NCF On The Trail: Kendell Beckwith

video
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU's coaching staff had not fully completed its 2015 signing class before 2016 was already front-and-center in the coaches' minds.

Only three days after national signing day, LSU will stage its "Boys From the Boot" recruiting weekend where it will host many of the state's up-and-coming prospects -- so getting the state's top talent on campus this weekend became an immediate top priority.

"We'll have guys from 2016, 2017 from the state of Louisiana here on our campus," LSU recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson said Wednesday afternoon, "and so we've got Thursday, Friday, we're fighting like hell to get those guys here on campus, and Saturday it's showtime."

This is a good time to make an impression on the prospects who visit Baton Rouge this weekend. Much like 2014, when in-state recruits like Leonard Fournette, Cameron Robinson, Speedy Noil, Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn and Hootie Jones made Louisiana one of the most competitive recruiting battlegrounds in the country, 2016 is shaping up as another year where the state is loaded with high-end talent.

Five of the top 29 players in the ESPN Junior 300 -- defensive tackles Edwin Alexander, Rashard Lawrence, athlete Shyheim Carter, quarterback Shea Patterson and offensive tackle Willie Allen -- and 12 of the top 105 hail from the Tigers' home state.

Allen was among the players who received a scholarship offer from LSU at the event last year, and there will likely be a number of offers going out this weekend, as well.

"We've done all the communication by way of email, by way of correspondence and literature, camp brochures -- all the things that lead up to this point," Wilson said. "It would be the first time on campus that we describe to them the expectations from our staff, and what we expect from them to be recruitable athletes for us at LSU."

Two priority positions in the 2016 class will be linebacker and defensive tackle -- both spots where LSU did not sign a player in 2015. The Tigers would hit a home run at one of those positions -- defensive tackle -- just by taking care of business in state.

They already have a commitment from 6-foot-4, 349-pound Donavaughn Campbell, but tackles Alexander (No. 7 on ESPN 300 and No. 1 tackle) and Lawrence (No. 16 overall and No. 3 tackle) are the two most coveted prospects from within the state. ESPN's No. 13 defensive tackle Glen Logan also hails from Louisiana.

"You can probably imagine 2016 will be a big year for us defensively, as we return several guys this year and our numbers are probably minus-2 where we would like them to be, but we'll get it with no problem next year at the linebacker position, at the defensive tackle position," Wilson said. "As those guys -- [starting defensive tackles] Christian LaCouture, Davon Godchaux -- as they get older, we'll look to have some parity in the distinction between our sophomores and juniors and the freshman class that will come in.

"So I think we'll have a heavy emphasis on our defensive line, our linebacker position and kind of take the rest of them in stride based on graduation and guys that may opt to go the National Football League."

Junior LaCouture and sophomore Godchaux return as starters, and new defensive line coach Ed Orgeron will also have a number of third-year sophomores (Maquedius Bain, Greg Gilmore and Frank Herron) and redshirt freshmen (Travonte Valentine and Trey Lealaimatafao) at his disposal in 2015. Recruiting the 2016 tackle standouts will not only be about bolstering depth, but solidifying the interior line for several years to come.

"We're very deep, but we have some young players that played very well last year. We have some guys that we redshirted here that we think are going to be great players," Orgeron told ESPN's Niki Noto Palmer on Wednesday. "Obviously we always want to get the best defensive tackle in the country here at LSU. That wasn't available to us this year, but it's a great year for defensive tackles in the state of Louisiana and across the country and we look to sign a bunch next year."

LSU struck out with inside linebacker Leo Lewis on Wednesday, making the position even more of a concern for new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Kevin Steele over the next year. Only half of the six linebackers LSU signed in 2012 (Lamar Louis, Deion Jones and Ronnie Feist) remain on the roster, and the Tigers signed just two linebackers in 2013 (Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley) and 2014 (Clifton Garrett and Donnie Alexander) before landing none this year.

Noted recruiters Steele and Orgeron only joined Les Miles' coaching staff three weeks before signing day. That was certainly not enough time for them to make a huge impact in this recruiting cycle, although Wilson said "we couldn't have gotten" Arden Key (ESPN's No. 24 overall prospect and No. 6 defensive end for 2015) without the two new coaches.

However, just wait until this time next year, Miles said, once Steele and Orgeron have had adequate time to connect with recruits.

"In a year you're going to see how good they recruit because they will have relationships that they will carry over for a solid year and then they will have an opportunity to have those men sign with us, first and foremost," Miles said. "But both of those guys know the brand at LSU. Both of those guys played against us. Both of those guys had an opportunity to grow up around this program.

