The LSU football season is in full swing, but recruiting never stops.
The early-signing period in December is little more less a month out. Ed Orgeron and Co. have plenty to do to help close out a top-10 recruiting class and address several positions of need.
Every month, SEC Country will outline the three biggest items the LSU coaching staff needs to accomplish on the recruiting trail to make that a reality. Here was the to-do list for November.
At the end of the month, we revisit those crucial tasks to see if LSU checked off any boxes.
1. Bring Badara Traore to campus
Check this box off.
Badara Traore, the nation’s No. 1 junior college offensive tackle, made his first-ever visit to Baton Rouge for LSU’s home finale against Texas A&M. Even more significant, it was Traore’s final official visit before making a decision sometime in December ahead of the early signing period.
The 4-star lineman provided a rave review of the visit, including the environment in Death Valley, his conversations with Orgeron and Jeff Grimes, and the opportunities available to him in terms of playing time and competing for a starting job this spring. Without question, his visit to LSU proved to be successful as the Tigers have emerged as the team to beat as he nears a decision.
LSU added junior college guard Damien Lewis earlier in November to pair with top Louisiana tackle Cameron Wire and Mississippi center Cole Smith. Traore would be a strong final piece to the Tigers’ offensive linemen haul for the 2018 recruiting class, which has emphasized talented prospects who can contribute in the trenches immediately to improve the team from the inside out.
2. Continue on-field momentum against conference rivals
It was just a month ago when LSU was trying to regather itself after a disheartening loss at home to Troy. Since then, the team has regrouped and won six of its final seven games, including three in a row to close out the regular season.
LSU’s first game after the loss to Troy — against the Florida Gators — helped right the ship and create a new blueprint for winning game. The comeback against Auburn gave this team some new life.
In November, LSU played Alabama very close on the road, and despite leaving Tuscaloosa with a loss, there was definitely some positive momentum to take away. The Tigers went on to rout Arkansas, Tennessee and then Texas A&M over the final three games, with several notable recruits in attendance for two of those at home, which has put LSU in a very strong position heading into the early signing period in December.
While there was certainly some doubt about Orgeron and the Tigers in late September, LSU’s strong finish to the season has put that notion to rest and given new life on the recruiting trail.
3. Reshuffle the quarterback board
LSU needs a quarterback in the 2018 class. The question is not “if,” but who?
A busy November included an offer to 3-star Alabama dual-threat quarterback James Foster and hosting 4-star TCU commit Justin Rogers for an official visit. Both of these are noteworthy as they have emerged as the two frontrunners to land in the Tigers’ class.
Rogers, who committed to TCU over LSU on May 31, told SEC Country that his official visit gave him a lot to think about heading into a Dec. 22 signing day. He will return to Fort Worth on Dec. 15 — right before the early signing period kicks off — which will ultimately help the All-American sort through his decision.
If not, expect LSU to host Foster for an official visit soon after in January. He nearly made the trek to Baton Rouge in November for the Arkansas game, but the LSU coaches wanted him to wait until it was closer to his commitment date. Florida State poses the biggest threat to the Tigers’ chances, but that should be in a wait-and-see mode given the uncertainty of Jimbo Fisher remaining in Tallahassee. Foster is the team’s top target remaining not named Justin Rogers.
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