Well, we are only days away from the end of the 2014 recruiting cycle. As a result, angst is building, coaches are taking nighttime naps rather than a full night's sleep, and fans scour the internet looking for the latest news about their respective teams. The LSU Tigers coaching staff is plugging away much like every other staff in the nation. There is one big difference, however; they may have more riding on these last few days than most of the other programs out there, and certainly more than is typical in Baton Rouge. The Tigers stand at 19 commitments, six spots short of the allotted 25. It's not just the numbers that make this week so intriguing for fans, though. The big-name prospects still in play put LSU in the national spotlight on Wednesday for National Signing Day and add to the excitement. The need for quality defensive linemen in this class is substantial and the Tigers have been looking everywhere to find the right guys. This weekend brought about yet another new face, although he has an old history with the Tigers. Texas defensive end commitment Sione Teuhema visited LSU this weekend with his five-star 2015 offensive tackle brother Maea Teuhema, who is also committed to Texas. Prior to their Longhorn commitment, the duo visited Baton Rouge unofficially and are a pair to watch down the stretch. Prior to their Texas commitment, sources at LSU that felt they may have the lead before the brothers abruptly ended their recruitment when declaring for Texas. Well, LSU never really backed off, and after some coaching staff changes in Austin, the door was opened just enough for LSU to lure the two into town for yet another unofficial visit. Sione Teuhema is the speed-rushing type of defensive end the staff has been searching for. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he has the length to add a considerable amount of mass to. There is little doubt that the two are a package deal so winning over Sione would likely result in Maea following. The Tigers feel like they have a real shot and it would be a huge coup if they can pull this one off at this stage of the process. The relationship the players have built with Les Miles and tight ends coach Steve Ensminger could go a long way in securing signatures. Another defensive lineman who has dominated the message boards is Champagnat Catholic defensive tackle Travonte Valentine. The 6-3, 335-pound specimen from Hialeah, Florida, is down to LSU and Miami, and after not taking his scheduled official visit to the Hurricanes this past weekend, things are looking extremely good for the Tigers. After speaking to the mammoth prospect on Saturday, it was evident that the recruiting process is starting to wear him down. He noted the consistent pressure from coaches and the aggressive approach by fans as being two of the major culprits for it. He also made it clear that he has his decision made and is extremely excited to put all of this behind him come National Signing Day. Valentine is set to announce via ESPNU on Wednesday. East Gadsden High School offensive tackle Derrick Kelly has been a major focus for LSU down the final stretch. The 6-5, 270-pound prospect from Havana, Florida, is down to LSU and Florida, with Florida State rounding out his top three. For the last couple of weeks, Kelly has been someone that sources at LSU have felt extremely good about. After hiring Jeff Grimes as the new offensive line coach and bringing Kelly in for his official visit, they felt like they had a substantial lead. Over the past week or so, rumors have been swirling of an impending commitment to Florida, but I'm not buying it. Sources on the ground, in the offices and around Florida stand firm believing Kelly will be a Tiger. The level of concern has grown a little recently for the Tigers, but that is normal for this time of year. John Curtis wide receiver Malachi Dupre (6-3, 190) has been grounded after completing a series of official visits. LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, Florida State and UCLA were all able to lure him in for a trip, with UCLA being his last that finished on Sunday. Dupre has seen a fullcourt press for his services by the LSU staff since the onset of his recruitment. The Tigers have held a lead throughout his recruitment, but Florida State finished strong. UCLA has always been in play and Alabama has continued to make a push down the stretch. You could make an argument that Dupre may be the most important target down the stretch for LSU. The Tigers didn't fare very well in New Orleans this year, but landing Fournette and Dupre would be a gargantuan victory. Dupre is set to announce at John Curtis on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. alongside his teammate Kenny Young, who will also be making his college decision. The 6-1, 215-pound linebacker has had five teams in the mix for some time in LSU, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Texas A&M and Arkansas. Getting a good read on Young has been difficult throughout, but it's definitely a tight race. The Tigers have closed well after visiting with Young on multiple occasions and hosting the state's best linebacker in a mid-week visit. Young wrapped up his official visits this weekend with UCLA getting a visit for one last time. Of all the prospects left on LSU's board, Young may be the hardest to decipher right now, but LSU is in the mix. Junipero Serra, Gardena, California, athlete Adoree Jackson is one of the more familiar names among LSU fans that follow recruiting. When his recruitment first started, Jackson expressed his childhood admiration for the Tigers and that connection has kept LSU in the race until the very end. LSU, Florida, USC and UCLA are all hoping that Jackson declares for their respective program. Jackson is from Illinois before moving to California for high school, so he isn't exactly a "West Coast kid." The Florida Gators made a huge early push to jump into the lead last year and are a major factor down the stretch. Jackson is also looking to run track at the next level, which is also a strong pitch for the Gators with their elite track program. USC gets a lot of the talk, but don't count out UCLA. The Bruins have been extremely persistent in recruiting the five-star cornerback and they already have a commitment from one of his best friends and high school teammates, linebacker Dwight Williams. After taking an unofficial visit to UCLA and USC over the weekend, Jackson's family called LSU to share the news of their travel to the local programs to help eliminate any extra bit of doubt in the Tigers' minds of what the trip could mean. That is evidence of a level of respect needed to win a family over and it shows the Tigers that they are still very much in the race. The Tigers had a very good in-home visit with Jackson last week and they would love to land the elite prospect.
Big-name prospects and uncertainty put LSU in the National Signing Day spotlight
New Orleans Times-Picayune | Feb 4