TIGER WRAP

It's Friday and that means it's time for another edition of Tiger Rag's Tiger Wrap. This week we will give you the latest on Tim Tebow, Jai Eugene, Ian Symonette, Ricky Dixon, Na Derris Ward, Mark Johnson, J.D. Lott, Lee Tilley, Kelvin Sheppard, Steven Singleton, Perry Riley, Jonas Mouton and Bani Gbadyu.

What a weekend this is shaping up to be for recruiting purposes. The LSU coaches are expected to host more than 30 prospects from the Class of 2006 on official and unofficial visits for the Florida game highlighted by some of the top players on the Tigers' Wish List.

The star-studded lineup that has been confirmed includes the No.1 cornerback in America, along with the No. 3 rated quarterback, No. 3 rated tight end, No. 4 rated safety, No. 11 rated linebacker and No. 16 rated offensive lineman.

Everyone wants to know just how legitimate Tim Tebow's interest is. After all, the Tigers signed the top quarterback in the 2005 class and they already have a pledge from the fourth rated signal caller in this class. For LSU to even get an unofficial visit from the third rated quarterback in this class is pretty remarkable but even more so is the fact that he says he is genuinely interested in the Tigers and that they are still in the hunt for his signature.

The 6-3, 217-pounder from St. Augustine (Fla.) Nease said having Ryan Perrilloux and Alex Cate may play a small role in his decision but the fact that LSU has Les Miles and Jimbo Fisher will play an even larger role as far as he is concerned. He could not stop talking about how much he likes Miles, Fisher and the offense LSU runs.

Now, I would be shocked if LSU lands Tebow and I consider it a gigantic long shot but stranger things have happened. If he has a good visit and decides to come back for an official then I may alter my stance but for now I'm sticking with my gut feeling and that is Alabama, Florida State or Florida will come out on top.

The real question is how will this affect Cate and the pledge he gave the Tigers back over the summer?

When I spoke with Cate shortly after he pulled the trigger he said Fisher told him they only wanted one quarterback and if he would give them a commitment then he was their guy.

The way I see it is a couple of things could have taken place since then.

One, the coaches feel that Cate could be looking around and that they have to protect themselves because they need a top-notch quarterback in this class.

Another scenario could be that they feel there is a good chance they will lose one of their current signal callers this year with JaMarcus Russell possibly opting to test the NFL waters or Matt Flynn looking to transfer so he can have the chance to be a starter somewhere else.

At this point, I think Flynn leaving is more likely than Russell bolting for the NFL but this is something I will be looking into next week. I will attempt to catch up with Cate to see what he is hearing, and more importantly, how he is feeling about his early commitment since LSU is in hot pursuit of Tebow.

Three of the top prospects in California will be making their official visit this weekend and what a coup it would be if the Tigers could end up landing a couple of them, or even one of them.

Headlining the list of West Coast studs is the nation's fourth rated safety Jonas Mouton (6-2, 210, 4.5).

Mouton was born in Kaplan, La., but has lived in Los Angeles for the past seven years . He still has several members of his family living in South Louisiana and they are doing their best to bring him back home.

"It helps that I still have family down there but I have to do what is best for me and they know that," Mouton said. "LSU is a good school and has a good football program so that gives me a lot to think about. I'm looking forward to getting back down to Louisiana for the weekend."

Along with LSU, Mouton is also considering Michigan (9/10), Nebraska (9/2) and USC. He has kept things close to the vest throughout his recruitment and still claims no leader.

For LSU's sake, hopefully that will change after this weekend.

LSU needs a couple of tight ends in this class and there are not many out there better than Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds product Na Derris Ward (6-5, 245, 4.8).

Ward, who is rated No. 3 in the nation at his position, has been following the developments at LSU very closely over the past few months and likes what he sees.

"They always have a good team and they know how to get their players ready for the next level," Ward said. "The folks around there have been through a lot with the hurricanes and the way they have responded is unbelievable. LSU has been through so much and still has a good team. That is impressive."

If the Tigers are going to pull Ward down South they will have to beat out Georgia (11/19), Florida (11/26), Tennessee (10/29), Arizona (10/22) and Washington.

Mark Johnson (6-3, 230, 4.5) of Los Angels-Susan Miller Dorsey would certainly shore up the linebacker corps and he will also make his way from California down to the bayou this weekend.

