Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting , with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss the big recruiting weekend ahead for LSU, which includes an official visit from 5-star Texas cornerback Anthony Cook.
LSU getting official visits from Anthony Cook
After edging out No. 21 Florida on the road last week, LSU returns to Tiger Stadium for a much-anticipated showdown with Auburn in primetime. As big as the game being played on the field is, it is equally as significant off it.
LSU will host several blue-chip prospects for the SEC tilt, including three notable official visitors. That includes 5-star Texas cornerback Anthony Cook.
Cook has taken two of his three scheduled official visits thus far, making his way back to the Horseshoe last month for Ohio State’s game against Oklahoma and visiting Texas late last month. All the momentum for the U.S. Army All-American has seemingly been split between the Buckeyes and Longhorns heading into this week’s return stop to LSU.
The Houston native is returning to Baton Rouge for the first time since the Tigers’ spring game, where he took in several defensive back meetings led by Corey Raymond, his primary recruiter. After the unofficial visit in April, LSU began to gain traction with Cook and followed with much heavier push from both Raymond and coach Ed Orgeron.
LSU has only one defensive back currently committed in its 2018 recruiting class, 3-star nickel safety commit Ar’Darius Washington. The Tigers recently lost a commitment from 4-star Baton Rouge defensive back Kelvin Joseph, who was projected to play safety for the team. He reopened his recruitment after some teams would not allow him to make official visits while still committed to LSU.
The Tigers maintain a need for corners in this year’s recruiting class, especially if underclassmen Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II elect to leave early for the NFL. The board centers around 5-star Florida corner Patrick Surtain Jr. and Cook. Currently, LSU remains the favorite for Surtain, but has serious ground to make up on Cook if it’s going to surpass presumptive leader Ohio State and Texas, which has garnered momentum in recent weeks.
Land of 10’s Ohio State ace reporter Jeremy Birmingham believes the Buckeyes are still the presumptive leader for Cook, but there’s stiff competition from one other school still leading into a scheduled Oct. 30 commitment date.
“Ohio State has been the longtime leader for Cook, and despite a recent push from Texas, the Longhorns have only been able to – in his words – pull even with the Buckeyes,” Birmingham explained. “With a decision in just about three weeks, the mood around Ohio State is less optimistic than it was a month ago, but the Buckeyes still look to be in an ideal spot to land Cook, especially if they can get through the next few weeks without another visit to Texas.
“I know Cook’s relationship with Corey Raymond has kept them in the conversation, but no one I’ve spoken to close to Cook – or Ohio State or Texas – believes this comes down to anyone but the Buckeyes or Longhorns.”
Jarell Cherry, Zach Sheffer officially visiting
Both Class of 2018 commitments have been solid to LSU. Neither has made even an unofficial visit elsewhere. Sheffer attended LSU’s home opener against Chattanooga and has been putting together a rather impressive senior campaign at Nease (Fla.) High School, where he is asked to do a lot of the things that Matt Canada will ask of the H-Back at LSU. That includes not only blocking and catching passes, but some carries out of the backfield, too.
Cherry is currently the top-rated commit in the Tigers’ 2018 class. Despite several other schools attempting to flip him — including Texas and Oklahoma, among others — the 4-star edge rusher has not budged. Orgeron and outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson have kept him in the loop and visited him earlier this fall at Dallas Carter (Texas) High School. This will be Cherry’s first time back in Baton Rouge since he took a handful of unofficial visits during the spring, including when he first committed.
Harold Joiner to return to LSU
One notable unofficial visitor is Joiner, rated as the No. 5 running back in the Class of 2018. This was supposed to be an official visit set back in August, but will mark his first return trip to Baton Rouge since the spring when he collected his LSU offer.
This weekend was supposed to be an official visit for Joiner. However, the blue-chip tailback told SEC Country that he will instead make his this an unofficial visit and save his official visit to LSU for last, another promising sign in the Tigers’ favor.This spring, LSU immediately vaulted to the top of the list for the 4-star athlete, then began to trend downward after securing commitments from Tae
This spring, LSU immediately vaulted to the top of the list for the 4-star athlete, then began to trend downward after securing commitments from Tae Provens, Chris Curry and A.J. Carter at the end of June. After Carter flipped back to UCLA, LSU running backs coach Tommie Robinson cleared the air with Joiner, which put the Tigers again in a strong position.
LSU’s biggest competition remains Alabama, which has hosted Joiner a handful of times over the past few weeks. Still, Joiner has maintained that LSU is out in front. He is expected to give a commitment shortly after his senior season.
SEC Country’s Alabama reporter Chris Kirschner does not believe Joiner is currently a take for the Crimson Tide, but the longer he elects to make a decision certainly benefits the in-state power. Conversely, Joiner is a take for the Tigers, where they are courting him to play running back. LSU also earns the check in terms of backfield depth, with Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams both expected to be heading to the NFL after the 2017 season.
“Alabama is still evaluating Joiner, but he can’t commit to the Tide right now,” Kirschner said. “There’s still some talk inside the program about his future position and whether or not he’d be a good fit at running back. There are some who rave about his athleticism and think he could be elite on defense, and there are some who think he can excel on offense. It’s possible Alabama only has three running backs return next season if both Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris leave for the draft after this season, so it’s important the Tide sign at least one running back this cycle.”
Alabama is still working to flip 5-star Georgia commit Zamir White and 4-star Auburn commit Asa Martin behind the scenes. It has also done some homework on Curry. However, this is shaping up to be an Alabama-LSU battle until decision day arrives.
Other visitors for LSU-Auburn
Here is a list of confirmed unofficial visitors expected to be on hand for LSU’s home game against Auburn this Saturday:
- Anthony Cook, 2018 5-star CB (official visit)
- Jarell Cherry, 2018 4-star DE/OLB (LSU commitment, official visit)
- Zach Sheffer, 2018 3-star H-Back (LSU commitment, official visit)
- Harold Joiner, 2018 4-star RB
- Chasen Hines, 2018 4-star DL (LSU commitment)
- A.J. Carter, 2018 3-star RB (UCLA commitment)
- Tae Provens, 2018 3-star RB (LSU commitment)
- Sam Pinckney, 2018 3-star WR
- Trent Gordon, 2018 3-star CB (Penn State commitment)
- Thomas Gordon, 2019 3-star TE
- Ishmael Sopsher, 2019 5-star DL
- Devonta Lee, 2019 4-star WR
- Trey Palmer, 2019 4-star WR
- Donte Starks, 2019 4-star LB
- Justin Watkins, 2018 4-star WR
- Damone Clark, 2018 4-star LB (LSU commitment)
- Kardell Thomas, 2019 5-star OL (LSU commitment)
- Tyrion Davis, 2019 4-star RB (LSU commitment)
- Marcus Stripling, 2019 4-star DL
- Michael Williams, 2018 3-star ATH
- Derek Stingley Jr., 2019 4-star CB
- Jordan Clark, 2018 4-star DB
- Micah Baskerville, 2018 3-star LB
- Davin Cotton, 2018 4-star DL
- Ar’Darius Washington, 2018 3-star DB
- John Emery Jr., 2019 4-star RB
- Quinton Torbor, 2019 4-star WR
- Dare Rosenthal, 2018 4-star DL
- Dantrieze Scott, 2018 3-star DE/OLB
- Cameron Wire, 2018 3-star OT
- Jaray Jenkins, 2018 3-star WR
- Chandler Fields, 2019 3-star QB
- Dalvin Hutchinson, 2019 DT
- Larry Scott, 2019 LB
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