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Two things are obvious when looking at LSU's defense over the first two games and taking this recruiting class into consideration. The Tigers need a shutdown cornerback that can play man-to-man and a defensive end that can apply pressure coming off the edge.
Jai Eugene, the nation's top rated corner, is right in LSU's backyard and it is imperative that Les Miles convinces him to stay home and sing with the Tigers. I talk to Eugene once a week and after our conversation this past week I feel more strongly than ever that he will end up at LSU.
I have always felt good about the Tigers' chances but two things struck me from our latest conversation.
Eugene now sees that he could step in and have the chance to get a lot of playing time as a true freshman because the Tigers do not have a lot of depth at corner. The guys backing up Chevis Jackson and Ronnie Prude are not the lockdown corners Miles needs whereas Eugene is.
The other thing that is starting to come into play with Eugene is proximity. LSU is only a short drive from Destrehan and the fact that he would be able to see and spend time with his young son is starting to play on him more and more. Initially, leaving home was not that big of a factor but he said he is starting to think about that a lot more as he moves closer and closer to having to make a decision.
I stand by my prediction I have made all along and that is when all is said and done Jai Eugene will be a Tiger. There will be some tense moments for Tiger fans as he takes his official visits and it will likely be late January or even signing day until he makes a commitment. But in the end, LSU comes out on top.
In saying that, though, I think it is extremely important that this LSU coaching staff starts to show that it deserves to be at a big-time place like LSU. Some of the things the coaches have done in the early going leave a lot of people questioning many things and if we can see it then you better believe the recruits and high school coaches can see it.
Scottsdale Community College defensive end Louis Holmes is probably the second most wanted guy on Miles' wish list and would be a huge coup if the Tigers can sign him.
Holmes has the size and speed to be a dominant player on the college level and would give the Tigers some much needed pressure coming off the end. Miles should find out something about Holmes in December because he is on pace to enroll at his school of choice in January. He is scheduled to make his official visit the day after Thanksgiving when the Tigers host Arkansas. Along with LSU, it looks like USC, Arizona State and Tennessee are going to be the major players.
Kelvin Sheppard and Antwine Perez were scheduled to make official visits last weekend but Hurricane Rita ruined their plans.
Sheppard is a big lean to LSU and plans on visiting for the Florida game. There is a good chance he could leave Baton Rouge as an LSU Tiger.
"There is a real good chance I could commit on that trip," he said. "I want to see what the environment is like but I already told coach (Bradley Dale) Peveto I could commit to him then."
The Tigers lost out on the nation's third rated safety prospect when Perez committed to USC on Wednesday. He was going to give LSU one last shot to sway him away from the Trojans but Rita dashed the Tigers' hopes. Rather than reschedule the trip he decided to go ahead and pledge the boys out West. Whether Miles could have pulled him away from Pete Carroll is a question that will never get answered but I say the chances were slim to none.
With Perez off the board, the top two free safety prospects now are Reshad Jones and Allen Walker. Both are planning on taking official visits to check out the Tigers and both are high on the Tigers, although they may be sliding some on Walker's list .
The Lufkin, Texas, duo of Leonard Hewitt and E.J. Shankle have LSU and Texas A&M as their top two schools and they are also possible candidates at free safety.
"Right now Oklahoma State is recruiting us the hardest but LSU and Texas A&M would be our top two," Hewitt said. "Coach Peveto said I could play corner or safety and they like E.J. as an athlete."
Hewitt and Shankle still plan on signing with the same school and they are trying to schedule a trip to Baton Rouge for the weekend of Auburn or Florida.
Offensive lineman Trent Williams has put his decision off for a little while because he has not been able to take an official visit to Oklahoma State at a time that his mother could go with him.
Mrs. Williams said the Cowboys and Tigers are still his top two schools and that they will be in Baton Rouge for an official when Auburn comes to town. Oklahoma State has been rescheduled for the first weekend in December and he hopes to have a decision by Christmas.
Daverin Geralds is a guy that seems to be getting more interest from the coaches but he still does not have an offer from the Tigers. He has heard from them a lot during the month of September and believes that an offer could be flying his way soon. He currently holds offers from Ole Miss, Stanford and Georgia Tech.
The nation's top rated offensive lineman, Andre Smith, told me that he is still considering LSU but that is all I could get out of him. A Miami coach called as soon as I got on the phone with Smith so he had to go for obvious reasons. It's good to hear that LSU is still in the running but Tiger fans should not get their hopes up too much.
LSU had slipped some in Perrish Cox's eyes but the coaches have made up some ground on the nation's sixth rated corner.
Cox really wants to play corner at the next level and the LSU coaches were primarily recruiting him for receiver. But, I guess the coaches have realized they need some serious help at corner.
According to one of Waco-University High's assistant coaches, the LSU coaches have been calling a lot and have climbed back into the thick of things with Cox. At this point, though, Oklahoma seems to still be the team to beat.
Milwaukee, Wis., receiver Lance Kendricks has scheduled his official visit for the Auburn game but getting him all the way down South is going to be a tough task. The one thing that could help is the LSU track program because Kendricks is outstanding in the triple jump and the 200-meters and wants to run track during the Spring.
Virginia Beach, Va., wide out Damon McDaniel is also scheduled to visit for the Florida Game but it looks like the Tigers are out of the running for his teammate, Percy Harvin. McDaniel is also a long shot because the Tigers are in excellent shape with Ricky Dixon, Jarred Mitchell and Jared White.
The No. 1 receiver in Alabama, Tim Hawthorne, said he hears from Jimbo Fisher regularly and that he is very interested in the Tigers. He has not narrowed things down much and has not set up any official visits but he does plan on going to Baton Rouge.
"I am going to get down to LSU as soon as I can," he said. "It will probably be in October but I am definitely going to get down there."
That is all for this week.
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