TIGERWRAP: Our latest recruiting scoop

It's Friday and that means it's time for another edition of the Tiger Wrap. <br><br> This week Sonny will give you the latest on the quarterbacks on LSU's recruiting board along with the latest on Clarence Ward, Raymond Henderson, Gary Riggs, Gabe McKenzie, Josh McNeil, Ryan Reynolds, DeMarcus Granger, Rudy Odum and more.

Over the past week I have been flooded with requests for news on the quarterbacks Nick Saban is pursuing for the Class of 2005. The three players Tiger fans seem most interested in are Ryan Perrilloux, Jonathan Crompton and Josh Portis.


I talked to Perrilloux Tuesday night to see if things remained the same regarding his pledge to Texas and something he said kind of caught my attention.

"I'm still pretty solid to Texas but I am hearing the other coaches out in case something out of the ordinary happens," he said.

This is the first time Perrilloux did not sound as adamant about his verbal to the Longhorns and definitely the first time I heard him refer to his commitment as "pretty solid." Before our conversation he said he was still listening to other coaches but always classified his commitment as "solid."

I asked him if "something out of the ordinary" would be like a coach getting fired and he replied, "something like that."

Don't read too much into that statement for now but also don't brand the Longhorn logo on this kid just yet. I believe he is solid with Texas right now but LSU will make a strong push at the end.

Perrilloux said Saban and Jimbo Fisher call once a week and tell him how bad they want him but the Tiger coaches also call to talk about life outside of football. This thing is going to go down to the wire and for some reason I get the feeling Mack Brown could be left standing at the altar without his star quarterback recruit.


Jonathan Crompton, the No. 4 rated passer in the country from Waynesville (N.C.) Tuscola, committed to Tennessee over the summer but now some speculate whether or not he is having second thoughts now that the Vols have two fantastic true freshman quarterbacks in Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer. Crompton says his pledge is solid but now his father is starting to get a little more involved and encouraging his son to take a look at some other schools. LSU was one of the schools the 6-4, 216-pounder was considering before he chose Tennessee and Tiger fans are hoping that LSU will get an official visit from him. The problem I have with that scenario is that if he is having second thoughts because of Tennessee's two true freshmen quarterbacks how is that different from LSU's two redshirt freshmen in JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn?


Woodland Hills (Calif.) quarterback Josh Portis (6-3, 190, 4.55) will be visiting LSU when the Tigers have a bye week after the Florida contest. Portis is the same type of quarterback as Perrilloux in terms of being able to hurt you with his feet and his arm. He is not as fully developed as Perrilloux is but he has a huge upside. Oregon, Utah and Washington all have the upper hand for now because of being closer to home for the country's 11th rated quarterback but LSU is making up some ground on this front too.



Several newspapers broke a story about LSU commitment Clarence Ward (5-11, 175, 4.6) getting kicked out of school but Texas recruiting analyst Stacey Dean caught up with the LaMarque (Texas) product to set the story straight and my what a different story Ward gave. He said he was still in school and he will be rejoining the team next Friday for the start of district play. Ward said he was suspended and the reason was "personal" but "everything is cool now." I called a couple of times and was unsuccessful at reaching him to find out if he was still committed but I have no reason to think Saban pulled back on the offer he gave him during the spring. Florida State, Oklahoma and UCLA may get a visit from the standout free safety but if Saban wants him as part of his class then he will most likely be there come signing day.



LSU had some important visitors last weekend for the Mississippi State game. Defensive end Raymond Henderson of Oak Creek (Wis.) made his official visit to Tiger town while Collins (Miss.) center Josh McNeil and Kansas City (Missouri) Rockhurst receiver D.J. Hord visited the Capitol City on an unofficial trip.


Henderson (6-5, 255, 4.65) rated his trip a "nine" and for the first time he declared a leader and it is LSU. Marcus Spears was his player host for the weekend and the two hit it off. A couple of important notes on Henderson is his sister lives in Baton Rouge and his favorite uncle lives in New Orleans so the thought of him leaving the Cheese State to head down to the bayou does not seem as unlikely as it did at first. Henderson was born in the Crescent City and then moved to Wisconsin about five years later and he said he has some fond memories of living in the Bayou State. He also plans to visit Tennessee (10/23) and Miami with Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame, Iowa and Penn State fighting for the other two visits.


