TIGER WRAP: A look at the defense

Editor's Note: Welcome to another weekly segment of the Tiger Wrap where Tiger Rag Recruiting Analyst Sonny Shipp will give a recap of last week's hottest recruiting news and inside information on some of the Tiger's hottest prospects like Avery Atkins, Justin Mincey, Dajleon Farr, Neefy Moffett, Matt Hardrick, Patrick Trahan, R.J. Jackson, Vince Oghobaase and more. <br><br> Make plans to subscribe now. This is the last edition of our free trial period for Tiger Wrap.

It looks like Avery Atkins has reaffirmed his commitment to Florida. I spoke briefly with Avery and the distance factor is his biggest obstacle. The feeling I get is that his high school coach is pushing him to Gainesville but I think LSU still has a remote chance. I am taking a couple of things into consideration when I say that.


One, Hurricane Charley just devastated Daytona Beach and the area a couple of weeks ago and anytime a devastating event like that happens it can have a big affect on a life-changing move for a 17-year-old. Once thing settle down and get back to normal in that part of the country I think he may consider following his heart. From the conversations we had his heart seemed to be a lot more in favor of the Tigers than the Gators. When he left the LSU camp in July he was so jacked up on the Tigers and coach Saban. Avery was talking about trying to make every LSU home game this season and never once did he refer to heading to the Swamp on his days off other that his official visit.


The other reason I think LSU may still have a shot is because he had nothing but praise for Saban and Kirby Smart (DB coach). Once again, Zook's name never even came up and I can assure you I asked him plenty of questions about Florida and Zook. How well Florida does this season will also play a role at the end.




Stacey Dean of TheInsiders.com spent an afternoon with the No. 1 tight end in the country Dajleon Farr and here are some of Dean's thoughts on how the Tigers rank with Farr's top choices.


 "Based on the time I spent with Dajleon a few weeks ago I really think LSU is the leader at this point in time even though he wouldn't say it," said Dean. "His mom really wants him to go to LSU and that is her school of choice, though he did say it will be his decision. He comes from a single-parent home so her opinion means a lot to him. His mom wants him to stay close to home and his girlfriend who is a junior this year wants him to go to LSU because that is where she is going. Of all of the coaches recruiting Dajleon, Travis Jones is the coach he likes the most period. Dajleon told me Jones is the coolest coach and most down to earth guy."


Dean did say that Texas and Oklahoma will be the Tigers' stiffest competition and to keep in mind that both are also pretty close to home.




Justin Mincey, one of the top defensive ends in the South, had said earlier that he was going to visit LSU officially but now he is saying he will probably give the Tigers a visit. He said he had a top six and LSU did not make the cut but Miami, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee and Alabama did.


"I haven't eliminated LSU I just don't know much about them," Mincey said. "I know they won the SEC and the national championship but that is it. They are probably going to get a visit though."


Mincey has not had much contact with the LSU coaching staff since the May evaluation period but when coaches can start calling recruits again in September I expect LSU will crack his top tier of schools.


The team to watch here is Florida because Mincey went to Gainesville three times over the summer and lists Florida as one of the three schools he is leaning to along with Georgia and Miami.




Winter Park (Fla.) Edgewater offensive tackle Matt Hardrick lists the Tigers and Florida State as his two leaders with LSU having a "slight edge".


I asked him what the biggest difference was between LSU and the Seminoles and he replied, "I'd have to say the coaching staffs. Nick Saban and the rest of his staff are good. They are real humble and down to earth."


Now, that is not to say that he doesn't think FSU's coaching staff is good because Bobby Bowden is one of the best college coaches of all-time. However, Saban is in his prime while Bowden may be on his way out in a couple of years.


The thing Saban will have to overcome and I know you hate to hear this again is the distance factor. Hardrick has friends at FSU and it is a lot closer to Tallahassee than it is to Baton Rouge.




While we are in the Sunshine State I will give you some things from my interview with Palm Bay's talented linebacker Neefy Moffett.


