LSU or Bama? Kendell Beckwith to pick Friday at Under Armour Game

LSU football fans, hungry for some good news in the wake of Monday’s 25-24 loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, got some Wednesday with the expected commitment of defensive tackle Maquedius Bain. But what would truly bring a smile to the faces of the Tiger faithful is a pledge Friday night from highly regarded East Feliciana prospect Kendell Beckwith.

Beckwith is scheduled to be one of six players who will announce their commitment during Friday’s Under Armour All-America Game. He has narrowed his choices to LSU and Alabama but, despite indications he is leaning to LSU, Beckwith has remained tight-lipped about his choice.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game will air on ESPN.

Beckwith (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) is the nation’s No. 19 prospect, according to ESPN, and arguably the top player in Louisiana for 2013.

Reports surfaced that Bain (6-5, 285), who hails from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University, quietly committed to LSU during his official visit to Baton Rouge. Whether he did remained debatable, but Bain ended any remaining suspense Wednesday by pledging to the Tigers during Under Armour practice at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

“I had a fantastic trip and, when I was there, I saw everything that LSU had to offer academically and in football,” Bain told ESPN. “The coaches are great guys but they make you work so hard (that) it’s a lot like the coaches at (my high school).”

Bain is the nation’s No. 6 defensive tackle and No. 43 prospect overall, according to ESPN. He becomes LSU’s 24th commitment/signee for 2013 and the highest-rated commitment on LSU’s list, according to ESPN.

Along with Beckwith, four other players strongly considering LSU will play in the Under Armour game. That group is led by the nation’s No. 1 prospect, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (6-5, 265) of Logansville (Ga.) Grayson.

Nkemdiche said Wednesday that Ole Miss is his leader ahead of LSU, with Florida and Alabama in the mix. A former commitment to Clemson, Nkemdiche’s brother Denzel plays linebacker at Ole Miss, a major factor in his recruitment.

Other prospects considering LSU in the Under Armour Game are University High defensive end Tim Williams (6-4, 230; Miami leads over LSU and others); safety Antonio Conner (6-2, 200) of Batesville (Miss.) South Panola (Ole Miss and Alabama are his favorites); safety Priest Willis (6-2, 199) of Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos de Niza (LSU, UCLA, Nebraska, Arizona State, Virginia, Florida State); and Durham (N.C.) Milford tight end Josh McNeil (Alabama decommitment, LSU lean).

Conner is No. 21 on the ESPN 150, Williams is No. 23, Willis is No. 50 and McNeil is No. 131.

Along with Bain, three other LSU commitments are in the Under Armour game: Loranger cornerback Jeryl Brazil (5-10, 184), Lemont (Ill.) offensive tackle Ethan Pocic (6-6, 285) and Hope Mills (N.C.) South View defensive tackle Greg Gilmore (6-4, 285). Brazil is No. 58 on the ESPN 150, Pocic is No. 74 and Gilmore is No. 104. Also in the game is Karr cornerback Noel Ellis (5-10, 170), ranked No. 162 on the ESPN 300 and a commitment to Texas A&M.

Six LSU commitments will play Saturday in the U.S. Army All American Bowl, which kicks off at noon in San Antonio. The game will air live on NBC.

That list includes New Iberia Westgate offensive lineman Josh Boutte (6-4, 305); Monroe Neville athlete John Diarse (6-0, 210, No. 210 on ESPN 300); Memphis (Tenn.) Central defensive end Frank Herron (6-4, 236, No. 292 on ESPN 300); Los Angeles Cathedral QB Hayden Rettig (6-3, 205, No. 215 on ESPN 300), Lake Charles Barbe tight end DeSean Smith (6-4, 225, No. 143 on ESPN 150) and Shreveport Green Oaks Athlete Tre’Davious White (5-11, 170).

Two more LSU commitments will play Friday in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, Calif.: Kentwood safety Jeremy Cutrer (6-2, 180) and Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest defensive tackle Christian LaCouture (6-5, 267). That game kicks off at 8 p.m. on the NFL Network.