It’s down to eight.
Five days before National Signing Day, LSU is targeting eight prospects for their signatures.
This is the home stretch of, in some cases, what has been a three-year process of relationship building and constant courting of the state’s most talented players (John Curtis stars Malachi Dupre and Kenny Young).
In other cases, LSU has swooped in at the 11th hour with hopes of snatching a prospect from another school or plucking a player from a distant state (TCU receiver commit Emanuel Porter and California cornerback Adoree’ Jackson).
Young, Dupre, Porter and Jackson join a pair of Florida natives, offensive tackle Derrick Kelly and defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, and Georgia defensive end Lorenzo Carter and Texas defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao as LSU’s closing targets.
LSU has 19 commitments for the 2014 class, leaving six spots open. The Tigers are limited to signing 25 on National Signing Day on Wednesday, when players make their commitments binding.
LSU isn’t likely to grab commitments from all of the eight. Four of those targets are leaning toward signing with LSU, said William Weathers, a recruiting reporter at TigerBait.com, a Rivals.com affiliate.
They include Dupre, Valentine, Kelly and Lealaimatafao.
“You can feel pretty good about those three or four,” Weathers said. “Anything beyond that would be a surprise, a good surprise, on signing day.”
Aside from a wave of unexpected commitments, LSU won’t sign the full 25, Weathers and Geaux247 analyst Shea Dixon said. The unused spots will rollover to next year’s signing class.
“They’re not in the business of filling spots just to fill spots,” Weathers said.
Not all of LSU’s eight targets are highly rated talents. Porter, Lealaimatafao and Kelly are three-star prospects with national position rankings hovering around No. 40.
Then there’s the trio of five stars — Dupre, Jackson and Carter — and four stars, Valentine and Young. Jackson and Dupre, a receiver, are rated No. 1 at their position. Carter is rated the second-best defensive end nationally and Valentine the third-best defensive tackle.
If the Tigers get who they’re supposed to — Dupre, Valentine, Kelly and Lealaimatafao — they’ll move up from No. 4 to No. 2 behind Alabama in 24/7 Sports’ composite team national rankings, Dixon said.
Where would that class stack up?
“One of the best that (coach Les) Miles has ever had,” Dixon said. “Top three, that’s considered really elite, especially in a year when they missed on a few guy in-state.”
Weekend road trip
LSU isn’t expected to host any official visitors this weekend, but that doesn’t mean the staff is lounging around.
Miles, at least, will be on the road visiting TCU receiver commit Porter. Porter, who previously committed to Texas, is a Dallas native.
Porter took an official visit to LSU last weekend.
“There’s a possibility he can flip from TCU,” Weathers said.
LSU has commitments from three 2014 receivers and is also pursuing Dupre.
The Tigers hosted 10 or more visitors the previous two weekends.
Williams set on LSU
John Ehret running back Darrel Williams, an LSU commit, has canceled a visit to Texas A&M this weekend and pledges that he’ll sign with LSU on Wednesday.
Williams, a four-star prospect, visited Tennessee last weekend. He has offers from Florida, Tennessee, Arizona State and Florida among others.
Garnett to visit Tennessee
St. Augustine defensive tackle Courtney Garnett, a Texas de-commit, will visit Tennessee this weekend and then decide his school of choice upon returning over the weekend.
He visited Oklahoma two weeks ago. Garnett, a three-star prospect, has offers from Notre Dame and Oregon, too.
Ted Lewis contributed to this report.