Monday, February 3, 2014
LSU among finalists for big three on NSD
By David Ching
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU went into the final weekend prior to national signing day as a contender for the top three remaining uncommitted prospects in the ESPN 300.
Malachi Dupre, the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, might be the most important must-get recruit among the remaining prospects LSU is pursuing.
With all three players set to announce their decisions live on ESPNU, Les Miles' program could become one of the nation's biggest movers on Wednesday if their decisions go LSU's way. Regardless, with 19 public commitments to this point, the Tigers will have an interesting next few days as they round out this recruiting cycle. But for now, let's look at the Tigers' three biggest remaining targets as signing day approaches.
CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) No. 9 overall prospect in ESPN 300, No. 3 CB
Jackson took a final look at two of his finalists, USC and UCLA, over the weekend, although multiple LSU coaches visited the Under Armour All-American within the last few days to give him the hard sell. LSU even involved its track and field coaching staff in the recruiting pitch, as Jackson is a standout long jumper and LSU boasts the 2013 NCAA champion in the event, Damar Forbes. Oddly enough, LSU is the only school among his four named finalists (a group that also includes Florida) where he made an official visit. The Tigers do not appear to be the favorite to land Jackson's signature according to most recruiting analysts, but if he does pick LSU, Jackson would complete one of the nation's top groups of defensive backs in the 2014 class. LSU already has verbal commitments from three ESPN 300 defensive backs: safety Jamal Adams (No. 18), safety Edward Paris Jr. (No. 50, already enrolled) and athlete Devin Voorhies (No. 134).
DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) No. 14 overall prospect, No. 3 DE
Carter made an official visit to Georgia over the weekend, and Mark Richt's Bulldogs appear to be the favorites to land the Under Armour All-American, whose high school is only an hour away from the UGA campus. The 6-foot-6 basketball standout actually hit the winning free throw in the closing seconds of a game before embarking on the visit. The basketball court has been the home of a significant portion of this recruiting battle, as coaches flocked to Carter's games to make their pitches to the athletic big man and his family. With its recent tradition of sending defensive linemen to the NFL, LSU certainly had a compelling argument to make -- particularly with the Tigers looking to add elite pass rushers since Jermauria Rasco led the team with just four quarterback takedowns last fall.
LSU already addressed one major need when it landed a commitment from top overall prospect Leonard Fournette at tailback. The Tigers could go a long way toward replacing star wideouts Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry with this class, especially if they land Dupre, the top remaining in-state player and top receiver in the ESPN 300. LSU already has verbal commitments from No. 3 wideout Trey Quinn and two more ESPN 300 receivers in D.J. Chark and Tony Upchurch. Dupre would be the icing on the cake, and conventional wisdom says he is the most likely of the big three to become a Tiger. The Under Armour All-American and teammate Kenny Young took official visits to UCLA over the weekend following trips to LSU -- on the same January weekend that Carter visited -- Alabama, Florida State and Ole Miss. In recruiting circles, Dupre seems to be the consensus must-get player among the remaining prospects LSU is pursuing.
Those are the top three, but LSU still has a number of additional top prospects in its crosshairs. Over the next few days, Tigers fans will also keep a close watch on players such as defensive tackles Travonte Valentine (who visited Miami over the weekend after visiting Baton Rouge the weekend before) and Trey Lealaimatafao, Young, and offensive lineman Derrick Kelly Jr. as Miles and his staff work to complete LSU's 2014 signing class.