LSU staff hits recruiting trail a bit late

The LSU football staff is on the road recruiting this week after claiming the Southeastern Conference championship last weekend. Although the December 8 game meant Nick Saban and his assistants got started late with their in-home visits, there's little doubt that the title will give the Tigers clout when it comes to recruiting some of the nation's top prospects.

As for those prospects, they are starting to make their official visits with the 2001 prep season coming to a close.

Muscle Shoals, Ala., athlete Jason Allen made his trip to Georgia last weekend. The Bulldogs are considering Allen as a running back, while LSU is recruiting him as a secondary player.

"The visit to Georgia went well," said Allen. "I was treated like part of the team. I hung out with the players and Georgia Girls. They made me feel at home. Right now, I would say that Georgia and LSU are right there together."

Allen had an in-home visit Monday, Dec. 9, with Tennessee coach Fulmer and was set to meet with Alabama's Dennis Franchione the next day. Saban is scheduled to be in Muscle Shoals on Thursday with Georgia's Mark Richt also expected to be in the home this week.

Allen will complete high school next week. His last day is December 14. On December 22, Allen will announce his commitment on Fox Sports Net South's Countdown to Signing Day. He will officially visit Tennessee this weekend.

It looks as though LSU is falling out of the race for Longview, Texas, linebacker Marvin Byrdsong. His brother, Shawn, plays for Mississippi State, but it is beginning to look like Marvin is interested in staying closer to home or perhaps heading north to Oklahoma, where he visited over the December 7 weekend.

 The Sooners recently received commitments from Houston-Westbury defensive back Brodney Pool and defensive end Calvin Thibodeaux, both of whom were showing interest in LSU.

"I had a great trip to Oklahoma," said Byrdsong. "I liked how (linebacker) Tommie Harris had such an impact as a true freshman. I think I could have the same impact.

"Right now, I would say Texas is my leader. I will visit them next weekend (Dec. 14)."

Byrdsong has already visited Mississippi State (Nov. 30) and is also scheduled to visit Texas A&M (Jan. 11) and Arkansas (Jan. 18). He said he is no longer considering Florida State and LSU.

The Longhorns are also the frontrunner at the moment for Houston-Galena Park running back Albert Hardy, who visited LSU for the Auburn game. Hardy spent last weekend at Alabama, where Franchione, the former TCU head coach, us taking advantage of his Lone Star roots.

"I had a great visit to Alabama," said Hardy. "They will be running the football down there and I like coach Fran, but Texas is still my leader."

Hardy is scheduled to visit Texas (Dec. 14), Colorado (Jan. 11) and Florida (Jan. 18). He is one of the top power backs in the nation.

Notes: Georgia has received a verbal commitment from defensive lineman Dale Dixson of Garland, Texas and running back Michael Cooper of Screvern County-Sylvania Ga. Dixson, a 6-foot-3, 275-pounder, chose the Bulldogs over LSU, Nebraska and Texas A&M. Cooper also had considered LSU and made an official visit for the Ole Miss game.

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