas and Texas A&M as well. Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and Alabama among others will get visits this fall.
As far as what he's looking for in a school, Hill wants a school that has a good balance of everything for him.
“Some family vibe, that fits my physicality and what I want to major in too,” the 6-4, 325-pound lineman said.
Hill plans to get over to LSU to catch a game this fall, but doesn’t have a date set yet. Michigan, Michigan State, Auburn, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisville and any other schools that have offered Hill could expect visits too.
This summer, Hill has worked on his strength with hopes of improving his overall game.
“I’ve been just working on my strength and my craft. There’s a lot where I can improve at, but I can probably improve on run blocking.”
If Hill makes it to The Opening, he’d like to announce his top schools there and then go from there, but doesn't have a firm timeline on his recruitment.
In-state linebacker wraps up busy summer
By: Billy Embody
2017 Southern University Lab (La.) linebacker Chris Allen has been to Alabama and LSU this summer among others and while LSU appears to hold a slight edge, Allen is getting plenty of pressure from the Tide.
With Tosh Lupoi and Jeremy Pruitt recruiting him for the Tide, he's seeing how he could fit in that defense following his visit.
“They just told me that they want me to come play for them. Coach Tosh is just an upfront guy. I feel like if I come there, I’ll be ready for anything,” Allen said. “It just gave me a better feel of the coaches.”
Cam Cameron is leading the way on recruiting Allen, who continues to build a relationship with the hometown staff.
“I’m from there so I’ve already seen quite a bit, but I’m basically there to do the same thing - get a better feel for the coaches.”
Cameron is pushing Allen on the chance to play in front of his hometown.
“He’s telling me to come be a Tiger and come play for your home school. My home is right up the road.”
Dave Aranda brings a 3-4 to LSU's defense and Allen is going to be watching closely how he could fit into that scheme.
“I really haven’t seen it in action really so I’m waiting to see how they’re going to play. I don’t mind a 3-4 though.”
Allen sees a potential NFL future ahead of him and he would like to get to the school that can best help him get there.
Allen plans to take official visits to Alabama and Florida, but doesn’t have dates set. He plans a decision late in his senior year.
Miami (Fla.), Mississippi State and Michigan are also standing out to the Scout four-star linebacker.
2019 offensive lineman knew he’d commit on LSU visit
By: Billy Embody
2019 Southern University Lab (La.) offensive lineman Kardell Thomas had a feeling he was going to commit to his hometown Tigers even after a great visit to Alabama just days before.
“My father told me that I was going to dominate and what am I going to do when they ask me to commit, that’s when I told him I’d probably commit. That ended up happening,” Thomas said. “It feels great. I got so much love from the fans and everything. Even Tiger fans in California were telling me they love me.”
Thomas did dominate at LSU's camp in July and then he committed to LSU following his discussion with the LSU staff. Alabama and LSU both put on a show for Thomas and his family.
“It was a great experience going to both of them because I got the same love at LSU and Alabama. I’ve been feeling like LSU was going to be the move for me since the eighth grade,” Thomas said.
Alabama sold him on being a future Hall of Famer potentially and the staff gave him their full attention.
“They compared me to Larry Allen because of the way my jam was and they gave me the feeling like they wanted me just as much as LSU did. I really liked vibe I got from coach Saban and coach Burton. That’s what I really liked about them.”
The whole package had Thomas certainly high on Alabama.
“Their facilities, the way coach Saban talked about grades, the tutors and the graduation rates, that had me liking Alabama.”
Thomas camped with LSU on his first day visiting, but the second day Thomas hung out with the staff and players. That first day on the field, Thomas dominated and built a bond with line coach Jeff Grimes that helped move the Tigers ahead of the Tide.
“Coach Grimes is a great coach. That made me commit too. The vibe that he and me shared was great. My performance was great. I didn’t lose one 1-on-1 and that’s what made coach Les Miles really like that and I was just a monster.”
Miles told his family about LSU's ability to graduate players and then told him about him where he sees his career going at LSU.
