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Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Willis highlights big Dec. 14 weekend

By Gary Laney

Priest Willis
ESPN 150 safety Priest Willis is scheduled to officially visit LSU Dec. 14, highlighting what is expected to be an important recruiting weekend for the Tigers.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The middle of December could be big for LSU football recruiting.

LSU is scheduled to host a big recruiting weekend Dec. 14-16, and it's looking like some intriguing unsigned players will be there as well.

One player who confirmed a visit to LSU that weekend is safety Priest Willis. The stepfather of the ESPN 150 safety from Tempe (Ariz.) Marco de Niza confirmed the visit with ESPN.com's Erik McKinney on Tuesday.

That could be an area of need for LSU. The Tigers are thin in the secondary after a couple of players transferred after last season. The Tigers also figure to lose junior Eric Reid to the NFL draft, and the other starter, Craig Loston, will be a senior next season. Willis possesses the size and physicality that could make him a factor in the LSU secondary.

So far, LSU has just one commitment from a safety, three-star safety Jeremy Cutrer. LSU also has offers out to ESPN 150 safety Tahaan Goodman and ESPN 150 athlete Max Redfield, a pair of West Coast players like Willis. But those two seem like longshots at best. Louisiana will present LSU with the opportunity to pursue an elite 2014 safety in Laurence "Hootie" Jones of Monroe (La.) Neville, but the Tigers' staff will likely want to bring in an impact safety sooner than that.

Another player who may come that weekend is  ESPN 150 defensive tackle Maquedius Bain, who recently raved about a visit to Oklahoma, and told ESPN.com reporter Corey Long he would visit LSU after his high school team, Davie (Fla.) University School, played for the Florida Class 3A state championship Friday.

The big recruiting weekend Dec. 14 looks like a perfect time for Bain to visit.

If LSU were to get Bain, he'd be the highest-rated of what's becoming a deep recruiting class for defensive linemen. Bain is rated No. 6 among defensive tackles and LSU has commitments from No. 9 (Greg Gilmore) and No. 40 (Christian LaCouture). Another prospect who is projected to be a defensive tackle by LSU is Tevin Lawson, who is listed as an offensive line prospect by ESPN.

LSU will have a need at defensive tackle because of the departure of senior Josh Downs and the likely loss of junior Bennie Logan to the NFL draft.

Bain is just one of several Florida-based prospects making the rounds in LSU recruiting circles since fullback prospect Kennard Swanson decommitted last week. Swanson is considered by many to be bound for Florida, but the Tigers still have interests in the area. One of those is Miami cornerback Artie Burns -- a commitment to the Hurricanes. The four-star prospect from Miami Northwestern took an official visit to Baton Rouge for the Tigers' win against Ole Miss, however. Burns said he enjoyed the trip, but doesn't plan to be back during his down time.

LSU will be bringing in plenty of its current commitments in the coming weeks, especially at the local level, as most local players preferred to take unofficial visits during football season. The Tigers' coaching staff has already been out to see the likes of current commits like Jeryl Brazil and John Diarse, and those players will be making return trips to Baton Rouge. The coaching staff will have made two trips up to Clinton, La., to see uncommitted ESPN 150 athlete Kendell Beckwith by the end of the week. Beckwith still intends to visit Alabama and LSU this month, which makes Dec. 14 a big candidate for a visit weekend.