This is not only a big game on the field. It is also a big game off the field. For its biggest and most high profile home game of the year, LSU will be hosting a who's who of high school football recruits, hoping to convince some of them to play their football here.
Among the players on the roll call:
Chancey Aghayere, DE Garland, Texas. He was a 5-star early in the process, but has been slightly downgraded to a high 4-star. He's a little undersized for a defensive end, but if we got him he'd be that speed rushing defensive end in the mold of a Derrick Harvey, Titus Brown, or Quentin Groves that we haven't had in a very long time.
He is generally considered a long shot, and may be coming in to this game to get a good look at Florida rather than LSU.
Brendan Beal, LB, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This kid is also a high 4-star, and is someone who had apparently closed us out a couple months ago, but is now coming in for an official visit. He is generally believed to be choosing between Florida and Southern Cal, and like Aghayere, he may just be using us to see Florida. Beal is one of the top linebacker prospects in the country, but does not hail from an area typically recruited heavily by LSU. Beal is a guy we'd definitely take if we could get him, but he's probably not very serious about coming to LSU.
Arthur Brown, LB, Wichita, Kansas. This is a really big fish. He's a 5-star with extremely impressive videos. He's listed as a little small for a line backer, kind of like current commit Ryan Baker. We don't know how serious he is about LSU, but he's listed us as one of his 5 visits, and he's never really come out and said who his favorites are. He also plays a position where LSU will be losing two starters, and where we lack depth going forward. The opportunity for immediate playing time is there and he fits in perfectly with the speedy defensive style LSU prefers. This is a guy who would instantly make our recruiting class very enviable. The only other school with a visit scheduled is Alabama, but the team to beat is probably Oklahoma.
Arthur also has a younger brother who is going to be a highly recruited athlete in 2009, currently playing running back.
Dontavius Jackson, RB, Franklin, Georgia. This is a name that really hasn't been discussed that much in LSU recruiting circles. We took one running back last year, and are reportedly considering not taking any this year in anticipation of a big in-state running back class next year. We'll only take one if we think he's really good. We seem to have lost the interest of #1 running back Darrell Scott, and there appear to be no in-state backs this year who interest us. I suppose this kid, a high 4-star out of Georgia, is one of the running backs on the list. On his videos, he is definitely a make-you-miss rather than a run-you-over type of back. I guess his running style compares to Keiland Williams in that respect.
Simi Kuli, DE, El Camino Community College, Torrence, California. Alright, I'll say it. Our team has great defensive linemen, but lacks a certain amount of depth at that position. We have several defensive linemen who are either juniors or seniors, and we may be losing Tyson Jackson early. We haven't really made DL an emphasis so far this recruiting cycle either. While I'm not a big fan of going to the junior colleges, I don't have a problem doing it to meet a targeted need, especially if you get a really good player doing it. Simi Kuli is the #1 rated junior college player in the nation according to Rivals. They list him as a 5-star player. I don't know how serious he is about LSU, but he's right in that big DE end mold that we have emphasized for years, from Jarvis Green to Tyson Jackson.
Justin Thompson, DT, El Camino Community College, Torrence, California. He's a current teammate of Simi Kuli. I doubt we are really looking to get both of them, but we probably would really like to get one of them. This kid is bigger than Kuli, and seems very interested in us. He's listed as a defensive tackle, but I don't know if that's where he'll end up or not.
These kids are not the only ones to be visiting, and many more than that will be on "unofficial" visits, wherein they simply attend the game. So, it promises to be an interesting weekend on the field, and an interesting weekend on the recruiting trail. We aren't getting all of these kids. Heck, we might not get any of these kids. All of them are long shots to some degree. What we want to do is turn a couple of them our way. If we do, this is a very successful weekend of recruiting.