TIGER WRAP: Our latest recruiting scoop

It's Friday and that means it is time for another edition of Tiger Rag's Tiger Wrap. This week we will take a look at the latest on Reshad Jones, Kelvin Sheppard, Perry Riley, Leonard Hewitt, E.J. Shankle and much more.

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I spoke to four-star safety Reshad Jones briefly and he said the LSU running backs coach Larry Porter is doing a great job of making him feel wanted. He said that Georgia, Miami, Florida and LSU are his top four in no particular order but he did say that staying close to home has been weighing heavily on his mind of late.

 

Jones will be a part of that huge recruiting weekend slated for Jan. 20 and then he will make the short trip to Athens the following weekend. At this point, I'd say the chances of landing him are slim but they could improve drastically if LaRon Landry announces over the weekend that he is declaring for the NFL draft.

 

On a side note, everything I'm hearing regarding Landry's status is that he is leaning towards returning for his senior year.

 

LSU lost out on Jai Eugene and I'm really not even going to get into that too much because I've heard from several sources that he is dead set on leaving the state.

 

I tried to reach Eugene several times this week to see what prompted his decision to choose Michigan when he told me several times that he wanted to stay close to home and that was his biggest factor. Now, though, it appears that based on some interviews he did with the Times Picayune that the opportunity to play early was a bigger factor and he felt that Michigan would provide him a better opportunity to do that.

 

I'm going to keep trying to reach the nation's top rated cornerback but based on the information I have gathered from others Eugene is done with LSU and Les Miles is also done with Eugene.

 

While I'm on the subject, I can't help but think of recruits playing games with coaches and members of the media.

 

Another player who could be playing games is four-star offensive lineman Russell Okung.

 

Last week, Okung told me that LSU was back in the mix and then this week when I talked to him I couldn't even get him to respond to some questions.

 

At one point he said that he had pretty much eliminated LSU from consideration and then he followed that up with, "I really don't know about LSU. Part of me wants to consider them but then another part of me doesn't because I don't feel like they want me as bad as some other schools do."

 

When asked if he still planned to visit LSU officially, he replied, "I don't know but right now I'd have to say no."

 

A player who could take Jai Eugene's spot is Lufkin (Texas) athlete E.J. Shankle, who was once considered a Texas Tech commitment. I'm hearing from some credible sources that the LSU coaches feel pretty good about their chances with Shankle.

 

Another player LSU is in great shape with if his scholarship offer stills stands is Shankle's teammate Leonard Hewitt.

 

Hewitt told me that he would commit to LSU on the spot but he has not spoken with LSU linebackers coach Bradley Dale Peveto in a few weeks. What that tells me is that Hewitt has been put on the back burner and it is possible that he is not even on LSU's radar any longer.

 

This situation may leave the LSU coaches in a precarious predicament because Shankle and Hewitt want to play together and they have both been adamant about attending the same school.

 

The way I figure it, LSU lost out on Eugene and there is a good chance that Reshad Jones is going to Georgia so that leaves two spots open in the secondary.

 

Shankle and Hewitt could fill those two spots and give the Tigers two talented players who could play either free safety or corner. Both are tentatively scheduled to visit next weekend and it will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next 10 days because it could be a boom or bust for LSU.

 

A new player who has popped up and who may be visiting LSU next weekend is Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby defensive back Marcus Udell (5-11, 185, 4.5).

 

Udell could also play corner or safety but just how much interest he has in the Tigers is a mystery. I'm told that the LSU coaches should not get their hopes up too much but I will try and contact Udell next week to see if in fact he does plan on tripping down to the bayou.

 

Many of the players left on LSU's board and some who have already committed to the Tigers will be taking an official visit this weekend to check out other schools.

 

Out of the players who have already committed and who plan on visiting some other schools that list includes Perry Riley, Kelvin Sheppard and Derrick Odom (Tennessee), and Marcus Tillman (Ole Miss). I've heard through the grapevine that Danny McCray may be tripping to Texas Tech but there has been no confirmation on that trip.

 

I've recently spoken to all three of the linebackers heading to Tennessee this weekend and neither of them said anything that would cause me to have any doubts regarding their pledge to the Tigers. Phil Fulmer is a good closer, though, so that right there is enough to make things a little uneasy until I catch up with each of them following their visit.

 

I do know that next week will be very busy for the Georgia boys as Fulmer and Les Miles will make their in-home visit to both players. If both Sheppard and Riley still say they are solid to LSU following those in-home visits then the Tigers should be in good shape to get their signatures on signing day.

 

I'm hearing that Derrick Odom is having some strong thoughts about Alabama but when I asked him about the situation he reiterated his stance with LSU.

 

"I'm still committed to LSU and it's pretty solid," Odom said. "I'm visiting Tennessee and Southern Miss to see what they have to offer but I already know what Alabama has. I went there first and then to LSU. After comparing the two LSU had more to offer and I still feel that way."

 

I've put in several calls to Marcus Tillman this week but never heard back from him. I'm hearing that the LSU coaches are a little worried that they may lose him but based on my conversation with Tillman last week he is still committed to the Tigers. I have heard from several pretty good sources close to Ole Miss and they are saying that Ed Orgeron is really putting the pressure on Tillman and throwing a negative spin on LSU.

 

What I'm hearing is that he has even gone as far to say that in a few years Ole Miss will take LSU's place at the top of the SEC West. I have no idea how Orgeron can say that with a straight face because in my opinion this guy is a clown and is in no way prepared to be a head coach in the SEC.

 

I'll have more on Tillman on Sunday following his trip to Ole Miss.

 

The nation's No. 1offensive lineman Andre Smith was scheduled to visit LSU officially this weekend but he will go to Alabama instead and then head to Baton Rouge the next weekend.

 

That kind of worries me a little because Alabama has been believed to be the leader for Smith and it would not surprise me if he commits sometime next week and never eve makes it to Baton Rouge. He was a long shot to begin with but I've seen some strange things happed when a kid makes an official visit late.

 

Below is a list of the other guys on the board and where they will be heading this weekend: Keiland Williams (USC); Jared Mitchell (South Carolina); Ricky Dixon (Mississippi State); Chris Mitchell (Tennessee); Marcus Udell (Alabama); Ian Symonette (Florida); Phil Loadholt (Kansas State); Charles Deas (Auburn); E. J. Shankle (Texas A&M); Leonard Hewitt (Texas A&M); Dexter Manley, Jr. (Oregon); and Jermaine Gresham (USC).

 

Be sure to check back on Sunday and all of next week for updates on the players left on LSU's board and also for profiles of the top players in Louisiana for 2007.


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