The player I get asked about the most by LSU fans would probably be Destrehan (La.) cornerback Jai Eugene (6-1, 195, 4.4). Eugene is Tiger Rag's No. 1 ranked player in the state and Scout.com's No. 1 rated corner in America. Tiger fans are sitting on pins and needles with Eugene because it seems like every time a story is released on the network it sounds like he does not have as strong of an interest in LSU as he does with schools like USC, Miami, Florida and others. I have a real good relationship with Eugene and all I can say is it may be a while before he pulls the trigger but when it is all said and done he will be a Tiger.
He has not told me anything in secret that would lead me to believe this but every year it seems like this is a trend with the state's premier recruit. Remember when early Doucet would always speak so highly of the out-of-state powers but they really never had a chance at getting him. Last year, Ryan Perrilloux was Texas all the way but where did he end up? The same thing will happen to Eugene that occurred with Doucet and Perrilloux. The idea of leaving home and going to Miami, USC, etc… seems like a good scenario until it is do or die time and a decision must be made.
Staying close to home always comes into play and it will be a huge factor in Eugene's decision because he has a son who is less than a year old. Aside from that, Eugene is very close to the LSU staff, particularly Karl Dunbar and Les Miles. To sum it up in a nutshell, something out of the ordinary would have to happen for him to sign with anyone other than the Tigers.
There are just too many positives that he talks about--coaching staff, close to home, friends and family, playing time, tradition, facilities, academic support. So, all I can say at this point is sit back and enjoy the ride because it may be bumpy at times but in the end it will be smooth and enjoyable.
Another defensive back that I have spoken to recently is Camden (N.J.) Woodrow Wilson product Antwine Perez (6-2, 200, 4.5). LSU does not have much of a recruiting base in that part of the country but if the country's third ranked safety has a good visit when he comes down for the Tennessee game like he has tentatively scheduled then he could be a good possibility for the Tigers. He spoke very highly of Bradley Dale Peveto's recruiting efforts and has LSU in his final three, along with Michigan and USC. When I asked Perez what he liked about his three finalists he went into a lot more depth about LSU over the other two.
It has been well documented of the Tigers' needs on the offensive line and there are several high-profile recruit's the Tigers are in the hunt for.
The nation's top rated offensive tackle, Andre Smith (6-4, 315, 5.2) of Birmingham-Huffman High Magnet, took an unofficial visit to LSU a little over a week ago with his father to check things out and to sit down and talk with the coaching staff in person. I haven't been able to pin him down of late but one of my contacts in Alabama has said that he will take an official visit to LSU before he makes a decision. It will be tough to get him out of Alabama but anything can happen on an official visit. He likes the fact that LSU does not have much depth at that position but will that be enough to sway him?
One of my sources in Texas says that Longview offensive tackle Trent Williams (6-5, 300, 5.2) has narrowed his list to Oklahoma State and LSU with a decision coming within the next couple of weeks. LSU has always led for Williams but the Cowboys have made a strong push of late. More to come on Williams early next week.
Staying in the Lonestar State, LSU has made up a lot of ground with Houston (Texas) St. Pius X massive offensive tackle Ian Symonette (6-9, 340, 5.4). Symomnette was real high on Miami but LSU is the only school he chose to visit unofficially this summer. Symmonette's summer plans were to visit all of the schools he was looking at over the summer and then narrow his list down to five but the only school he visited during that time was LSU. The Tigers are extremely high on his list and Les Miles' connections in the Houston area are paying big dividends on this front. There is more to this story but Symmonette is not tipping his hat.
About a month ago I interviewed Baton Rouge (La.) Scotlandville offensive guard prospect Daverin Geralds (6-3, 285, 5.0) and he said he had an offer from the Tigers. However, when I spoke with him on Wednesday he said that Ole Miss and Duke are his only written offers with Georgia Tech, UCLA and Stanford showing the most interest. Geralds said that he was under the impression he had an LSU offer but he never got anything in writing and he has not heard from anyone on the staff in over a month. One thing that may have hurt his stock with LSU is that the coaches never got a chance to evaluate him in person at a camp. He is definitely someone the coaches will continue to evaluate and if an offer is extended he will likely accept it.
The Lufkin (Texas) duo of cornerback Leonard Hewitt (5-11, 185, 4.5) and athlete E.J. Shankle (5-11, 188, 4.5) are two guys that could be pulling the trigger soon and my Texas source tells me that LSU and Texas A&M are waged in a heated battle. Both players have been leaning to LSU ever since they tripped to Baton Rouge but the Aggies are closing the gap. Another team to watch could be Oklahoma State but all signs point towards LSU or A&M.
LSU would love to sign one more defensive tackle in this class and Charles Deas of Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Boyd Anderson may be the No. 1 target. The 6-4, 326-pounder is the seventh rated tackle in the country and based on a conversation I had with a publisher from one of the Florida sites, LSU has a good shot at getting him. It seems like the Tigers get at least one Sunshine State product a year and Deas could be the one in 2006.
Another defensive tackle of interest is Destrehan (La.) defensive tackle Chaz Washington and I should have an update on his situation on Sunday so check out www.tigerrag.com for that and much more on LSU recruiting as things begin to really heat up.
For comment or questions e-mail Tiger Rag Recruiting Editor Sonny Shipp at email@example.com.