Tuesday, November 13, 2012
2014 prospects: National targets
By David Helman
At this point, it's become a bit of a calling card for LSU to rule the roost of major college football by locking down the high school elite within the small but talented state of Louisiana. It's no coincidence the Tigers have risen to national prominence in the decade since they started keeping the vast majority of the state's elite players at home.
But it has also been well-documented in this space that LSU is a national brand and a name-brand program now more than ever. Eleven of the Tigers' 12 games this season ran on national television, which puts the program in front of more recruits than ever before. You can see the evidence in the staggering 13 out-of-state commits in this year's recruiting class. Distance just isn't the factor it used to be, as players from as far away as California, Illinois, Nebraska and North Carolina are slated to join up with the Tigers.
With that in mind, what are some non-Louisiana names you can expect to hear associated with LSU in the next year?
ATH Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City, Okla./Douglass): Take a look at Clark and try not to think of 2013 all-star prospect Kendell Beckwith (Clinton, La./East Feliciana). He's considered an athlete right now, which surely means Clark is going to get looks as both a defensive end and a linebacker. The 6-foot-4, 234-pound prospect even compares to Beckwith in that he doubles as a running back for Douglass. Clark made the trek to Baton Rouge for a July camp visit, and he holds an early offer.
DB Damon Webb (Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech): Another highly touted junior who grabbed an LSU offer during July recruiting camp. Webb impressed among a particularly strong group of defensive back attendees, including 2013 commits Jeryl Brazil (Loranger, La./Loranger), Tre'Davious White (Shreveport, La./Green Oaks) and Rashard Robinson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanche Ely). The 5-foot-11 corner prospect has local ties to Louisiana in that his mother is from the area and is a big LSU fan. It's pretty uncommon for LSU to land a Michigan product, but Webb wouldn't be the first Cass Tech player to head for Baton Rouge in recent years -- former offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale was a product of the program.
TE Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian): The Tigers are showing plenty of love to local tight end Jacory Washington (Westlake, La./Westlake), who holds plenty of offers in his own right, but Blazevich might be the cream of next year's tight end class. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder holds nearly 20 offers to this point, and he seems serious about looking at as many suitors as possible. The ESPN Watch List member has already flown down from North Carolina for an unofficial visit to LSU this season.
LB Tre Williams (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul's Episcopal): Williams figures to be one of Alabama's top 2014 prospects. He hasn't even made a list of favorites for his services, but it seems encouraging that the 6-foot-2 linebacker has already been to Baton Rouge twice -- once in 2011 for the Auburn game, and again two weeks ago for the clash with the Crimson Tide. LSU has proven it can pluck top talent from the Capstone State, just ask 2012 signee Kwon Alexander.
LB Kain Daub(Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood): Daub was a commit just a week or so ago, but the race for his services just got a lot tougher. Daub's mother said last week that the Tigers are still the ESPN Watch List linebacker's favorite, but schools nationwide -- from Alabama to Southern Cal -- will be in pursuit of this prospect. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers can remain in the picture as the 2014 class prepares to kick into high gear.
For good measure
DB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), DB Brandon Simmons (Arlington, Texas/Timberview), DB Ed Paris (Arlington, Texas/Timberview), DB Chris Hardeman (Houston, Texas/Alief Taylor): Texas has been such a fertile recruiting ground for LSU football in the past decade, it seems almost unfair to list it as out-of-state recruiting territory. But the talented defensive backs coming out of the state next year might be the best in recent memory, and four of those top prospects list LSU as a big-time contender. Hardeman of course has already committed, while Brown has been coming and going from the program for years. If two of these four sign with LSU in 15 months, it will be a coup for the Tigers. If all four were to somehow make their way to Baton Rouge, it could go a long way toward a No. 1 recruiting class.