BATON ROUGE - While at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly recruited nationally with the Irish. That’s what Notre Dame has always done, and it intersects with every area that LSU recruits as well.
Two of the states that Notre Dame hit the hardest in recent years would be Georgia and Florida, so that should bode well for LSU in the long run. For now, however, it’s about hitting the state of Louisiana.
LSU found its Head Football Coach courtesy of the University of Notre Dame, with Coach Kelly set to take over as the leader of the Tigers. Now he must recruit the local talent for the Tigers, too.
So, what type of personality is Coach Kelly and will it help the Tigers bring in talented players to compete with the likes of Alabama and Texas A&M among other SEC foes?
Well, he’s always been a tremendous one-on-one recruiter when he’s wanted to be. Not known as an Urban Meyer mind you, but Coach Kelly does understand recruiting. He’s been able to beat out Alabama during head-to-head battles, like he did this year for top Arizona cornerback Benjamin Morrison. He was recruited ardently by the Crimson Tide.
Three seasons ago, the Irish reeled in now potential top five pick Kyle Hamilton from Atlanta (Ga.) Marist School. He was a top priority for Georgia Head Football Coach Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs, plus numerous other programs across the country like Michigan and Ohio State, two other schools he took unofficial visits to.
The key with Coach Kelly is him actually sitting down and communicating with a prospect and his family. He’s a laid back personality and one that’s easy to get to know within that setting. As long as he continues to be that way, LSU will gain traction with top Louisiana recruits.
LSU has a really good base for the class of 2022, with 13 players verbally committed to play for the Tigers. From those 13 recruits, eight of them hail from inside the state of Louisiana. There are still several other in-state prospects of note, too.
That list includes former LSU commitment Walker Howard, a pledge that Coach Kelly was at one time attempting to flip to Notre Dame. Howard actually officially visited the Notre Dame campus earlier this fall and has publicly come out and endorsed Kelly's hiring at LSU.
Additionally, Notre Dame has a commitment from Ponchatoula, La. product Amorion Walker, a wide receiver that Alabama, Michigan, LSU, and many other programs extended a scholarship offer. He’s one to watch, and so is his teammate and prime LSU target Jacoby Mathews, a top safety at the same high school with offers from numerous top programs like Alabama, LSU, and Texas A&M.
Here are more in-state targets that Coach Kelly and his soon to be assembled staff need to go after to help the Tigers bring in a top group of recruits for the class of 2022.
It starts with nearby defensive end Quency Wiggins, who attends Baton Rouge (Madison Prep). The 6-5, 265-pound defensive end is a freakish athlete that came over to the gridiron from the basketball court. While still raw, he’s an incredibly gifted talent and one that could mature into a NFL player one day.
Another Baton Rouge prospect of note would be Le’Veon Moss from Istrouma High School. The running back was committed to Alabama before switching to Texas A&M. Could his third commitment be to LSU? He’s truly an elite talent and it would be hard to watch yet another Baton Rouge product leave for another SEC school. A few other Baton Rouge players have signed with Alabama in recent years.
Moving down the Mississippi River a ways, J’mond Tapp provides as much upside as any player in Louisiana. A really long and lean athlete from Donaldsonville (Ascension Catholic), Tapp can just about pick his school. He was at one time high on LSU, and now Coach Kelly can help bring him to Baton Rouge. A Texas commitment, Tapp is definitely worth a phone call from Coach Kelly.
There’s recently decommitted running back TreVonte’ Citizen from Lake Charles (Lake Charles College Prep) that’s been rumored to be headed to Auburn. Without question, Coach Kelly needs to be on the phone with Citizen in short order.
Of course the Tigers need to remain strong in New Orleans, and that means bringing Aaron Anderson back into the LSU fold. The one time LSU commitment is a wide receiver at New Orleans (Edna Karr), and he’s one of Louisiana’s fastest players. At this time, he’s a verbal commitment to Alabama. That’s certainly a player for Coach Kelly to work towards signing with LSU.
Another wide receiver to remember is St. James High School talent Shazz Preston. He’s been to LSU numerous times in the past and he’s one of the best overall players in the South. He could make an immediate impact for the Tigers if Coach Kelly can lure him to play for LSU. It will not be easy, as Alabama, Texas, Mississippi State (his brother plays there), and several other prominent programs would love to sign Preston.
This list would not be complete without mentioning Kendrick Law, one of the most versatile players in the country for Shreveport (Captain Shreve). He could be a running back, wide receiver or defensive back regardless of where he signs. Law has always been a top target for LSU, and he was also a player that Coach Kelly offered while at Notre Dame.