The LSU staff has had little trouble putting together a standout defensive tackle class, especially with the abundance of homegrown talent that the 2011 class has produced.
New Orleans product Anthony Johnson, a five-star prospect and the nation’s No. 3 defensive tackle, signed on as the marquee name last December. Breaux Bridge’s Quentin Thomas, ranked among the top-40 nationally at the position, joined on five months later.
With good feedback coming from Covington’s Mickey Johnson, the class should close out with the state’s top three names in the middle.
However, landing the top man on the outsides remains a battle that the Tigers are fighting against power teams from the East and West.
Jermauria Rasco, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end from Evangel Christian, has offers from schools across the map. Yet, mutual interest seems down to a handful of teams – and LSU appears to be in the mix for the long haul.
“LSU is a school that I won’t ever eliminate from my top teams because it’s home,” Rasco said. “I know the coaches pretty well, especially (defensive line) coach Brick (Haley). We keep in touch the most. He’s come up here and he’s always trying to get me to come down there. I didn’t make it this summer, but I’m going to get there in the fall for a game.
“I didn’t really need to see LSU again when I only had a few free weekends, so I used those for a road trip.”
The five-star prospect made stops at both Alabama and Florida State during the campus tour, spending time with both Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher along the way.
“Those coaches are really cool guys, and they’ve got Louisiana ties so they know how things are for me,” Rasco said. “I had never been to Florida State, so I enjoyed just seeing the campus and getting to meet with the coaches. I’ve gotten to know coach (DJ) Elliot pretty well, so that has helped with Florida State.”
The current view is that Alabama, LSU and Texas all hold a sizeable lead over the Seminoles. Rasco pointed to his long-standing relationship with the three staffs as the major advantage.
As the lead trio head into the fall months, official visits become the recruiting conversation each weekend.
Does Rasco plan to run through all five visits?
“Right now that’s what I’m looking at,” he said. “I want to check out the main schools that have been on me but I also want to get an eye on what some other places look like. I haven’t gotten to see much away from home. I’m not going to rush the process, and I don’t think I’ll decide on anything before my senior year.
“I still don’t feel like I’m leaning one way or another, so that means there’s still a lot I need to figure out.”
Rasco, who just wrapped up summer workouts with the Evangel 7-on-7 team as an outside linebacker, said that the tone of his recruitment – a pass-rush defensive end all the way – could soon change.
“I’m just testing outside linebacker right now to see how it feels,” he said. “The (Evangel) coaches are going to start playing me some there this season. I think I could do well with it. Alabama had always talked with me about playing there in college, and some other teams are starting to bring it up as well. It’s all fresh, so we’ll see after the season.”
LSU, who’s biggest recruiting advantage should prove to be the home-state connection, will continue to hope that the relationships made with current and former Tigers will lend Rasco to gravitate towards Baton Rouge coming signing day.
“I am definitely the closest with guys on LSU’s team,” Rasco said. “I grew up knowing guys like Morris Claiborne and Jarrett Fobbs. I’ve known Chris Davenport for a while, too. That is a connection that is just part of LSU. I’ve been going down to Baton Rouge for a long time.”