What the wild coaching carousel means for LSU recruiting

Jimbo Fisher’s decision to resign from Florida State and set up shop elsewhere in the SEC West is just the latest domino to fall in what is easily one of the most interesting coaching carousels in memory. Fisher, now expected to be the coach at Texas A&M, headlines a shifting of the gears that also includes Dan Mullen moving from Mississippi State to Florida, which has ramifications for both SEC programs.

As coaching staffs change throughout the SEC and more so around the country — and that wheels continues to spin — LSU sits as a team preaching continuity, and that includes the future of offensive coordinator Matt Canada. LSU, which sits at 19 verbal commitments in its 2018 recruiting class, will now have to contend with familiar names in different places. Here’s what the coaching carousel means for LSU’s 2018 and 2019 targets and commitments moving forward:

Patrick Surtain Jr., 2018 5-star CB:  Surtain named LSU as his leader last summer and has yet to waver. Throughout the process, however, Florida State was among the teams pushing for that top spot with the in-state target. Surtain is about to begin taking his official visits. With Fisher now heading to Texas A&M, Florida State will likely be an afterthought for the 5-star Army All-American. Surtain has never visited College Station, so Fisher’s new team will likely won’t be much to consider at this juncture. This bodes well for LSU’s chances of maintaining its lead for the nation’s top corner, with Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State as the main competition over the final weeks of the recruiting cycle.

Terrace Marshall Jr., 2018 5-star WR: Interestingly enough, LSU, Texas A&M and Florida State were named to the final three for Marshall. Now that Fisher, the former coach of one of those three finalists, will be named the head coach of another, things could get interesting over the next few weeks. Remember, the 5-star wide receiver is set to make his college decision in just three weeks, so Fisher will have to assemble a whole new staff and make a renewed push for Marshall in that short span of time. LSU’s coaching continuity is a strength at this point and the Tigers are still expected to be the choice for the Under Armour All-American on Dec. 22.

Kelvin Joseph, 2018 4-star S: Joseph made his lone official visit to date to Florida State, but a shakeup in the Seminoles’ coaching staff will likely hurt their chances with the All-American defensive back. Joseph has maintained that LSU is his top team, and because he won’t take anymore official visits until January, this is boiling down to an LSU vs. Alabama race for Louisiana’s top defensive prospect. The Tigers hold a distinct edge given their strong push over the longest span of time and Corey Raymond and Dave Aranda went in-home with Joseph on Monday. He will make a decision on signing day in February.

James Foster, 2018 4-star QB: This is one of the more interesting developments with one of LSU’s top quarterback targets. Florida State recently offered Foster, who was a fan of how Fisher helped mold black quarterback during his tenure in Tallahassee, Fla. Fisher is heading to A&M and Foster is planning his first unofficial visit to Florida State this weekend for the Louisiana-Monroe game. The timing could not be worse. It will be interesting to see if Fisher extends an offer to Foster in the next few days or weeks and tries to renew his push from a new team. The Aggies currently hold a commitment from 2018 3-star Georgia pro-style passer Cade Fortin.

Devonta Jason:, 2018 4-star WR: Jason is planning his first official visit to Kansas this weekend and is expected to head to Mississippi State on Dec. 8. His Dec. 15 weekend remains open, but has family obligations that weekend. Still, LSU is pushing for an official before a Dec. 20 signing date and feels it is still in the race for the talented 4-star receiver. Mullen’s move from Mississippi State to Gainesville, Fla., has not led to much traction on the Florida front, but that is something to monitor over the next few weeks. LSU remains one of the top options for Jason along with State and will try feverishly to lure him on campus before Dec. 20.

Glenn Beal, 2018 3-star TE: Mullen extended Beal an offer on Thursday, adding some intrigue into his recruitment down the stretch. Louisiana’s top-ranked tight end has not take an official visit to date, as John Curtis remains in pursuit of a state championship. Beal previously named LSU, Alabama and Arkansa as his top three schools, but that is certainly subject to change with Mullen’s new overture and Arkansas undergoing a coaching overhaul as well. This remains LSU’s race to lose, with Beal making several unofficial stops in Baton Rouge over the past three months.