“He told me and my mother their graduation rate and that LSU needed me there. He would love it if I’d be a Tiger,” Thomas said. “He compared me to Trai Turner and he said he was a real special player.”
The trump card for Thomas to commit to LSU was the proximity to home and just how long LSU has been recruiting him.
“Just being close to home and them treating me like family. They’ve been recruiting me since the eighth grade when I camped and coach Cam recruiting me everyday, it just made me feel like where I need to be.”
LSU's offense will likely open up their passing game a little bit more this year, but they're still a smashmouth football team and that's what Thomas loves.
“I just like how they like to pound the ball and like last year, I feel like I can help them move the ball. That’s why my coach moved me to guard because of my speed and ability to get to the second level to clear everything out. That’s what I feel like I can do at LSU.”
Thomas plans a return trip to LSU this fall and will get to experience Tiger Stadium, something he can't wait to be a part of.
“It means a lot because no fans are better than the Tigers fans so it’s just going to be amazing.”
Scout’s No. 2 tight end has high LSU interest
© Greg Powers
By: Billy Embody
2018 Ridge Point (Tex.) tight end Mustapha Muhammad just got back from Mexico with his family for a little R&R, but before that, he had one busy summer with camps and a couple college visits.
UCLA and Michigan got visits from Muhammad this summer and while he also wanted to make it to LSU and Miami (Fl.), he'll just have to wait. Muhammad is high on the Tigers and is ready to get back to LSU.
“I’m sure I’ll go to one of the games this year. I like to go to LSU and visit. Their stadium is always really loud. I’m going to try and go to the LSU-Alabama game.”
Coach Cam Cameron saw Muhammad at a Rivals Camp where his son was competing at and eventually got into contact with Muhammad, who then received an offer from Cameron on a visit.
“He invited me down to Baton Rouge and I got to see the facilities. I had been there before many times, but I hadn’t visited everything. We got there and met in his office and that’s where he offered me.”
Muhammad hasn’t talked with Les Miles since a camp at LSU in eighth grade, but wants to talk with him again the next time he’s in town visiting and says he's always been impressed by Miles.
“It was great. That was the first head coach I met at the college level and he seemed like a great guy. He’s a real players coach.”
Cameron and Bradley Dale Peveto are recruiting Muhammad, who can be the versatile tight end the Tigers need.
“I talked to him and coach Peveto a little bit. They like that they can move me around and I can play receiver and tight end.”
Everything LSU brings to the table has Muhammad high on the Tigers and being able to develop as a tight end even more will be a plus.
“I love Tiger Stadium and I like the Tiger on campus and it impressed me a lot more than some of the other schools I’ve been to. I like a school that uses the tight end position well. I want to hit the field as soon as possible and I’d like the university to have a good education as well."
The best of the best is in on it for Muhammad's signature, but there's still a long way to go and plenty of visits.
“LSU is high on my list along with among other schools. UCLA, Michigan and I’m definitely going to have to get to Miami. I want to visit Ohio State and Notre Dame. Anyone else who is recruiting me hard, I’d like to show them love too.”
The 6-4, 230-pound tight end wants offers from USC, Stanford and Michigan State as he hones in on his junior season.
Muhammad has been working on his strength and speed this summer so he can get better in his route running and blocking too. He isn’t sure on a timeline of a decision, but might decide before his senior year.
IMG Academy wide receiver talks LSU commitment
By: Billy Embody
2017 IMG Academy (Fla.) wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon had LSU atop his list since he was a kid with the Tigers being his favorite team and now, he's committed and planning to head off the LSU next fall to make his dream a reality.
"It's been exciting. It's my favorite school and I'm from around that area, my family is down there. Being able to go to the SEC and LSU, I can be developed the right way and in the best way," Ausbon said. "That's the exciting part about it. I can't even believe it and it's a dream come true. I've been wanting to do this since I was a kid."
Ausbon's family is excited to have him so close to them and be able to catch his games.
"They were so happy they're going to get to go to all my games. I'm glad they get to go to my games now."
LSU receivers coach Damayune Craig took the lead on Ausbon's recruitment and impressed him with his attitude and ability to develop players.
