TIGERWRAP: This week's latest recruiting scoop

Editor's Note: It's Friday and that means it's time for another edition of the Tiger Wrap. This week Sonny will give you the latest on Derek Pegues, Lucas Taylor, Christian Ducre, Slick Shelley, Brian Ellis, Ricky Jean-Francois and more.

Tiger fans have been anxiously waiting for a new commitment because believe it or not it has been more than two months since Nick Saban has received a verbal pledge. Well, I have not spoken to anyone who is on the brink of pulling the trigger but the news out of Fontainebleau High School is that LSU could be offering athlete Christian Ducre soon and if that happens he would likely commit on the spot. The Tigers like Ducre (6-0, 190, 4.5) as a safety and he could be the one to take Clarence Ward's spot. I have not been able to get any kind of confirmation on Ward's status but that did come up when Ducre and Will Muschamp last talked.

"He just said since they do not have him (Ward) anymore they need two more defensive backs," Ducre said.

 

 

In my opinion one of the most exciting and most underrated players in Louisiana is Carencro's Lucas Taylor. Some question whether or not he is physical enough and fast enough to play receiver or cornerback at the college level. Taylor is listed at 5-11, 171 pounds with 4.62-speed in the forty-yard dash. I can think of plenty of prospects with that size and speed who went on to produce in a big way at the major college level. While you may be able to question Taylor's size and speed there is no way you can question his ability to make big plays when he has the ball in his hands. Proof of that is the amazing performance he turned in last week against Lake Charles-Barbe. Taylor rushed for 539 yards and six touchdowns on only 35 carries in Carencro's 53-42 loss. He scored on runs of 77, 13, 62, 24, 66 and 74 yards. That record-setting performance was a state record and ranks eighth nationally for the most rushing yards in a single game. If Taylor can learn the receiver position then he is going to give someone a big-time playmaker. The question is who? Oklahoma State, Auburn, South Carolina and Indiana are his only offers to this point and he hears from them all pretty regular. Taylor said he has not heard from or talked to anyone from LSU in a "few months" and to his knowledge no one has called and talked to his high school coaches. Taylor is still very high on LSU even though it looks like the Tigers have put him on the back burner. When asked how he would feel if Nick Saban started recruiting him harder and offered him a scholarship he replied, "I would probably go ahead and commit to them. There are no hard feelings on my part."

 

 

One reason for the lack of interest in Taylor could be because Saban feels very good about his chances of landing Fort Smith (Ark.) Southside wideout Slick Shelley. Shelley is very athletic with his 6-4, 180 pound frame but lacks the blazing speed (4.65) to burn corners on the outside. He has a knack for making big plays and that is why he is ranked Scout.com's 20th best receiver in the country. LSU, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Nebraska and Florida are the schools he is focusing on and all have given him written offers except for Florida. He said he does not have a leader right now but when asked where LSU stacked up compared to the others he replied, "They are at the top of my list right now."

Shelley said he is not rushing to make a decision because he wants to make sure the school he chooses will utilize his skills to the max.

"I am looking at everything with the offense," he said. "I want to see how they use their receivers and also how they use their running backs. A team could be throwing the ball a lot this year but next year it could change and start running ball a lot."

Expect Shelley to take his official visit to LSU in December or January and I think LSU has a good shot at landing him. By the way, Shelley said he would also like to play basketball at the college level so the prospect of playing with Tasmin Mitchell and some of the other young talented Tigers has to be attractive to him.

 

 

Another possibility for the receiver position is Batesville (Miss.) South Panola athlete Derek Pegues (5-10, 175, 4.5). He starts at quarterback and cornerback for South Panola but receiver or corner is where he will end up at the next level. Scout.com rates him No. 15 among the nation's top corners but he too looks extremely dangerous when operating with the ball in his hands in the open field. The major reason Pegues has LSU in his top five with Tennessee, Ole Miss, Michigan and Alabama is because the Tigers are losing their two starting cornerbacks after this season. He said he does not have a leader but when I asked him if any schools stand out above the others in his top five he replied, "Tennessee and LSU are standing out above the rest because they always have good football programs and they have good coaching staffs."

 

 

I caught up with Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland tight end/defensive end Brian Ellis to see if LSU defensive backs coach Kirby Smart had called him lately and he said he talked to Smart about two weeks ago. Ellis (6-3, 235, 4.6) said Smart told him he would get a shot on offense or defense and that it was up to him. The thing that is going to be the biggest factor in Ellis committing to a school is going to be the depth in front of him because he wants to play early. He said that he really does not have a top five but the plans to visit Florida, LSU, Miami, Florida State and Oklahoma. I asked him where LSU fit into that group and he said, "They are at the top but I do not want to get specific." I say Florida has the advantage at this point.

 

 

The nation's No. 3 rated defensive end is Ricky Jean-Francois of Miami (Fla.) Carol City and he told Tiger Rag that his top three schools are Miami, North Carolina State and LSU. Miami and N.C. State have sent written offers while LSU gave him a verbal offer over the summer. The only reason I can figure Nick Saban has not given this stud a written offer is because he does not have a qualifying test score and he is battling to get his GPA up to a qualifying status. He will take the ACT on Saturday (Oct. 23) and he said he does not expect to have any problems with the test.  Jean-Francois (6-3, 245, 4.6) said LSU has not called or contacted him in any way except for sending mail and before long the clock could run out on the Tigers.

"I have kept them in my top three for a while but once I get my ACT score in then I am going to start focusing only on the teams that have given me a written offer," he said.

 

 

LSU is not scheduled to host any prospects on official visits for the game against Troy but I am sure some of the state's top uncommitted players will check out the game. I have been told that Carencro offensive tackle Dwight Alexander (6-7, 295, 5.1) has been getting more interest from the Tigers and will be in attendance. Sunday I hope to have a list of those who attend the game for unofficial visits and I will post them on the message board.

 

 

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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