RECRUITING: Whose out there?

LSU is sitting at nine commitments heading into today and out of the nine, seven are solid verbals and should fax in their national letter of intent early on signing day.

Those considered solid commitments include Kyle Anderson, Ciron Black, Steven Korte, Antonio Robinson, Darry Beckwith, Lyle Hitt and Chris Hawkins. Tiger fans should not worry about these guys but they should keep a close eye on Al Jones and Jerrell Powe from now until signing day.


Les Miles will be anxiously awaiting word from several prospects over the next few days as they make their intentions known. Below is a list of players to follow closely as they will make or break the 2005 signing class.





Ryan Perrilloux 6-2, 207, 4.6 Reserve (La.) East St. John


Skinny: Perrilloux has been committed to Texas for over six months but he says he will make a final decision between the Horns, LSU and Mississippi State a couple of days before signing day. He will visit LSU officially the last weekend in January and that could seal the deal for the Tigers. Perrilloux's decision will make or break this class in terms of national rankings and every indication I have received is that LSU will come out on top.



Running Back


R.J. Jackson 5-11, 197, 4.5 Houston (Texas) Westside


Skinny: Florida will get the last crack at Jackson when he makes his official visit the weekend before signing day. His latest remarks have indicated that LSU, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma State and TCU all have an equal shot at getting his signature. However, this will likely come down to an LSU/Texas battle.



Wide Receiver


Slick Shelley 6-4, 180, 4.6 Fort Smith (Ark.) Southside


Skinny: Shelley had a great trip to LSU and will visit Tennessee on Jan. 28 before he makes a decision. Les Miles and his staff have done a great job of making Shelley feel like he is a top priority and that special treatment could weigh huge in the Tigers' favor. Throw in the fact that the Vols have several pledges from receivers, whereas LSU does not have any, then one has to feel good about the Tigers' chances.


Brandon La Fell 6-3, 170, 4.5 Houston (Texas) Lamar


Skinny: La Fell and R.J. Jackson want to attend the same school and the only two both have in common at this point is LSU and Florida. La Fell and Jackson will trip to Gainesville together but the distance factor could be too much for the Gators to overcome. If Jackson chooses Texas then La Fell could end up at Florida. However, if the two really want to stay together then LSU would be the most logical choice.


Trindon Holliday 5-6, 155, 4.4 Zachary (La.) Northeast


Skinny: Les Miles extended a "gray shirt" offer to Holliday which means he would enroll at LSU in January 2006 and count against next year's class. Depending on how things shape up between now and signing day, though, there could be room for him in this class. Either way, Holliday will most likely be a Tiger unless he opts to go to Southern and not sit out a year.



Tight End


Martellus Bennett 6-6, 240, 4.75 Houston (Texas) Taylor


Skinny: The Tigers lost the No. 1 tight end in the country in Dajleon Farr to Miami but they hope to replace him with the No. 2 tight end in the country in Bennett. He will be in town for his official visit the same weekend as Perrilloux and the two could decide to attend the same school. The chances of landing Bennett are not as good as with Perrilloux but stranger things have happened on National Signing Day. If it is not LSU then Texas or Texas A&M will come out on top for Bennett's services.



Defensive End


Al Jones 6-3, 240, 4.7 New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine


Skinny: The top rated defensive end committed to LSU several months ago but he did visit Ole Miss and expressed interest in Miami. Jones says he is 85 percent sure he will sign with the Tigers but Ole Miss had a lot of success recruiting in Louisiana so the Rebels are worth noting. But in the end, I fully expect Jones to honor his pledge and sign on the dotted line with LSU.


Antonio Coleman 6-3, 240, 4.6 Mobile (Ala.) Williamson


Skinny: Coleman committed to Auburn but had a good visit to LSU on Jan. 21. I don't know if his trip to bayou country was enough to pull him away from Auburn but we shall see. He has been tough to get in touch with but my source in Alabama tells me he will end up on the Plains.


Ricky Jean-Francois 6-3, 240, 4.6 Miami (Fla.) Carol City


Skinny: South Florida and Tennessee are the schools LSU is battling for Jean-Francois and believe it or not South Florida could be the team to beat. Grades were the only thing keeping him from being one of the most sought after defensive ends in the country. Word is Jean-Francois is close to being at least a partial qualifier and there is a chance he could be fully qualified by the time August rolls around. Depending on how his official visit to LSU goes on Jan. 28, the Tigers may be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat and get his signature.


Antwain Robinson 6-2, 230, 4.7 Little Rock (Ark.) Central


Skinny: It looks like LSU will fall back on Robinson if things fall through on some of the other guys on the board. It is unclear whether or not he has an offer from the Tigers but word is he may wait until after signing day to sign with a school.



Defensive Tackle


Jerrell Powe 6-3, 322, 5.0 Wayne County (Miss.) Waynesboro


Skinny: Powe will be in town on Jan. 28 and that trip could wrap things up for the Tigers. Ole Miss appears to be the only other school actively recruiting him at this point and that is due to grades. I am not counting Ole Miss out until Powe signs his letter of intent because Ed Orgeron has proved to be an outstanding recruiter in his brief time at Oxford.


Powe has a lot of work to do in the classroom and has very little chance of qualifying. Les Miles would still love to place him at a junior college and hope he get his signature for a second time two years down the road.





Jon Demps 6-3, 223, 4.65 Pensacola (Fla.) Washington 40-60


Skinny: If Nick Saban was still the head coach, LSU would probably be out of the mix with Demps. However, Demps really likes Les Miles' personality and the Tigers have made up an enormous amount of ground on this front. His decision will likely come down to LSU, Florida State and Florida but your guess is as good as mine. Can LSU linebacker Willie Demps persuade his younger brother to follow him to Baton Rouge?





Derek Pegues 5-10, 175, 4.5 Batesville (Miss.) South Panola


Skinny: Pegues was scheduled to make an unofficial visit to LSU on Jan. 27 and then turn around and head to Ole Miss for an official. It is hard to imagine he would choose the Tigers without making an official visit but stranger things have happened. LSU has a glaring need for cornerbacks and Pegues feels like he would get early playing time with the Tigers. However, he is good enough to go to Ole Miss or Mississippi State and get immediate playing time.





Chris Keys 6-2, 2-5, 4.5 Stevenson (Ala.) North Jackson


Skinny: If Keys decides to visit LSU on the final weekend before signing day then the Tigers could pull him away from the Alabama Crimson Tide. If he doesn't visit then he will likely end up honoring his pledge to Bama. This is one the Tigers hate to lose because he is one of the top safeties in the country and he would make an immediate impact.


Nic Harris 6-3, 207, 4.6 Alexandria (La.)


Skinny: Harris said Oklahoma and Michigan are his two finalists and he has officially eliminated LSU. There has been a lot of talk of LSU having a secret commitment or two that will pull signing day shockers and some believe Harris could be one to watch. I say LSU does not have a chance at all but who knows?


Ishie Oduegwu 5-10, 185, 4.5 Denton (Texas) Ryan


Skinny: Les Miles had an in-home visit with Daewoo a few days ago and if the Tigers' headman was able to win over the mom then he probably left Denton, Texas with a verbal commitment from the standout safety. It will either be the Tigers or Texas Tech and the feeling here is that LSU comes out on top.

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