"He's a straight up guy and he just told me what it is. It sounds cliche, but I could tell a difference with my experiences with him. He's put a few guys in the league so I want to be coached by somebody who's been there. He can teach me the position from the quarterback's side of things. He can also teach me how to be a man off the field."
Les Miles has also made an impression on Ausbon by how involved he is in his recruitment process.
"I love coach Miles. He's a cool head coach. Some head coaches are kind of aloof during the recruitment process, but coach Miles is all-in. He's a family guy and all that. I love him."
Ausbon has admitted that Texas A&M is still in the running for his signature, but he'll make it back to LSU for the Missouri or Ole Miss game he says, which would give him an even better look at LSU. Ausbon is in awe of Tiger Stadium.
"Some schools have a lot of things, but LSU has Tiger Stadium and it's so surreal. The history behind it and everything."
Ausbon enrolled at IMG Academy in Florida for this year and has been putting in serious work. Even with all the attention on his team, Ausbon says the team works as hard as anyone.
"It's crazy. We had a boot camp recently. People see all the stuff and attention, but I swear, literally we work the hardest. Our schedule every day is literally a 12-hour schedule. Straight meetings, football, school, conditioning. It's no so sweet, it's crazy. It's real busy. It's like college and you compete."
"Me and Grant talk about it a lot because I'm from Houston with him. I didn't know for sure he was coming, but he's from New Orleans. As far as Dylan, he's a pretty quiet guy. He doesn't say much so we don't really talk about it that much. That's pretty much it. I'm working on Cesar Ruiz and guys from Houston like Marvin (Wilson) and K'Lavon Chaisson. There's not much you have to sell, but I just get on them every time I see them."
As far as his season at IMG, he's not focused on himself, but rather his team goals.
"I just want to win. Not personal goals, but team goals. I want to prove people wrong. I want to show that we're all that we're hyped up to be."
Ausbon plans to major in Geology so he can find and mine oil after his playing days are over.
2019 guard picks up LSU offer
By: Billy Embody
He may be a two-sport star, but 2019 Denton (Tex.) Guyer two-sport star De'Vion Harmon has been getting some attention this summer with a couple major offers in LSU and Oklahoma, but is also getting high-major attention from other schools on the hoops front.
LSU is one of the schools to get in on Harmon’s recruitment early on. In addition to LSU, Texas, SMU and Oklahoma State are standing out so far while OU and Texas A&M are going to get visits later from Harmon.
“I visited Texas and I love Texas. I love Shaka Smart,” the 6-2, 185-pound guard said. “Oklahoma State was a great visit and I’m looking forward to getting to OU.”
This summer, Harmon ran with D1 Premier and he said the team really started to hit on all cylinders in June and July.
“Our coach always tells us it’s not about the team in March, it’s about the team in June/July in eval period. It’s going great. I think my game is coming back. I’m getting more and more of my swagger back. After this, it’s just getting ready for high school season.”
Harmon says coaches including LSU's Charlie Leonard like his motor, competitiveness and ability to get to the basket.
“Coach Leonard told me that he really loved me and my game. He liked that I’m real competitive and a high-motor guy and how I use my strength to get to the basket and finish at the rim,” Harmon said.
Leonard is LSU's director of basketball operations has made a good impression on Harmon early on.
“I love coach Leonard. He’s a good guy. He wants LSU to be my dream school and then he offered me. He told me that they love me as a kid and a person and that they’d love me to play at LSU.”
LSU putting Ben Simmons at the No. 1 draft spot for the NBA draft was a huge deal for Harmon in the grand scheme of things.
“That’s good. He’s a No. 1 draft pick by the 76’ers. We talk about that all the time. They produce great NBA players and you can be a star in the NBA.”
Harmon plans a visit during football season and wants to find out more about LSU's academics.
“Just trying to see how they are from an academics standpoint and then what they expect out of their basketball players. I want to see how they work and everything,” Harmon said.
Oklahoma and UT-Arlington have offered while Arizona, Arizona State, Texas, Baylor and Texas State have shown interest.