Checking LSU’s recruiting board as Signing Day nears

Seventeen days remain until the start of the national signing period Feb. 6 and, despite being full enough with 26 commitments, LSU remains in play for a number of high-profile prospects.

Here’s a look at the biggest targets still on LSU’s board, with position, height, weight and current school:

Robert Nkemdiche, DE, 6-4, 265, Logansville (Ga.) Grayson

Highest rating: Consensus national No. 1 prospect.

Outlook: Nkemdiche is the Flying Dutchman of LSU’s 2013 recruiting efforts, always sailing just over the horizon but never finding another port. He is at Florida this weekend, Ole Miss (still his leader) the next and LSU on Feb. 1 (provided Ole Miss doesn’t lock him up). If that doesn’t happen, LSU has a chance to pull a surprise on Signing Day. Getting Nkemdiche may also mean landing one of his teammates — cornerback David Kamara (5-10, 175), a three-star prospect.

Priest Willis, S, 6-2, 199, Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos de Niza

Highest rating: No. 41, Scout 300.

Outlook: Willis took a visit to LSU the weekend of Dec. 14 and came away impressed and conflicted; before he was a serious lean to UCLA. Of the big fish still on LSU’s board, Willis seems the Tigers’ most likely catch, though his official visit to UCLA this weekend isn’t a comforting sign for LSU. If he returns uncommitted, LSU is still in play.

Tahaan Goodman, S, 6-2, 184, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Highest rating: No. 46, 24/7 Sports Top 247.

Outlook: Goodman was scheduled to make an official visit to LSU but went to UCLA with Willis instead when his travel plans didn’t come together in time. He still could visit LSU either of the next two weekends, but that appears unlikely. Though talented, Goodman is a lower priority for LSU as some project him as an outside linebacker.

Artie Burns, CB, 6-0, 183, Miami Northwestern

Highest rating: No. 52, 24/7 Sports Top 247.

Outlook: Burns committed to Miami over the summer and took his official visit to Coral Gables this weekend. His trip to LSU was in November, yet LSU coaches still harbor hopes of flipping Burns. He’s worth the effort, even if it looks like a long shot. The same is true for fellow Miami commitment Jamal Carter (6-1, 190), an athlete from Miami Southridge who’s at No. 223 on the 24/7 list.

Tashawn Bower, DE, 6-5, 241, Somerville (N.J.) Immaculata

Highest rating: No. 132, ESPN 150.

Outlook: A longtime Auburn commitment, the coaching change there led Bower to re-examine his options. He visited Florida State and Florida (this weekend) and is scheduled to visit LSU next weekend. LSU will continue to press Bower, hoping to land him or Nkemdiche.

Eddie Jackson, WR, 6-1, 178, Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Boyd Anderson

Highest rating: No. 157, 24/7 Sports Top 247.

Outlook: Jackson was considered a near lock for Florida State late last year but has since garnered major interest from the SEC West. He’s at Alabama this weekend, LSU the next and is slated to wrap up Feb. 1 at Arkansas. FSU remains the favorite, though, so LSU must get Jackson on campus and really impress him to have a shot.

Josh McNeil, TE, 6-5, 226, Durham (N.C.) Milford Academy

Highest rating: No. 171, ESPN 300.

Outlook: A former Alabama commitment who later tried to commit to LSU, McNeil wound up at Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College per 24/7 Sports. He plans to sign with LSU when he finishes at Copiah-Lincoln. Check back in 2015.

Cethan Carter, TE/FB, 6-4, 240, Metairie Rummel

Highest rating: Three stars, 24/7 Sports.

Outlook: Carter committed Thursday to Nebraska, but LSU immediately tried to get him to come this weekend for a visit. That didn’t happen. LSU will keep trying to bring him in for an official visit, but the Tigers are reportedly only dangling a grayshirt opportunity. At this point, that seems unlikely to trump the Cornhuskers’ full-fledged scholarship offer.

Kevin Spears, WR, 6-2, 191, New Orleans Holy Cross

Highest rating: Three stars, 24/7 Sports.

Outlook: Spears started playing as a junior and began garnering big-time attention after catching 65 passes for 1,115 yards and 11 TDs as a senior. Spears committed to Louisiana Tech last Sunday, but an official visit to LSU this weekend gives the Tigers serious momentum. A flip from Tech to LSU appears likely.

Courtney Gardner, WR, 6-3, 215, Sierra (Calif.) College

Highest rating: No. 2 junior-college prospect, 24/7 Sports.

Outlook: A former Oklahoma commitment, Gardner has never been able to get his academic house in order. He reportedly wanted to commit to LSU during his November official visit, but his academic issues got in the way. The latest is he may try to go straight to the NFL.