Moffett said he is focusing on seven schools (LSU, FSU, Miami, Ohio State, Texas, Oklahoma and USC) with four official visits already decided on (LSU, Miami, FSU and Ohio State). He said, "All of those schools are pretty much the same," but he spoke more highly on LSU and Miami than the others.


When Moffett was at Saban's camp in July he got to spend a lot of time with the Tigers' players and said he really enjoyed hanging out with Amp Hill, E.J. Kuale, Early Doucet, Herman Johnson, and LSU's trump card, Xavier Carter.


If LSU lands Moffett then the "X-man" deserves a lot of credit because he is doing his best to get his longtime friend to the Capitol City.




St. Augustine's Patrick Trahan told the Auburn website that Auburn is his leader as of now. I know for a fact that Trahan would like to go to LSU and a big reason is he lives in Baton Rouge with his family. The LSU staff likes Trahan but the big question is where would he play in LSU's system? He plays defensive end for St. Aug at 6-1, 200 pounds but is more of an outside linebacker. He has the size of a safety but the speed (4.6) of a linebacker so that is the dilemma right now. He has a verbal offer from Saban and I think if he gets one in writing to make it official then he will be wearing purple and gold in college despite his latest remarks.




With Barrington Edwards heading off to North Carolina the Tigers could be looking for another running back because Saban loves having a deep stable of backs for the pounding they take in the SEC.


Houston's R.J. Jackson is one the coaching staff really likes and he will make an unofficial visit to Baton Rouge for the Oregon State game next week.


He definitely took notice of Edwards' departure and has LSU as one of his leaders with Texas and Oklahoma State. "It opens things up a little bit but anywhere you go you are going to have competition," said Jackson. Spoken like a true competitor.


Jackson's mother will have a big say in where he plays his college football and from the sound of things it could come down to a Texas/LSU battle.


"My mom really likes coach Saban and Mack Brown," R.J. said. "She goes back and forth with those two coaches because she likes them both a lot. That is big because she is tough to impress."


When I asked R.J. if he knew of any other guys from Texas making the Oregon State game he said no but he was going to call Reggie Youngblood because they are good friends. Wouldn't it be nice to get Youngblood in town for an unofficial visit when LSU pays special tribute to 2003 National Champs not to mention the ESPN Gameday crew will be in town and Tiger Stadium will be as crazy as ever?




From what I hear LSU would like to pick up a commitment from one more defensive tackle to go with Lyle Hitt for 2005. Ekom Udofia, Vince Oghobaase and DeMarcus Granger appear to be the three at the top of the Tigers' wish list. I think LSU's best chance is with Granger but Udofia told OUInsiders.com he plans to visit LSU while Oghobaase is still trying to decide if he will or not. 




A lot of Tiger fans are a little concerned about the receiver position and where the commitment or commitments will come from. When was the last time LSU signed a kid from Missouri? Don't feel bad. I couldn't tell you either but that could change if the nation's 10th rated receiver D.J. Hord signs with the Tigers. It is early but Hord told Josh Clark of the Midland Region for TheInsiders.com that LSU, Florida, Tennessee and Missouri currently stand out above the other schools he is considering. It is worth mentioning that Tennessee and Florida have not offered Hord, who has good size (6-1, 190) and speed (4.4) and is also a talented track athlete in the 100-meters and 200-meters. Could LSU's track program help Saban lure one of the country's top receivers to Bayou Country again?




Here is a look at the defensive recruits to keep an eye on heading into September and next week I will post my complete board with an analysis on each position.



