Billy Embody - SCOUT

Tiger Bites Aug. 26: Inside Everything LSU

Come inside another edition of Tiger Bites: Inside Everything LSU with the latest team and recruiting notes and updates.

LSU commit is 100% and ready for state title run

By: Billy Embody

When 2017 Lutcher athlete Jontre Kirklin decided to commit to LSU, he knew it was because of the family feel and he hasn't wavered from that especially with his high school team looking for him to lead them.

"100 percent committed. I haven't really been concerned with all of that. I have a lot of stuff on my plate right now because as the quarterback, everybody is looking to me to do all these things for us to go back to the state championship."

It's a dream come true for Kirklin to head to LSU and he's excited to get to school next year.

"LSU is home. Everything about LSU, I love. It's my hometown. It was a dream come true and I've been watching LSU my whole life," Kirklin said. "I love it down there and the atmosphere. It just feels like home for me. It sends chills through my body. When you look back, you never would have imagined being there, but you just thank god for the opportunity."

Jabbar Juluke and Corey Raymond have continued to recruit Kirklin as an athlete and while LSU will likely move him to defensive back, the staff is leaving an outside chance they use him in some packages as a receiver.

"They see me as a No. 1 draft pick or something. I'm a hard-worker. I don't stop. The only time I stop is if the whistles blow," the 5-11, 170-pound athlete said. "It could be more threats for the offense and the entire team (if I was on offense). Some of my challenges would be just learning the defense and things like that."

Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins, who is in his first year after leading St. James last year, coached Kirklin in his eighth grade year and says he could play anywhere.

"LSU is getting a dynamic athlete that could play quarterback at the next level. Now, he's not the prototypical size, but you've seen guys like Greg Ward at Houston do well. He's a freak athlete with a lot of ability," Jenkins said. "There's no doubt in my mind that he can play in the secondary, but he's pretty special with the ball in his hands."

LSU running backs coach Jabbar Juluke has built a strong relationship with Kirklin as well.

"Me and Coach Jabbar, we talk all the time even if he just sends me quotes and stuff to keep my head up and keep working on my books," Kirklin said.

Kirklin attended LSU's recruiting barbecue this summer and got a chance to bond with a current commits and also push his current teammate and Scout three-star receiver Al'Dontre Davis to commit.

"Everything was great. We were trying to get some of the recruits to commit and get more of that Louisiana family in there. We were telling them all the good things about LSU," the three-star athlete said. "Mostly like, no one is going to treat you better than your hometown. I don't know what they're going to do for you, but nobody is going to treat you like your hometown is. He's (Davis) trying to let the process play out until Signing Day."

The likely physical therapy or sports management major says it'd be special to be the first team to win back-to-back state championships at Lutcher and to be the quarterback that does it will take attention to detail.

"It was a big deal for me to be a junior quarterback and do that. I'm trying to be the first one to go back-to-back. No other quarterback has gone back-to-back," Kirklin said. "Just the basics. Trying to get the simple things and the chemistry right. I've been working on reading coverages and getting the ball to my receivers to get better. Everything has been the same. We're just getting out there and getting everything right."

Jenkins says keeping Kirklin motivated isn't an issue, but he's got to play with an edge.

"I thought he played with a chip on his shoulder. Now, obviously trying to find that edge again. He's by far our starter," Kirklin said. "Jontre needs to be the best Jontre he can be because when he is, there's very few as good as him."

LSU eyeing local basketball standout at tight end
Billy Embody - SCOUT

By: Billy Embody

2017 UCF commit and East Ascension (La.) defensive end Justin Harris is comfortable with his commitment to UCF, but that isn't stopping LSU from looking at him as a potential tight end for the Tigers. Ed Orgeron and Cam Cameron have both been in constant contact.

"He (Orgeron) likes me a lot and he's telling me I could be real good as a freshman," Harris said. "Coach Cam, we talk every day. He told me he wanted me to be a Tiger. I think they want me more as a tight end than defensive end, but it depends on what I do this upcoming year."

Cameron likened Harris to San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, also a former basketball standout. The two talk daily and Cameron said to watch for an offer.

"My athleticism coming from basketball. He feels like I can go up and get jump balls and my speed for my size," Harris said. "He told me to keep working and that it's coming soon. He's more of a people person. Outside of being a coach, he's a real cool person. I like him a lot."

Harris went to LSU's game last year against McNeese State, but it was cancelled. Still, LSU feels like home.

"The coaches, the players, the facilities and the people. It's great."

UCF sees Harris as the Knights' version of the Buck linebacker and he committed to Scott Frost and the new staff there as he felt at home in Orlando.

"When I took my visit, I just felt like it could be my next home. The coaches and the surroundings, I really liked it a lot. I really felt like they didn't have a couple good seasons and at first, I didn't look into it because they had changed staffs, but they got a whole new staff and I like that. It's a new beginning for everybody."

Houston, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Georgia and LSU will all get visits from Harris this fall. Keep it on Tiger Blitz as we follow LSU's developing search for a tight end in the 2017 class.

