LSU has hit the ground running in the first month of the 2014 recruiting cycle. With so many new…
Where They Stand: 2014
With several recruits believed to be on the verge of committing, the 2014 class is set to take off. The dominoes have been set in place, and it will only take one player to pull the trigger to set off a very favorable chain reaction.
In this week's Where They Stand, we'll take a look at who those players are, and what could happen should they decide to end their recruitment and pledge to LSU.
After making the trip to campus this past weekend, Edward Paris could very well be one of the next members of LSU's 2014 class — if he isn't already.
Paris made the drive from Arlington, Texas, for Junior Day and left high on LSU. He was tightlipped about the details of his visit, but it's no secret the Tigers have long been atop his list of suitors.
Paris spoke with TSD's Austin Cooper following the trip, saying he enjoyed an informative visit to LSU. When asked about his discussion with Les Miles and the coaching staff, Paris said that information was "confidential," leading to speculation a commitment was seriously discussed.
Some have even speculated a silent commitment was made. That hasn't been confirmed — hence why it would be "silent" — but LSU fans likely won't have to wait long to find out Paris' final decision. He has stated he plans to announce his commitment on March 29, his birthday, but has also said he may move that date up.
Regardless of when that commitment is announced, it appears even more likely that LSU will be his choice, which would be a very big addition at this early stage in the recruiting cycle. It could be the initial domino to fall with several big-name prospects to commit behind him.
Tony Brown could be the next in line behind Paris. Once Brown's sister decided to run track at LSU, that appeared to be the final piece in convincing him to select the Tigers as well. So it doesn't appear a commitment from Paris would have a large effect, but it certainly won't hurt.
The two have become friends through the recruiting process and played on the same 7-on-7 team in the summer. Paris and Brown both attended Texas' Junior Day recently, and a picture of the two from that event popped up on the Internet. It appears both are considering the same schools, and both are favorites to land at LSU.
Commitments from two of Texas' top recruits would position LSU nicely for the rest of the state's elite talent. LSU already has its sights on several, having extended offers to players like Solomon Thomas, Nick Watkins and John Bonney. It's unclear at this point how much of an effect landing Brown and Paris would have, but making that big of a strike in the state this early could certainly go a long way.
Much like how Paris and Brown could be the catalysts for Texas, a trio of recruits could do the same in Louisiana. The coaching staff asked Gerald Willis, Devante Noil and Leonard Fournette to skip Junior Day this past weekend, inviting them instead for a special gathering later this spring.
The staff clearly wanted to get more personal time with this group of highly-ranked prospects and felt a more private visit would get that done. The staff obviously has its plans to begin the press to get these three on board early, something that would send good vibes throughout the state.
Noil appears to be the securest to commit and would likely be LSU's best in-state salesman. With his relationship to Frank Wilson, Noil's commitment has always been considered more of a "when" than "if." Noil hasn't made it in for a Junior Day yet this spring, and most are anticipating this gathering of New Orleans prospects to be the day he adds his name to the list.
If he does, the dominoes would likely start falling in line behind him. First, it would be LSU's first commitment out of a talented group of in-state WRs. Noil's skillset doesn't directly compete with Trey Quinn or Malachi Dupre, so his commitment would be unlikely to have an adverse effect on the others.
It would make the situation with Cameron Sims a bit more unclear. Sims has been on the outside looking in at this point, and appears to need other WRs to pledge elsewhere to get an offer from LSU. Noil's addition would take away another spot, and if more come behind him, Sims may have to head elsewhere.
Noil's commitment would likely have the most direct effect on his teammate at Edna Karr, Gerald Willis. The two have gone through the recruiting process together at this point, and have similar schools of interest atop their list.
Should Noil pledge to LSU, he'd become a tremendous selling point for Willis to commit as well. The two have discussed playing together on the same level, and LSU would appear to be their best opportunity to do so.
Landing Willis would secure LSU's biggest DL priority in the 2014 class. Adding a five-star prospect this early would free LSU to spend more time with its out-of-state targets, guys like Chad Thomas and Deondre Clark. Both of those recruits have included LSU near the top of their list of favorites, and having them join Willis on the commit list would be a huge pull for LSU.
LSU would also love if the third member of that New Orleans trio — the nation's top RB — Leonard Fournette, gave his pledge as well. Though he hasn't given any indication he's ready to end his recruitment this early, watching two close friends on the recruiting trail commit would go a long way in convincing him to as well. It's an obvious best-case-scenario, but the staff is clearly working these friendships to press for big commitments, hoping one leads directly to another.
A commitment from Fournette would also help another New Orleans RB get a LSU offer. Darrel Williams appears to be the next RB in line behind Fournette on LSU's big board. Once the staff feels they've secured their No. 1 priority, it's safe to assume they turn to Williams with RB being a big position of need in 2014. Should the Tigers reach out to Williams, it's likely he adds his name to the list of commits as well.
For LSU to land this much elite talent this early in the process (in addition to the four commits already on board) would be a historic start to the 2014 recruiting cycle. With the names mentioned above poised to possibly commit soon, the dominos are set to fall and LSU could have one of the nation's best classes at this stage in the process.
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