Jai Eugene, the nation's top rated cornerback in the country, is alive and well in Destrehan. That is good news for Tiger fans because Eugene is one of the top priorities in the 2006 class. More good news regarding LSU's chances at signing him is the fact that his girlfriend and son are also doing good and are back at home in Destrehan.
Their house did not suffer much damage from Hurricane Katrina and they will continue to live in South Louisiana. The reason that is such good news on this front is because if they would have to relocate like so many other people from South Louisiana were forced to do then the chances of Eugene leaving the state to play his college football would be greater. I know for a fact that he wants to be close to his son and now LSU still has that in its favor.
I have always had a good feeling about LSU signing Eugene but I am starting to get a better vibe each time I talk to him. He is one of the many prospects that will be in attendance for the home opener against Tennessee and Tiger Stadium is a great recruiting tool that many other schools don't have. Sure, Florida, USC and Oklahoma are great venues but can they top a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium?
I caught up with Chaz Washington right after I spoke to Eugene and more than ever I can tell this kid really wants to end up at LSU. The problem is that he does not have an offer and the coaches may be happy with only one defensive tackle in this class with Al Woods getting that spot.
Washington said he will definitely take official visits to Oklahoma and Nebraska. When he goes to Baton Rouge for the Tennessee game he wants to meet with Les Miles with the hopes of setting up an official to LSU.
It is hard to gauge just how much interest the Tigers have in Washington because I've been told by very reliable sources that the coaches are still evaluating him but he has not heard from anyone on the staff thus far in September, which is when coaches could start calling recruits again. We will just have to wait and see but I think if he has a super senior campaign then the coaches will come around.
LSU is still in the mix for the third rated safety in the country in Antwine Perez but I get the feeling that the Tigers have some work to do. I only spoke to him briefly because he had a coach calling on the other line but he did say that LSU, USC and Michigan were still his top three. He did say that he probably will not take his official visit to LSU the weekend of the Tennessee game but still plans on visiting at some point this season. I will have more on Perez next week after I talk to him again.
The country's 12th rated safety prospect, Reshad Jones, will likely take an official visit to LSU and don't be surprised if the Tigers pull him out of the Peach State. He is looking for some early playing time and right now he feels that LSU may present that best opportunity.
Jones camped at LSU over the summer and saw everything the Tigers had to offer. He took an unofficial visit to Georgia when the Dawgs hosted South Carolina and got a good look at the facilities in Athens.
I asked him to compare the facilities at both places to see which school impressed him the most and he replied, "LSU probably had the better facilities."
By no means do I think that gives LSU a big advantage but it does give the fans an idea of how the facilities at LSU stacks up to some of the heavyweights in the SEC.
Now, on to the position that Tiger fans are so interested in--the offensive line.
The nation's No. 3 rated o-lineman Ian Symonette recently told a recruiting analyst with Scout.com that his top four schools were LSU, Miami, Texas and Oklahoma. That is how it has been for the last few weeks so no big surprise there.
I spoke with my Texas source and he still says that he feels LSU and Miami stand the best chance at landing this massive tackle prospect. Only time will tell but my source knows about as much as anyone does about recruiting in the Lonestar State.
New Iberia head coach Rick Hutson told me that he did not think Zhamal Thomas, who is Tiger Rag's top rated offensive lineman in the state, had an offer from LSU but that offensive line coach Stacey Searels loves him.
"He (Searels) said Zhamal could play for them right now," Hutson said. "They said if he makes his grades then he will get an offer."
What are the chances of LSU picking up his pledge if he does get an offer?
"I think if they offer him he will take it," Hutson said. "Arkansas likes him a lot and is talking to him quite a bit but I think LSU will get him if they offer."
As for Thomas' grades, he needs 3.5 to 4 points on the ACT and needs a strong senior year in the classroom to be eligible.
LSU commitment, Matt Allen, set the record straight regarding his interest in other schools.
"I am completely solid to LSU," Allen said. "That is where I am going and there is no doubt about it. I can't wait to get to LSU. "
I asked him if he was interested in any other schools, particularly Oklahoma.
"I haven't talked to anyone from Oklahoma in a while," he said. "I'm not taking any official visits other than the one to LSU."
Another offensive lineman to keep an eye on is Pierre Andrews.
He is only rated a 2-star prospect but that is largely due to the fact that he played all of his junior season with a shoulder injury. LSU is his only offer but he is getting a lot of interest from Clemson, Tennessee, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Colorado.
Where does LSU stand right now?
"I still have LSU at the top of my list," he said. "I'm going to Clemson this weekend for the Miami game and then hopefully I'll be able to get down to LSU to see one of their games. I know I want to take an official there but I don‘t have it set up yet."
Andrews said he has not spoken to Doug Mallory, who is recruiting him for the Tigers, so it is a little unclear of how high he is on the recruiting board.
That is all for this week but next week we will run an updated wish list along with my projections on how this class could finish up. Plans were to run it this week but due to space restrictions it had to be put off until next week.