No. 1 SG in Louisiana talks flood, LSU interest

By: Billy Embody 

2017 Madison Prep (La.) shooting guard Josh Anderson has had a lot going on recently with his summer of hoops, but especially with the flooding across South Louisiana. Anderson and his family saw his house flood and losing three cars in the flood.

"Everything is replaceable. It got up to four feet. Me and my mom are staying at her brother's house," Scout's No. 50 overall player said. 

With some schools looking at Anderson as a point guard and some as a shooting guard, he displayed the tools to be a point guard at the next level. His strengths including getting to the rim and his mid-range game, but is also working on consistency in his shot.

"My summer was kind of crazy. I kind of blew up some more. Some coaches saw I could score the ball, but also play defense. That's really what I showed this summer," Anderson said. "I was more aggressive on ball defense and I got more solid as a point guard. That's really where I improved is handling the ball."

LSU, Western Kentucky, NC State, Baylor, Texas A&M and SMU have shown a lot of interest in the four-star guard.

"Just how aggressive I am with the ball. They're just telling me how they like me attacking the rim and my athleticism. They like how I play both sides of the ball. Being 6-5 and being able to handle the ball, I feel like I can be a point guard."

LSU has built a strong relationship with Anderson early on in his recruitment and that stems from Johnny Jones and Anderson starting that a while ago.

"Johnny Jones has been talking to me and Coach Kirby. I've known Coach Jones for a while now — since the eighth grade. We have a good relationship. We talk about a lot of things outside of basketball."

For Scout's No. 4 shooting guard in the country, being able to play in his hometown would be pretty special.

"It's home. Me being born and raised in Baton Rouge. When I was younger, I was always watching LSU play. It was kind of like a sign to be able to play in front of your home and your family. I think it'd be a great opportunity for my mom to be able to come to my games."

LSU having the No. 1 overall pick this year in Ben Simmons was a signal of how far the program has come.

"It just shows what all they're doing at LSU. Ben Simmons can play the 1, the 3, the 4. I don't know how to describe it. He had the ball in his hands most of the time."

One of the two other schools standing out is NC State (the other Western Kentucky) and Mark Gottfried has built a strong relationship with NBA contacts being in North Carolina.

"With NC State, It's in one of the elite conferences in basketball. They get to go play Duke and North Carolina and all those big-time schools. Coach Gottfried said their schools is 15 minutes from Duke and North Carolina so NBA teams come through there all on one trip."

Anderson plans to take his official visits and decide in the spring.

"Right now, I still haven't taken any of my official visits. I'm going to take a few of them and then see what's going on. After basketball season, I'll make my decision. I would say the main school that are standing out are LSU, NC State and Western Kentucky."

Three-star wide receiver has LSU in the mix
Billy Embody - SCOUT

By: Billy Embody

2017 Lutcher wide receiver Al'Dontre Davis has put recruitment on hold while he and his teammates make a run at a state championship.

"I'm just excited to have fun, get back to a state championship and then go play college ball," the 6-2, 200-pound receiver said.

This summer, Davis worked hard on the little things in his game in order to have the best possible senior year.

"I've been working on my craft and getting better. I've been working after practice to get better on my blocking, my speed and my catching," Scout's No. 2 wide receiver in Louisiana said. 

LSU, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia, Kansas and Texas A&M are some of the schools that are coming after Davis the hardest, he says. LSU had extended an offer earlier this year and likes Davis' size.

"They say I'm a big receiver and I can go get it," Davis said. "I talk to them often. I really like it out there. I bleed purple and gold and there's nothing like home."

LSU's deep receiving corps is something that has impressed Davis in a way, but he feels like he can be a deep threat for the Tigers.

"They have strong receivers and I feel like I can fit in there when they need to get the ball deep for a play. I can go get it," Davis said.

At Lutcher, all the receivers compete with each other in one of the deepest receiving corps in the state.

"We have one of the best receiving corps around so we feel like we can go really far with it," Davis said. "We just have to do the same as last year and keep participating and trying to get everything done together like family."

Davis is going to Texas A&M to watch the UCLA game and then also plans visits to Tennessee and LSU. He's got a few things he's looking for in the schools he's eying. 

"I'm looking for the education and to compete for a championship and to fit in for four years there."

2019 guard getting major attention with LSU offer

By: Patrick Engel

A wave of high-major attention this summer yielded a lot of high-major offers for 2019 Houston Westbury Christian shooting guard Charles Smith IV, and LSU was among them. 

The offer came after an unofficial visit to LSU earlier this summer, where Smith and his parents met head coach Johnny Jones and assistant Robert Kirby.

“We’d gone on a Baylor visit already and an Oklahoma State visit, and when we went to LSU we really thought a lot of it,” said Smith’s father, Charles III. “(LSU guard) Antonio Blakeney was there and Charles kind of knows him because they have the same trainer out of Atlanta. He really liked his visit.”

Smith IV’s parents grew up LSU fans and Smith’s dad attended a few games during Shaquille O’Neal’s college career there, so the younger Smith had some familiarity with the school going into the visit.