"Ed Orgeron is having a blast being an LSU Tiger and coaching for us and Kevin Steele is, as well. Really it was a natural fit in recruiting. Both guys are professional and know how to do it"

LSU-Alabama recruiting battles 

November, 7, 2014
11/07/14
2:00
PM ET
Every year the Alabama-LSU game is one of most highly anticipated games of the year. The two teams, for the most part, have been the most dominant teams in the SEC West. With Auburn’s success the past two years and the emergence of Ole Miss and Mississippi State, the competitive division is arguably the toughest in college football. The competition also carries over to recruiting. Over the past several years LSU and Alabama have had some great recruiting battles, none better than last year when the two schools went head-to-head for several prospects. Here’s a closer look at some of the top recent recruiting battles between the two schools.

Signing day primer: LSU 

January, 23, 2013
1/23/13
9:54
AM ET
BATON ROUGE, La. -- With national signing day two weeks away, LSU is close to the finish line, but the Tigers still have some big names they are after:

Team needs: LSU was decimated on the defensive line by graduation and early NFL draft entrees.

The Tigers will be without six of the nine defensive linemen who played the majority of the snaps, including three potential first-round NFL draft picks, led by lightning-quick speed-rushing end Barkevious Mingo.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Weekly Commitment Update 

January, 11, 2013
1/11/13
8:41
AM ET
ACC
Clemson
Ebenezer Ogundeko DE Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson
HT: 6-3 WT: 229
Position Rank: #10 DE

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Scouts: LSU needs Beckwith up front 

January, 5, 2013
1/05/13
12:09
PM ET
This could be a pivotal get for the Tigers, especially if Barkevius Mingo and Sam Montgomery declare for the draft, as ESPN 150 athlete Kendell Beckwith (Jackson, La./East Feliciana) will likely end up as a defensive end at LSU. You can never have enough front-seven personnel, and with Beckwith’s versatile athleticism in having played as an outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid and even Wildcat quarterback in high school, you have to appreciate what he brings to the table.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

No matter position, Beckwith a huge 'get' 

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
5:30
PM ET
Where Kendell Beckwith will make an impact on the football field for LSU is an interesting question to ponder.

An “athlete” in the scout lexicon, the ESPN 150 prospect who committed to the Tigers tonight might be a linebacker in the Tiger’s 4-3 scheme … or he might bulk up and come off the edge as a pass-rushing defensive end, in the Barkevious Mingo mold.

[+] EnlargeKendell Beckwith
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comThe nation's No. 2 athlete, four-star recruit Kendell Beckwith says he'd likely feel most at home at linebacker in college.
His impact on LSU’s recruiting class, however, is unquestionable. Simply put, getting Beckwith is huge for the Tigers for a number of reasons:

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ATH Beckwith commits to LSU

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
5:26
PM ET


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- ESPN 150 athlete Kendell Beckwith (Jackson, La./East Feliciana) promised there would be no drama with his announcement, and he stayed true to his word when he put on an LSU hat and committed to the Tigers during the first quarter of tonight's Under Armour All-America Game.

Beckwith is the second prospect to commit to LSU during Under Armour All-America Game week, as defensive tackle Maquedius Bain (Davie, Fla./University School), who committed Wednesday after practice. Beckwith is the 25th verbal commitment and the sixth member of the ESPN 150 to join to LSU’s Class of 2013.

The top-rated player in Louisiana, Beckwith said that the battle between SEC West powers LSU and Alabama was tough, but in the end the idea of playing for his home-state school was too much to go against.

While Beckwith’s commitment to the Tigers is solid, there is plenty of speculation about where he will play. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, he was closer to 240 pounds this week and looks like he could have a future at linebacker or defensive end.

“I’m probably the most comfortable at linebacker in college, especially because they use big linebackers in the SEC,” Beckwith said earlier this week. “In some situations I might need to put my hand in the ground and that could work too.”
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- And then there were five.

Under Armour All-America Game officials have confirmed that Pomfret (Md.) McDonough four-star offensive tackle Na'Ty Rodgers will not announce his decision tonight’s game. Kickoff for the sixth annual game is at 5 p.m. ET and is broadcast on ESPN.

Rodgers tweeted late last night that he wasn’t going to announce his decision and likely would wait until signing day.

“I've decided to not announce tomorrow,” the tweet said. “Sorry folks.”

Rodgers was expected to decide between Maryland and South Carolina at the game, but now he’s going to wait. Oklahoma and Washington have also been in contention with Rodgers, who ranks as the nation’s No. 27 offensive tackle and the No. 9 player in Maryland.

Still scheduled to announce are four-star safety Leon McQuay III, four-star defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko, four-star athlete Max Redfield, four-star linebacker Trey Johnson and four-star athlete Kendell Beckwith.

McQuay is expected to pick between Florida State and USC. Ogundeko lists Syracuse and Clemson as the favorites.

Redfield listed Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC as his finalists, but the Buckeyes aren't actively recruiting him and he should pick between the Irish and Trojans.

