LSU on track for a solid finish in recruiting

Some say Tigers in line for top-5 class

George Adams watched live at Tropicana Field as three of five highly touted LSU recruiting targets committed elsewhere during the Under Armour All-America Game.

Texas safety Jamal Adams, George’s son, and St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette were the only two to pick the Tigers.

Four words scrolled through George’s head: “Wow. Man. What’s up?” he said.

Some LSU fans might use stronger ones to describe the Tigers’ 2-for-5 day on Jan. 2, but analysts say the program’s recruiting year is on course for a solid finish despite what many saw as a gloomy day.

The recruiting season is in its final month — National Signing Day is Feb. 5 — and LSU has its eye on a group of four- and five-star targets to fill seven empty spaces in its class.

A few lofty commitments could send the Tigers to a top-3 class and last week’s misses open the door for other recruits to jump on board, analysts say.

“When you focus on the guys you’re getting and not the guys you’re losing, it’s a terrific class,” said Scott Kennedy, Scout.com’s national director of scouting. “They’re the only team we have in the top 10 that has under 20 commits.”

In the team recruiting rankings, LSU is No. 8 (Scout.com), No. 6 (Rivals.com) and No. 5 (24/7 Sports). LSU has 18 commitments, the fewest of any top-10 team in the three polls. Teams are allowed to sign 25 players per year.

Despite that 2-for-5 outing in St. Petersburg, Fla., last week, LSU could be within reach of the top-ranked class in the nation with some late commitments, Kennedy said.

That’s possible because of the commitments of Fournette, the nation’s top-ranked prospect, and Adams, who will soon be elevated to Scout.com’s No. 1 safety, Kennedy said.

“Jamal Adams is ahead of Landon Collins as a player at the same juncture,” Kennedy said, referring to the highly touted former Dutchtown safety who chose Alabama over LSU two years ago.

Enough about past commits, though.

The NCAA’s new dead period ends Wednesday and schools then have three key weekends remaining for official visits.

It’s closing time.

Miles and his staff are zeroing in on a group of highly ranked talent over the final few weeks, said Sonny Shipp, lead recruiting analyst for Geaux247, the 24/7 Sports’ LSU affiliate.

They include Travonte Valentine, a four-star defensive tackle who de-committed from Miami and has named LSU as his leader; Malachi Dupre, the nation’s No. 2-ranked receiver from John Curtis; Adoree Jackson, a California native who’s the second-best cornerback prospect; Kenny Young, the four-star John Curtis linebacker; Lorenzo Carter, a five-star defensive end from Georgia; and Derrick Kelly Jr., a three-star offensive tackle.

Also a part of that group are three Ole Miss commitments LSU is trying to pry away from the Rebels: Covington defensive tackle Gerrald McDowell, and a pair from Jackson, Miss., in linebacker/defensive end Breeland Speaks and offensive guard Roderick Taylor.

Some of those are seen as somewhat of a long shot for LSU (Jackson and Carter) while others are viewed as locks (Dupre, Valentine).

Either way, the decisions of the above seven may define LSU’s signing class.

“If they get Dupre and a couple of three or four stars you’re talking about knocking on the door for the No. 1 class in the country,” Kennedy said.

Dupre, expected to announce on signing day, is the big one.

“He is a must-have,” Shipp said. “At the end of the day, I think a lot would have to change for him to not end up at LSU.”

The decisions by Texas cornerback Tony Brown and defensive tackle Gerald Willis and receiver Devante “Speedy” Noil, both of Edna Karr, to spurn the Tigers at the Under Armour game might help get players like Dupre and others to Baton Rouge, Shipp said.

Early playing time is one of the key factors for prospects when choosing schools.

Noil’s decision may help woo Jackson, who wants to play on offense as well as defense, Shipp said. Willis’ pick (Florida) opens the door for others.

“Speedy goes to Texas A&M. Now LSU’s situation looks a lot more attractive to Adoree Jackson,” he said. “Guys like Lorenzo Carter, Speaks, they look at Gerald Willis … all of a sudden a spot that everybody thought a five-star defensive tackle was going to take (is open) and now you have a depth situation that looks a lot better.”

So that 2-for-5 day? Maybe it wasn’t all bad.

“You look at the class and it’s, ‘OK what’s the problem? Why was anyone upset?’” Kennedy said.