Rated as the nation's 11th best linebacker, Johnson has the size and speed to be a big-time player at the college level. He lists Ohio State, Miami, Florida, California, Michigan and Tennessee as his other top schools but the Tigers' need for linebackers is very appealing to the standout defender.

"The coaches said they will lose three senior starters this year and that I could go in and compete for playing time right away," Johnson said. "All you can ask for is the opportunity and they present a good one. I have heard a lot about LSU games and how crazy they are so I can't wait to see it for myself."

Two more linebackers coming to town are Kelvin Sheppard (6-2, 222, 4.7) and Perry Riley (6-0, 210, 4.6).

The Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson teammates are flying in together and are really excited about their visit.

LSU has not had a lot of success recruiting the Peach State but the Tigers are in very good shape with both guys.

Sheppard has stated that he could pull the trigger and commit if he has a good visit and Riley said a good trip could go a long ways towards helping him make a decision.

Does the idea of leaving home bother these two kids?

"Not at all," Riley said. "We both talk about getting away to see some different things and to experience life outside of Georgia. We don't put any pressure on each other but we will probably end up at the same place."

Georgia has only two linebackers already committed so you know Mark Richt is going to do his best to keep these two close to home.

Another major needs area in this class is the offensive line and one of the top guards in Georgia will be traveling to Baton Rouge.

Steven Singleton, a 6-3, 293-pounder from Buford, (Ga.), has been sitting on an LSU offer for a few months now and he is looking forward to making his way down to Louisiana.

"I've talked to the coaches a lot lately and all they keep saying is how bad they need linemen," Singleton he said. "I know a lot about LSU because I live in SEC country and it is one of the top schools around. I can't wait to see the facilities and compare them to other places I've been."

The only other place he has been to is Georgia and he plans on visiting Mississippi State, South Carolina and West Virginia before he makes a decision.

The No. 16 rated offensive lineman is Lee Tilley and he will make his way down from Big 10 country.

I spoke to Columbus (Ohio) Franklin Heights offensive line coach Jeremy Beckham last week and he said that LSU is definitely in the hunt and is in good shape with his big 6-7, 310 pound tackle.

"LSU has a real good shot with him," Beckham said. "Lee wants to play in some warm weather and have the chance to win a national championship. They give him a good opportunity to play early and are high on his list."

Tilley has already visited Florida (camp), Oklahoma (10/1) and Arizona State (10/8) and he plans on tripping to South Carolina and West Virginia before giving his verbal commitment.

Three-star prospect J.D. Lott (6-4, 212, 4.6) of Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian took an unofficial visit to Tennessee a week ago and he will taking his first official visit this weekend with LSU being his destination. He is someone to keep an eye because he likes the idea of playing tight end and LSU is the only school to offer him for that spot.

Bani Gbadyu (6-1, 210, 4.5) of Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard committed to the Tigers over the summer after his camp stop in Baton Rouge and he will be coming in to check things out.

The three-star linebacker has not wavered on his early pledge and this trip should solidify LSU as the school he signs with in February.

In addition to Tim Tebow, there are several high-profile recruits coming in for an unofficial visit and Destrehan's Jai Eugene (6-1, 185, 4.4) is at the top of that list.

There are not any new developments with the nation's No. 1 cornerback other than the fact that I spoke to someone very close to his situation and my source also feels that the likelihood of Eugene going too far away to play his college football is very slim.

As for Eugene's teammate, Chaz Washington (6-3, 295, 5.0), it looks like the only way he is going to end up at LSU is if he is willing to move to the offensive line.

My source said that he has been told by someone close to the LSU staff that the four-star defensive tackle has been told that he has a scholarship offer if he moves to the other side of the ball. That presents this young man with a tough dilemma because he really likes LSU and wants to stay close to home but he wants to stay on defense.

The country's No. 3 rated offensive lineman, Ian Symonette (6-9, 250, 5.4) of St. Pius High School, told my Texas source that he may drive over from Houston for the game but that is not set in stone.

Three more prospects expected to be in town for an unofficial are Jarred Mitchell, Ricky Dixon and Zhamal Thomas. All three have offers with Thomas' being conditional (grades) and the Tigers are in good shape with all three.

That is all for now but be sure to check back on Sunday as we will give you updates on how the weekend turns out and let you know if anyone pulls the trigger.

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