Beckwith will decide between LSU and Alabama. Johnson will choose from Ohio State, Tennessee and Florida, but the final pick will be between the Buckeyes and Vols.

Beckwith assures no family fireworks 

January, 1, 2013
1/01/13
6:23
PM ET
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The scenario seems strangely familiar. A top-ranked Louisiana prospect will make a decision between Alabama and LSU at the Under Armour All-America Game, which will be televised live at 5 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Last year, Landon Collins' decision to go to Alabama made for compelling television as his mother, sitting with him during the live announcement, clearly did not approve of his choice.

ESPN 150 athlete Kendell Beckwith (Jackson, La./East Feliciana) says not to expect any drama this year, as his family will be happy with whichever school he chooses.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

LSU recruits address 'the sign' 

December, 31, 2012
12/31/12
4:55
PM ET
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Although it’s doubtful LSU coach Les Miles and his staff wanted a list of players who were missing team workouts made public, it doesn’t appear it will have a negative effect with any of the Tigers’ targets.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Weekend Rewind: Alabama 

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
9:53
AM ET
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- For the first time since early October, the University of Alabama had a weekend without a football game, and it gave the Crimson Tide coaching staff a chance to host a group of official visitors.

The most notable visitor was ESPN 150 athlete Kendell Beckwith (Jackson, La./East Feliciana), ranked No. 19 overall. The Louisiana native has narrowed down his list to Alabama and LSU and plans to make a decision in January at the Under Armour All-America Game. He enjoyed his official visit to UA over the weekend.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

O.J. Howard talks official visit to Bama 

December, 9, 2012
12/09/12
9:35
PM ET
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN 150 tight end O.J. Howard (Prattville, Ala./Autauga Academy) isn’t far from the University of Alabama. Since he committed more than a year ago, he has made plenty of trips to Tuscaloosa. On the weekend, he took his first and only official visit to UA.

“It went well,” Howard said. “You only take one official, and it went well. I really enjoyed it. Overall, it was a very productive weekend.

“We went to eat at Coach’s house a couple times. Then we got to go ride four-wheelers and stuff like that. We got to go out with some of the players. We did an academic tour, toured the campus, the facilities, the football facilities, the locker room, the stadium. It was just stuff that makes you feel like you’re at home. It was fun.”

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

What if ... John Chavis left? 

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
9:00
AM ET
BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's the height of the coaching change season. LSU has been to immune to staff changes so far, but not to the annual December speculation.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis' name got hot when the Tennessee job came open. While reports surfaced early Thursday that Tennessee hired Cincinnati's Butch Jones, the possibility remains that a school and Chavis could see enough potential in one another to prompt a move.

If that were to happen, what would happen to LSU?

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Tigers' consistency key to talent haul 

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
11:57
AM ET
Here's a telling statistic for anyone questioning LSU's recent recruiting success: in the past 11 seasons dating back to 2001, the Tigers have finished first or second in the SEC West nine times.

[+] EnlargeWilliams
David Helman/ESPN.comDefensive end Tim Williams (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory) is a top in-state target for LSU.
During that span, LSU has played for five conference championships, won four of them, traveled to five BCS bowl games, played for three national championships and won two.

Simply put, no other program in the SEC has sustained that level of success over such a long period -- not Alabama, which was up and down for years before the hiring of Nick Saban, and not Florida, which endured mediocrity at both ends of the past decade.

If the chance to compete for championships isn't enticing enough, there's always the 38 former Tigers currently listed on NFL rosters -- one of the highest numbers in the league. LSU has also had at least one first round draft pick in eight of the past nine seasons dating back to 2004. Suffice to say, Baton Rouge is as good a path to professional football as there is.

With all that in mind, it's not a big surprise the Tigers boast yet another top 10 recruiting class as we head toward national signing day. LSU boasts commitments from 11 of the top 300 players in the nation, and several more major decisions could boost this class even higher than its current No. 9 spot.

Les Miles has obtained pledges from three members of the ESPN 150, and his Tigers are in play for another four members of that elite grouping. It's all about par for the course for LSU, which has finished as high as No. 1 and no worse than No. 14 in these class rankings since 2006.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Weekend Rewind: LSU 

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
9:26
AM ET
After two weeks of huge visitor turnouts, LSU's guest list tailed off a bit for Saturday's home finale against Ole Miss. The afternoon kickoff and the low-level opponent probably contributed to that, especially since the Tigers played marquee matchups against Alabama and Mississippi State in the weeks before.

A sizable chunk of the Tigers' usual suspects turned out -- many of them 2013 commits such as Jeryl Brazil (Loranger, La./Loranger), DeSean Smith (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) and Tre'Davious White (Shreveport, La./Green Oaks). Some non-regular visitors such as offensive guard commit Josh Boutte (New Iberia, La./Westgate) also turned up.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES