LSU'S NEXT 2023 COMMITS??
SUBSCRIBE TO LSU ODYSSEY TODAY & SUPPORT OUR DAILY MISSION TO PROVIDE THE BEST CONTENT, MOST ACCURATE BREAKING NEWS, INNOVATIVE CONVERSATIONS, PROFILES, INVESTIGATIONS, INTERVIEWS & VIDEOS
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
With a nice 2023 Class establishment of 6 commits, covering their pinnacle class RB in Trey Holly, adding exciting depth at safety through Ryan Yaites & Michael Daugherty, bolstering a major position of need when earning fringe-5 star TE Mac Markway's commitment, making headway at WR via deep-threat 3 star Kyle Parker, while Robert Steeples made a big splash by gaining the commitment of So Cal CB Daylen Austin, LSU started out on the right foot recruiting Brian Kelly's inaugural class....however, there remains major work to be done for LSU's 2023 group:
Due to an enhanced emphasis this cycle on replenishing receiver, DB and DL, while getting top prospects at linebacker, OL and QB will always be good business no matter what cycle it may be, the pressure is on for 2023.....a class greatly needed to bolster depth & bridge the gap from outgoing veteran WRs Kayshon Boutte, Jaray Jenkins, LB Mike Jones Jr, Safety Jay Ward, and DL Jaquelin Roy, BJ Ojulari & Ali Gaye to the next generation;
Much to the annoyance of some, Kelly's staff are following a relationship strategy rather than a location formula, banking on long-time trust which pre-dates their LSU tenure and focuses more on national recruits than in-state prospects.
Despite criticism over the loss of Derek Williams or Arch Manning to Texas, while the new staff's perceived tough love towards local Louisiana talent has rubbed some the wrong way, much of their hard work in April, May and June should pay off over the next few months by way of ironclad, high caliber commitments.
July and August are specific target months to "wrap up most of the class" for Kelly's staff, and after months of visits, photo shoots, dinners, hangouts with Joe Burrow, Tyrann Mathieu or nonstop offers, it's time for LSU's 2023 class to really get off the mark.
Because of transition uncertainty or LSU's recent recruiting criticism for failing to win over 5 star Louisiana talents, these next 5 commitments could really tell us where Brian Kelly's first recruiting class will land.
Can LSU really make that big time move and turn this narrative around?
As many top targets are already busting out their commitments right now, backed by many set to issue their own announcements over the next month, LSU Odyssey begin to forecast who will be next in line for the Tigers' 2023 class:
ZALANCE HEARD (OL, Neville)
Positioned on the same OL as Will Campbell, both as bookend tackles pummeling all in their way as Ajay Allen racked up 2,200 yards and 34 rushing scores as a senior, Zalance Heard's enormous power helped to catapult Neville all the way to the semifinals.
Heard greatly impressed during both camp visits this spring & summer, looking to be close to a 5 star prospect on the heels of his senior season.
While LSU beefed up their 2022 class with varying interior or edge linemen, basically defining their class as a Do-Or-Die OL overhaul, I expect LSU to take fewer offensive linemen this cycle. Still, I anticipate Neville's rising star will become one of Brad Davis' keystone 2023 OL.
Right now, I would put my confidence in Zalance Heard joining LSU at 95% out of 100; Looking at familiarity, comfort, LSU love, local ties and working under the premier OL Coach in America.....for a young man in Heard's position, you can't get any better than the Tigers.
JAXON HOWARD (DE, Robbinsdale)
Announcing on July 1st, I expect Jamar Cain to make his first move of 2023, bringing in the top 100 DE and #11 ranked edge rushing talent in America.
Out of Minnesota, Howard's visits were impactful, from one on one time with Kelly or Cain driving home his message of elite development and family environment, LSU has to be the favorite here.
JOSHUA MICKENS (DE, Lawrence Cen.)
In an exclusive broken by LSU Odyssey first, Joshua Mickens revealed his commitment date, telling us this Sunday, July 3rd will be the day he announces his future school.
After a strong spring recruitment from LSU, backed by an incredible summer finale visit, his long time relationship with DL Coach Jamar Cain is also proving key down the stretch.....to the point I believe LSU have grabbed a fortified lead.
Possessing a long, rangy athleticism off the edge, Mickens is yet another precise specimen built for Cain and House's "Jack LB" 3-4 / 4-3 hybrid fronts.
This fall I'll be hoping for Mickens to improve on his interior rushing moves, but he appears to be far from a "one-trick outside rushing pony": His size and stalwart engine have made him one of the top edge-rushing talents of 2023, no doubt another win for Cain and his DL recruiting team if he can commit on Sunday.
TYREE ADAMS (OL, St Augustine)
Visiting LSU once again for a 4 hour unofficial stop this last Sunday, Tyree Adams is another solid, homegrown 2023 OL fit for Brad Davis.
All indications point to Adams choosing LSU sooner rather than later, even though the underrated trenchman stands to grab increased attention over the next months.
The New Orleans / St Augustine guard at LSU are helping here: "St Aug" alums Frank Wilson and Cortez Hankton Jr popped in for contact here and there, supporting Brad Davis' charge with an intense local flavor.
Following one of LSU's most loaded OL classes in years, 2023 would keep the major momentum rolling if Coach Davis could pull in two local titans in Tyree Adams and Zalance Heard.....and I wouldn't bet against him right now.
ASHTON STAMPS (CB, Rummel)
Expected to commit within the next few weeks, Stamps is an underrated Rummel High Raider, an average-sized cornerback who plays with desire, passion & speed.
Stamps' measurables don't jump out at you, but he owns a skill position flavor to his defensive back game which could really be maximized under the right set of coaches.
Offering him just under 2 weeks ago, Stamps may be a chess move from Coach Steeples, covering his CB room in case they miss out on Woodlawn's Jordan Matthews.
But can LSU afford to dip into the portal for a second straight off-season, hoping top CB talent will be there for the taking, all as DBU's national brand might be suffering their third straight year with unknown commodities taking over starting roles???
No, LSU absolutely must sign at least 2 top cornerbacks and 2 depth options in this cycle, or we could be looking at a painful gap year coming around the bend....
The future for DBU can look grim on one hand and then on the other, appear as if they're just one or two top talents away from something special under Robert Steeples.
It's hard to tell if Stamps is a depth selection, or another potential "3 star Louisiana Super star" akin to Jefferson, Clyde, Cush, among others....although I will point out: 3 star DBs have mixed results at LSU.
After working his ass off in camp and earning his way to a firm offer, I believe things are aligning nicely for Stamps to commit to the Tigers.
CHRISTIAN GRAY (CB, De Smet)
I felt like Gray was slipping away from LSU over the past month and a half, looking to be on his way to South Bend or Ohio State, although it is hard for me to really bet against Robert Steeples bringing another De Smet alum to Baton Rouge.
Basically a toss up here, I will go with LSU's increased need at cornerback and Steeples' relationship prowess making it happen here with Gray in the end.
The 4th of July could be stressful for LSU's landing of Gray, but I wouldn't put too much emphasis on Gray's commitment being a "make or break" commitment for the solidification of 2023 DBU.
Showing some good coverage skills, smart body placement, but little in the way of jaw-dropping athleticism or playmaking, Gray's potential remains just as uncertain as where he'll end up.
WE ARE.....THE INNOVATORS...
THEY ARE.....THE IMITATORS...
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2022 Uninterrupted Writings Inc