Tiger Rag's Recruiting Board


 Defensive End

Commits 1 (Al Jones    6-3, 240, 4.8);

Needs 2


Top Targets


Raymond Henderson    6-5, 255, 4.65


Averell Spicer   6-1, 244, 4.7


Ricky Jean-Francois     6-3, 245, 4.65


McKinner Dixon           6-3, 245, 4.85 



Middle of the Pack


Doug Worthington        6-6, 260, 4.8


J.B. Paxson      6-3, 260, 4.8


Richard Gordon            6-4, 240, 4.7


Henry Melton   6-3, 250, 4.65



On the Back Burner


Curtis Smith      6-0, 240, 4.7


Justin Fulmer    6-4, 260, 4.9


Matt Slocum     6-5, 250, 4.8


Antwain Robinson        6-2, 230, 4.7


Zach Schreiber 6-2, 220, 4.6




Defensive Tackle


Commits 1 (Lyle Hitt 6-3, 280, 5.0);

Needs 2



Top Targets


DeMarcus Granger       6-2, 325, 5.2


Callahan Bright 6-2, 315, 4.9


Jerrell Powe     6-3, 322, 5.0


Vince Oghobaase         6-6, 300, 5.2


Ekom Udofia    6-1, 290, 5.1



Middle of the Pack


Terrance Taylor            6-1, 285, 4.9


Rashad Roussel            6-2, 260, 4.9


Trey Bryant      6-2, 295, 4.98


Louis Ellis         6-2, 270, 4.8



On the Back Burner


Cordero Moore            6-2, 260, 4.95


Charles Burns   6-2, 250, 4.9


Seth Adams      6-2, 285, 5.2


Thad Waters    6-2, 280, 5.0





Commits 1 (Derry Beckwith 6-1, 205, 4.5);

Needs 2-3



Top Targets


Luther Brown   6-2, 227, 4.7


Tray Blackmon 6-0, 192, 4.5


Eugene Hayes   6-1, 218, 4.62


Ryan Reynolds 6-2, 220, 4.65


Rey Maualaga  6-2, 235, 4.65


Spencer Adkins   6-0, 228, 4.59


Todd Cox        6-1, 195, 4.6


Neefy Moffett   6-1, 220, 4.6


Jon Demps       6-3, 223, 4.65



Middle of the Pack


Alonzo Horton  6-3, 217, 4.6


Antonio Clay    6-1, 207, 4.6


Antonio Coleman          6-2, 230, 4.69


Rodrick Muckelroy      6-2, 210, 4.65


Nic Harris        6-3, 207, 4.7


Rex Sharpe      6-3, 210, 4.6


Demetri Stewart           6-4, 215, 4.56



On the Back Burner


Jamar Chaney   6-1, 215, 4.6


Zach Schreiber 6-2, 215, 4.6


Robert Russell  6-0, 205, 4.6






Commits 1 (Chris Hawkins 6-1, 185, 4.5);

Needs 2



Top Targets


Bryan Evans     5-11, 177, 4.45


Avery Atkins    6-0, 185, 4.45 (Committed to Florida)



Middle of the Pack


Derek Pegues   5-10, 175, 4.5



On the Back Burner


Anthony Johnson          5-11, 185, 4.6


Ramon McElrathbey     5-11, 180, 4.55


Tyson Andrus   6-1, 185, 4.6


Marcus Ezeff    5-11, 175, 4.6





Commits 2 (Clarence Ward 5-11, 175, 4.45; Chris Keys 6-2, 205, 4.5);

Needs 2-3



Top Targets


Kenneth Phillips   6-2, 195, 4.45


Dorian Monroe 6-1, 185, 4.5


C.J. Byrd         6-2, 185, 4.5



Middle of the Pack


Terrell Smith     6-0, 205, 4.5


Gary Riggs       6-2, 205, 4.6


Patrick Trahan  6-2, 205, 4.6


Terrell Smith     6-2, 205, 4.5


Xavier Kelley   6-1, 200, 4.5


Gerrod Sinclair 6-0, 208, 4.65


Marvin White   6-2, 210, 4.5



On the Back Burner


Jacob Lennox   6-1, 180, 4.5



For questions or comments please e-mail Tiger Rag Recruiting Analyst Sonny Shipp at sonnyshipp@bellsouth.net.

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