Michael Williams, 2018 3-star ATH: Texas A&M was one of the few SEC schools pushing for Williams, who was expected to make an official visit to College Station ahead of a signing day decision. However, it will be interesting to see if Fisher renews an offer to Williams. There was no ties between Fisher at Florida State and the 3-star Baton Rouge athlete, which likely eliminates another school from contention for William. Again, this is another race that LSU should win out in, especially after the Tigers handled A&M last weekend with Williams in attendance.

Joseph Foucha, 2018 3-star DB: Florida State was among the top four teams for Foucha, who remains one of the biggest unknowns at this juncture in the recruiting cycle. LSU has focused more on Surtain, Joseph and 5-star Texas corner Anthony Cook, but if a prospect such as Ar’Darius Washington opts not to sign his letter of intent from Dec. 20-22, that could open the door for someone such as Foucha to fall into LSU’s lap. Mickey Joseph made a visit to Sophie B. Wright on Thursday to watch Foucha and the McDonogh 35 basketball team play. With Fisher out at Florida State, it will be interesting to see if A&M makes a renewed push for the talented New Orleans defensive back. A&M has pulled a number of stud players from New Orleans and, particularly from McDonogh 35, in recent recruiting cycles under former coach Kevin Sumlin.

Kardell Thomas, 2019 5-star OL: Florida State was among the schools courting LSU’s elite 2019 offensive line commit. With Fisher out of the picture, Texas A&M  could emerge as a team to offer and make a push for Thomas in the next year or so. However, UGA, Texas and Alabama are schools more heavily involved in the 5-star lineman’s recruitment, with Florida falling out with Mullen taking over. Nonetheless, Thomas will continue to entertain a bevy of schools and make a ton of visits over the next few months. Expect him to ink his name with the Tigers when next December rolls around.

Kenyon Green, 2019 5-star OL: Green, the subject of flip talks for the past couple of months, had been heavily associated with A&M under Sumlin. Florida State had offered the 5-star lineman and will very likely pursue the the Texas blue-chip prospect under Fisher’s direction. Green visited LSU for the Arkansas game and was checked on by Ed Orgeron during the current Contact Period this past week. His recruitment remains a bit of a roller-coaster at this point, but has remained solid to his commitment despite an influx of interest from rival schools. Texas A&M will remain a school to keep tabs on.

Ishmael Sopsher, 2019 5-star DL: Sopsher made some visits to Florida State under Fisher and that will likely lead to some renewed interest at A&M. Nonetheless, Louisiana’s top junior prospect has made the most of visits to LSU since Orgeron took over as the full-time coach a year ago and remains in a strong position with the 5-star All-American defensive lineman. There’s a long ways to go, but this will likely eliminate Florida State from the big picture. It should also open up a door for Texas A&M, though.

Grant Gunnell, 2019 4-star QB: Gunnell has been one of LSU’s top 2019 quarterback targets for some time and that only increased when Canada replaced Cam Cameron as the team’s offensive coordinator. Gunnell, a longtime Texas A&M verbal pledge, also held an offer from Fisher and Florida State when he pulled the trigger on a commitment to the in-state Aggies. Orgeron and Canada stopped by to see to the Houston quarterback target on Friday morning and will remain a threat to Texas A&M over the next year. It will be interesting to gauge Gunnell’s reaction to a new coach in place in College Station, but there is already a relationship in place.

Devonta Lee, 2019 4-star WR: Like Sopsher, his teammate’s at Amite High School, Lee has made a handful of visits to Florida State while Fisher was the head coach. Lee has already been a top target for Texas A&M under Sumlin, so it is safe to assume that the Aggies will remain a major player for the elite Louisiana wide receiver. However, LSU has long remained a top school for Lee, who at one point was also strongly considering Florida State. LSU will now have to contend more so with A&M over the next year or so now that Fisher has joined the fray in the SEC West.

The post What the wild coaching carousel means for LSU recruiting appeared first on SEC Country.

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