McNeil (6-4, 275, 5.2) gave his unofficial visit a "10" and said he loved the atmosphere and the way LSU played. His brother, Chris McNeil, is the starting center for Mississippi State but Josh said he is looking for the best place for him to play his college football and I can't see that being at Starkville. The Bulldogs have made his final five but for now Josh said LSU and Florida are his two top choices. Florida State and Tennessee are the other two finalists and don't expect a decision from the country's top rated center until he makes all of his official visits. Speaking of Florida, Josh will be taking his official visit to Gainesville this weekend when the Gators host Arkansas so we should get a much better read on him after that visit.


Kansas City is a nice little drive to Baton Rouge but that did not stop Hord from checking out the Tigers last weekend. It was his first time at LSU and wouldn't you know LSU would be forced to play a day game for his first experience in Tiger Stadium. The 6-1, 190-pounder with 4.4 speed said he loved the facilities and enjoyed the game but the early start took away from the normal hype surrounding the gameday atmosphere. He gave his trip an "8" on a scale of 1 to 10 but he does plan on taking an official visit where he will get to spend more time with the coaches and players. Hord said LSU is currently one of his top choices along with Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Missouri, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Michigan.



I think LSU has a good shot at landing Dallas (Texas) Kimball defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger and he said LSU is in his top four with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas. Granger (6-2, 325, 5.2) said he talks to the LSU coaches once a week either with Nick Saban or Bobby Williams.

"They tell me how bad they want me to go there and we go over the depth chart a lot," Granger said. "They have some defensive tackles but I think I can go in and get some early playing time."

Granger has never come out and said anyone led for his services but I can tell you from our many conversations that LSU is in good shape for now.



I hit on some of LSU's top tight end prospects last week but I did not mention the nation's No. 9 rated player at that position Gabe McKenzie (6-3, 215, 4.7). The Mobile (Ala.) Davidson product likes the Tigers and will make an official visit but he is dead set on playing tight end eve though he may be a better fit for defensive end. He speaks of what happened to Marcus Spears when he came out of Southern Lab and how that concerns him.

 "One thing that I am concerned about is their defensive end Marcus Spears was the No. 1 tight end out of high school and they moved him to defense," McKenzie said. "I play defensive end now but I want to play tight end at college."

Another thing that worries McKenzie is the Tigers' depth at receiver and he wonders whether or not he would get the ball enough.



Jennings (La.) safety prospect Gary Riggs (6-2, 205, 4.5) is putting up some nig numbers at quarterback this year. LSU was showing some early interest but Riggs said he has not talked to anyone from LSU on the phone during the month of September when coaches could start calling recruits. He said he has gotten a lot of mail from the Tigers but South Carolina and Ole Miss are his only offers with Tennessee and Florida calling on a weekly basis.



A Louisiana product that could be close to getting an offer is Mandeville-Fontainebleau offensive tackle/defensive end Rudy Odum (6-3, 265, 5.1). Will Muschamp keeps in touch with the athletic lineman and Odum said he told him that they like him a lot but want to see a little more film on him during his senior season before they offer. Odum currently lists the Tigers, Ole Miss, Auburn, South Carolina and Virginia Tech as his five favorites. All have offered except for the Bayou Bengals.



In basketball news, John Brady added Florence (Ore.) Siuslaw point guard Ben Voogd to his commitment list for the Class of 2005. The 6-2, 175-pounder averaged 28 points and 8 assists a game as a junior. He has good scoring ability but the thing that stands out with this young man is his ability to get all of his teammates involved in the offense and that is what LSU desperately needs. Voogd is very excited about being a Tiger and plans on signing his national letter of intent during the early signing period in November.



That is all for this week but remember to check out www.tigerrag.com for daily recruiting updates, a complete database with all of the recruits on the Tigers' board and for the latest on LSU sports. If you have questions or comments please e-mail Tiger Rag Recruiting Analyst Sonny Shipp at sonnyshipp@bellsouth.net

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