“He liked being on the campus, seeing all the players,” said Smith III. “He just liked Baton Rouge and he’s been there a bunch before. And with coach Jones and the staff, he just really related to everybody well.”

The elder Smith admitted that the LSU offer was special, even with all the other high-major attention.

“When we got LSU, for me personally that was really cool,” he said.

Baylor, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Oklahoma State, Tulsa and TCU have offered Smith IV, with UCLA, Texas and Oklahoma showing a lot of interest now. Sooners head coach Lon Kruger said he wants the family to come up on an unofficial soon.

“That’s a big one,” Smith III said of Kruger. “Most people don’t know that he coached the Hawks and that he’s an NBA guy. He makes pros.”

In addition to LSU, the Smiths visited Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Tulsa. 

The 6-foot-5 Smith IV is mainly a two-guard who possesses a high-level shot and good passing ability for the position. As a 15-year-old rising sophomore, he played AAU this summer for Texas Boys Athletic Club 17U.

2018 quarterback takes in LSU camp

By: Billy Embody

2018 San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills quarterback Jack Tuttle went on a spree of visits this summer and one included LSU, where he was impressed by LSU.

"My family and I had a blast down there in Baton Rouge and we really enjoyed our time. Being down there, hanging with Coach Cameron and Coach Miles and attending the camp to see the way he coaches and being able to throw in front of him, seeing the stadium, putting on the jersey, it was all pretty cool."

LSU had offered in May, but at the camp, Tuttle ran a 4.73 40-yard dash, which showed his athleticism as well as his ability to sling it.

"Coach Cam and I talked football and just the way he coaches things. His mindset really impressed me and the way he goes about doing things. I can see why he's had so much success," the No. 15 quarterback overall in 2018 said. "Coach Cam said throwing it well is very important so they really liked how I threw the ball and I'm athletic. I've got the attitude and ability to lead, which I showed that at the camp."

Cameron had started building a relationship this spring when he came out to visit Tuttle.

"Coach Cam flew all the way out to watch practice. Flew out for two days and we had talked and hung out. When my family and I came to Baton Rouge, we hung out with Coach Cameron almost the whole time. We're starting to build a relationship and that's really important."

Head Coach Les Miles also spent a lot of time talking with Tuttle and his family, who was selling him on the Tigers' year in, year out chances to win national championships.

"Coach Miles appreciated us taking the time to come to Baton Rouge and we loved the trip. He told me he'd love to coach me and he's got the guys to win a national championship. I think we're starting to build a really good relationship."

Tuttle is impressed with the way LSU roles in different sets and schemes based on the personnel the Tigers have, which reminds him of his high school. 

"I believe I can fit in that system. We've got a similar system at my high school where we adapt to the personnel in order to win. LSU has great athletes everywhere," Scout's No. 166 overall ranked player in 2018 said.

San Diego State, Nevada, Utah, Washington State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Colorado, Missouri, Arizona State and Nebraska have all offered Scout's No. 4 quarterback in California, who is bound to pick up even more offers with a strong junior season. With that said, it's all even.

"It's even right now. My family and I are just trying to evaluate things this summer and see what schools may fit us. I'm looking for a school that is able and ready to win a national championship. A school that has a great family and a coaching staff I can build a bond with."

After a busy summer, Tuttle is now ready to go after a state championship with his teammates.

"Every single year, we're extremely dialed in and want to win a state championship. We're already in the mindset of championship, championship, championship."

2020 offensive lineman talks first two big offers
Photo by Danny Parker ©?

By: Billy Embody

Only a freshman, Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic offensive lineman Bryn Tucker has already received his first two offers from Tennessee and LSU despite only being a freshman.

"It's such a blessing and an honor to receive two big-time SEC offers and one of the top 10 best schools in the country," the 6-5, 295-pound offensive tackle said.

Tucker had camped in Nashville and impressed LSU coaches, who then decided to offer.

"I showed out pretty well and they saw the way I worked and moved so they decided to look into me more," Tucker said. "LSU was one of my top schools growing up."

While Tucker hasn't talked with LSU coaches too much yet, Tennessee has gotten a couple visits from Tucker and has begun building a relationship with offensive line coach Don Mahoney and head coach Butch Jones.

"I just call them (Tennessee) sometimes. I'm allowed to call once a week and keep in contact. Tennessee is my hometown school and I'm blessed to receive two offers from my favorite teams," Tucker said. "I have one of the recruiters (Austin Thomas) numbers and I talk to him every now and again."

LSU being the first to offer was really special for the 2020 lineman.

"It's real important that had recognized me super well and the work I've been putting in the offseason and football season. It's really great for them to notice me."

This season, Tucker is focused on improving the little things in his game.

"I got a good first step power and I can move guys back five yards. I move well and I keep my feet moving. I don't stop in a run blocking or pass blocking," Tucker said. "I'm just trying to be a good leader for my team. I'm trying to learn some of the plays still and improve my footwork and everything."

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