TIGERWRAP: Get the latest recruiting buzz

Editor's Note: 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 Jonathan Crompton, Matt Hardrick, Avery Atkins, Kenneth Phillips, Paul O'Hara, Tyson Andrus, Ishie Oduegwu, Josh Portis and more.

The quarterback position took a big hit early in the week when Josh Portis of Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft committed to Utah. The 6-3, 195-pounder had an official visit scheduled with LSU for this weekend but I'm hearing that he will not make the trip and is excited about becoming a Ute. I spoke with Portis and his mother Sunday night and neither gave any indication that a commitment was on the horizon but I could tell both liked what Utah head coach Urban Meyer thought of Josh. Meyer told Josh and his mother that if he came to Utah he would win a Heisman Trophy. While I do believe Josh will be a good college quarterback because of his passing and running skills, I think winning the Heisman is a long shot. A real long shot.



The country's fourth rated signal caller Jonathan Crompton of Waynesville (N.C.) Tuscola committed to Tennessee over the summer but he is thinking about taking some official visits to make sure that Rocky Top is the "right place" for him. The 6-4, 216-pounder said he talks to either Nick Saban or Jimbo Fisher once a week and the Tigers never stopped recruiting him. When asked if he was thinking about visiting LSU he said, "I don't know yet. I'm thinking about it a little."

Two other schools Crompton is looking at are Michigan and North Carolina State. I compared the quarterback situation at Tennessee with its two freshman signal callers Erik Ainge and Brent Shaeffer to the situation at LSU with its two redshirt freshman JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn. Crompton said competition and depth is not something he is worried about but making sure he makes the right decision is. Tiger fans should not get their hopes up about Crompton de-committing from the Vols and choosing the Tigers because he is sky high on UT.



Another position that has a lot of uncertainty at this point in time is the free safety spot due to the murky situation concerning Clarence Ward (5-11, 175, 4.5). As you all know, Ward committed to the Tigers back in March but recently got suspended from school and was dismissed from the LaMarque (Texas) football team. Ward said since his dismissal he was invited to rejoin the team but decided to focus solely on his academics. It is unclear whether or not the Tigers pulled their offer off the table but Ward has been quoted as saying the coaches told him he might want to look elsewhere. If that is the case then who are the Tigers looking at to fill that void?

I caught up with nation's No. 1 rated safety in Miami (Fla.) Carol City product Kenneth Phillips because he has mentioned LSU as one of his top five choices since May. However, Phillips said he is wondering if LSU is still interested in him because he has not heard from anyone since the first week of September. He did say that he is still interested in the Tigers and wants to take an official visit to check things out. Phillips (6-2, 195, 4.45) plays free safety for Carol City but after seeing him on film Nick Saban may feel he is better suited for strong safety because he is more of a hitter than a cover guy. If that is not the case then I am truly in the dark because Phillips projects as a full academic qualifier.



Another safety that wanted to commit to LSU but the coaches told him they did not have room for him is Ishie Oduegwu of Denton (Texas) Ryan. Oduegwu (5-10, 185, 4.5) is kind of small in stature for the safety spot but he is a tremendous hitter that packs a lot of punch. I thought he would be one of the guys LSU would turn to if things went sour with the other safeties on the board but Oduegwu has a bad taste in his mouth for the Tiger coaching staff and is committed to Texas Tech.

"They send letters but I do not want to go there anymore," he said. "My coach told me I shouldn't go there because it is a bad situation. They tend to over recruit and it would not benefit me at all to go there."

I can understand him feeling rejected or left out but there is no excuse for the coach's remarks if he did in fact make those comments. LSU did win the BCS National Championship last season and attracts the nation's top players every year so the situation must not be too bad.



A sleeper prospect from Louisiana that could start getting more attention from the Tigers is Lafayette-Northside athlete Tyson Andrus (6-1, 190, 4.5). He plays cornerback and receiver at Northside but is physical enough to play free safety at the college level. He has offers from Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, while USC, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Syracuse are showing a lot of interest. What are his feelings on the Bayou Bengals?

"I have not heard from them in a while," he said. "Coach (Kirby) Smart called in September. He said to keep working hard and they like me but they will get back with me later in the season. LSU is definitely a place I would like to play ball at."



There are several prospects from the Sunshine State that are considering LSU and many of them paid special attention to the Tigers matchup with Florida last weekend. One in particular was Daytona Beach-Mainland cornerback Avery Atkins (5-11, 185, 4.5). Atkins considers his commitment to Florida as a "soft verbal" and said "everybody is equal right now." Kirby Smart was at Mainland High School on Monday while the Tigers took some time away from the practice field.

"He came by and said they were still with me even though I made a soft verbal commitment to Florida," Atkins said.

Atkins said he still likes LSU and will take an official visit but it may have to be after his season wraps up. Before the college football season started Atkins said he wanted to see some games at Tiger Stadium and he even said he wanted to make all of the home games. Now, he may not make it to Baton Rouge and that does not bode well for LSU's chances with him. One other thing to consider is his girlfriend is a sophomore at a community college in Daytona Beach and when I asked him if she would follow him wherever he goes he said probably so. Why is that important? If Atkins goes to school in Florida then she could follow him and not have to pay out-of-state tuition. However, if he would choose LSU or Georgia then she would have to pay the extra fees and they are substantial. Do I expect that to be the determining factor in him choosing a school? No. Do I think that it could play into an 18-year-old's decision-making process? Absolutely.




Offensive lineman Matt Hardrick (6-5, 342, 5.7) of Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater lists LSU as one his top choices but he too has not heard from the Tigers in a few weeks. He is rated the eighth best offensive lineman in the country and is trying to set up an official visit to Baton Rouge but is waiting on a phone call.

"It has been three or four weeks since I have talked to them but they are still sending a lot of handwritten letters," he said.

Has the lack of contact changed his opinion on the Tigers?

"Not really," he said. "I'm still looking at them. Hopefully they have been busy trying to correct the mistakes and that is why I have not heard from them."

Hardrick has an official visit set up to Florida State (1/9) and is in the process of finalizing a weekend with Miami. He also wants to visit Oklahoma with Nebraska and Ole Miss battling for the fifth and final official.



Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County running back Paul O'Hara claims that he has an official scholarship offer from LSU and that he plans on visiting the Tigers before he makes a decision. The 5-11, 215-pounder runs a 4.6 in the forty-yard dash and rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a junior. One has to wonder how interested the Tigers still are because he has not had any verbal contact with anyone from LSU since the summer?



That is all for this week but remember to check out www.tigerrag.com for daily recruiting updates 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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