Top recruits flock for LSU's scrimmage

Buford (Ga.) LB Austin Smith

LSU's scrimmage Saturday attracted some of the nation's and state's best recruits. The Tigers made big impressions with several of their top targets, and TSD has notes and reaction from a big weekend on the recruiting trail.

The visitor list for Saturday's scrimmage in Tiger Stadium was so loaded with talent is was more reminiscent of a game in the fall. The LSU coaches continue to attract elite prospects to campus this spring, and Saturday was no exception.

LSU hosted at least eight prospects rated three-stars or higher, including a pair of five-star sophomores, two other Class of 2016 targets and some key recruits for the 2015 class as well.

TSD has reaction from most of the prospects on campus including notes on the type of impression LSU left on each one.


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LSU CLOSE TO LANDING UNDER-THE-RADAR LB


The next addition to LSU's 2015 class may very well be Buford (Ga.) LB Austin Smith. The Tigers offered the three-star linebacker earlier this spring and solidified it once they got him on campus this weekend. Smith isn't ranked by Scout at his position yet, but the LSU coaches feel he's a big-time sleeper in this recruiting class.

Smith came close to committing during his visit this weekend. He loved every aspect of the LSU program as he got the full rundown of everything the school has to offer.

"I had a great time," Smith said. "I could see myself playing here."

Smith plans to visit Florida this coming weekend then expects he'll be ready to make a final decision in his recruitment. The Tigers are the team to beat after this weekend, and unless the Gators blow him away, most are expecting him to be a LSU commit once that visit wraps up.

Smith's a big-bodied linebacker at about 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. Most project him to the outside, where he'd have a great blend of size and speed to man that position. Buford has been good to LSU in the past producing Vadal Alexander and Reid Ferguson, and the Tigers have Smith's teammate Blake Ferguson committed for 2015. LSU could soon strike again in that Georgia powerhouse for another commitment this time next week.


Five-star Keion Joyner spent three days on campus

FIVE-STAR LOUISIANA NATIVE HIGH ON TIGERS


Keion Joyner moved to North Carolina in middle school but he spent most of his childhood in Abbeville, a town about 90 minutes from Baton Rouge. He returned to Louisiana this weekend, arriving for a visit Thursday and sticking around through the scrimmage Saturday. The three-day trip left a big impression on this five-star prospect.

"It showed me that the coaches make sure all of their athletes have a good education," Joyner said. "And the players also showed me it's like a brotherhood, and that they do everything together."

Considered one of the nation's top 2016 prospects, Joyner has been high on LSU's board since they offered him this past fall. The coaches were thrilled to get him on campus this past weekend and feel they've positioned themselves well for this big-time recruit.

Joyner still has a lot of family that lives in Abbeville and South Louisiana, so the Tigers will have that advantage when he starts to weigh his options.

"It just felt like home," he said.

Joyner isn't close to finalizing his recruitment though. Next up for him will be a visit to Auburn next weekend, and that's another program he's high on. He also likes Alabama and some other SEC and ACC powers, so LSU will have plenty of competition once it's all said and done. But the Tigers will be able to sell him on returning home, and that should be a big selling point for this five-star prospect.


John Chavis has ties to LB Keaton Anderson

CHAVIS WORKING TIES TO VOLS LEGACY


2015 LB Keaton Anderson (Florence, Ala.) made the trip down to Baton Rouge for Saturday's scrimmage. That marked his first visit to LSU's campus since the Tigers offered late last month. Anderson has extensive ties to the Tennessee program with several family members that suited up for the Vols.

While most feel Tennessee will be the team to beat for him, he also has ties to LSU DC/LB coach John Chavis that the Tigers will work in their favor. Chavis played at Tennessee with Anderson's father and the two still have a relationship to this day. Anderson has met Chavis several times, and this weekend was a good opportunity for them to get to know each other even better.

"There wasn't just one part of the visit that was the best," Anderson said. "Being able to talk to Coach Chavis and Coach Miles in-person was awesome and very humbling. Campus is awesome and the practice was live."

This LSU trip was one of several that Anderson has taken recently. He's visited Alabama, Tennesee, Duke and Miami all within the past month and a half. He doesn't yet know what his next visit might be, but he would like to have a commitment made before the start of his senior season.

Anderson may be a tough pull for LSU, but Chavis will play a big part in the Tigers' chances. And after this weekend, LSU is at least in the discussion.


OT Greg Little's one of the nation's best sophomores

TRIO OF BIG LINEMEN HIT CAMPUS


Since Jeff Grimes took over the OL job, we've spoken ad nauseum about his prowess on the recruiting trail. He's actively pursued more than a dozen linemen for the Class of 2015 and has also been sure to reach out to a number of elite sophomores as well.

That's all paid off gangbusters as LSU's poised to make a big splash along the offensive line in the coming classes. This weekend was a big example of what could be to come as the Tigers hosted three of their top OL targets for the next two years.

2016 OT Greg Little (Allen, Texas) headlined the group. The five-star prospect's considered not just one of the top sophomores at his position, but he may very well be one of the top overall recruits when it's all said and done. The LSU coaches didn't hesitate to offer him once he got to campus, joining a list of about a dozen other major suitors for this stud lineman.

It's obviously early and Little will be heavily recruited, but this was a tremendous opportunity for LSU to leave an impression on him that will carry them deep into his recruitment.

Another 2016 target on campus was John Curtis tackle Willie Allen. The Tigers offered him earlier this year, and LSU will cherish every time they get him on campus. Allen's already considered a four-star prospect and should be one of the state's best in the 2016 class. That's shaping up to be a big year in Louisiana, and Allen is pivotal in LSU's plans along the offensive line.

2015 OG Adrian Magee (Franklinton) also made it to Baton Rouge, his first LSU visit since February's Junior Day, where he landed his LSU offer. It's safe to assume the Tigers hold the edge in his recruitment, though he's still biding his time and waiting to learn just how many schools will come calling for his services. His offer sheet still stands at three, though you can expect more to come through the evaluation period. But the LSU coaches are building a strong relationship with him, which should pay off in the end.


LSU's high on 2016 TE Kaden Smith

LAGNIAPPE


---In-state QB Dion Ray (Helen Cox) made the trip up to campus with his coach. Ray has a number of SEC offers as an athlete, but he wants to be a quarterback on the next level. LSU's giving him a look at that position, and he spent almost two hours Saturday talking with Cam Cameron.

The LSU coaches consider him their top in-state QB and will continue to evaluate him further this spring before making a move on an offer. The Tigers also still have Torrance Gibson atop their board, and after his visit last week, LSU feels it has as good a chance as anybody for his commitment. But the Tigers do like Ray, and they'll be keeping a close eye on him moving forward.

---LSU received a visit from 2016 TE Kaden Smith (Flower Mound, Texas | Marcus) less than two weeks after offering him. The four-star sophomore has some legitimate interest in the Tigers, and he's a big target for them in 2016. Smith has a sister that attends Alabama, so many feel they're the team to beat, but it's early and after getting him on campus this weekend, LSU has reason to feel good about their chances.

---LSU will hold its annual Spring Game next Saturday, April 5, which is already shaping up to be a major recruiting event. In addition to a number of top in-state targets, out-of-state prospects like S Roney Elam, OT Zach Giella, DB Ronnie Harrison and OT George Brown are expected to visit.

At last year's Spring Game, the Tigers landed a commitment from OG Garrett Brumfield and that visit went a long way for eventual signee Clifton Garrett. LSU's hoping for an every bigger splash next weekend.

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