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LSU Coaching Search Update: Latest on Jimbo Fisher, Lincoln Riley and a Number of Prominent Candidates

Tigers still likely to pursue a number of big name candidates including a few familiar faces to Baton Rouge
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The clock continues to tick on LSU's coaching search nearly a month into the process. Names have surfaced for a while now with not much concrete in terms of who the athletic department is honing in on. 

LSU and Scott Woodward will likely want to be as swift as possible making its decision once the season ends as to preserve its recruiting class with the early signing period quickly approaching in mid December. With that being said, here's the latest on a few coaching candidates. 

Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M)

As far as rumors go, nobody in this potential group of candidates has generated more buzz than Fisher, which makes sense because of his ties to LSU athletic director Scott Woodward. After all it was Woodward that gave him the keys to Texas A&M and the two had a positive working relationship before Woodward dipped for Baton Rouge. 

Multiple times over the last few weeks, Fisher has been asked about the LSU opening but on Monday he gave a rather defiant answer when asked about the Tigers' opening.

"We're gonna recruit an unbelievable class this year," Fisher said Monday. "So I'm the dumbest human being on God's earth to recruit all these guys to A&M so I can go across over there [to LSU] and go play against them.

"I want to be at A&M," Fisher said. "I plan on being at A&M. I ain't going nowhere and don't want to be nowhere else. I love being right here."

The buzz around Fisher won't end until the next LSU coach is up at the podium with Woodward but his latest comments point to a coach very comfortable where he is.

Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma)

In terms of splashy hires, short of Nick Saban or possibly Dabo Swinney, there's no coaching candidate who would be a bigger name than luring Riley away from Norman. The Sooners are coming off a loss to Baylor this past weekend all but ending their chances at a College Football Playoff berth. 

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With Oklahoma soon coming to the SEC, the attraction of the LSU job might fade a tiny bit for Riley but the recruiting roots, resources and backing of the fanbase in Baton Rouge is unlike many others in the sport. One of the issues that has kept Riley from securing a national championship at Oklahoma is an average defense.

If the Sooners even had a slightly above average defense the last few years, the program would've won a championship, something that won't get any easier in the move to the SEC. LSU has a rich history and always secures top end defensive talent in Louisiana. 

Still this will be uphill sledding for Woodward and the athletic department but isn't totally out the realm of possibility. 

Mel Tucker (Michigan State)

Tucker has been one of the immediate targets out there for this job and as Michigan State has continued to win, those outside talks have only intensified. Michigan State is 9-1 with two huge conference games remaining in No. 4 Ohio State and Penn State remaining. 

A local Detroit radio TV show floated out a rumor that Tucker and Michigan State were working towards a long term extension but until that happens officially, the LSU buzz will stick around. Tucker spent one season with the purple and gold and has plenty of supporters within the higher ups of the Tigers athletic department. 

How the Spartans season plays out over the next few weeks could be telling because of LSU likely wanting to be swift with its coaching hire once the regular season ends. 

Dave Aranda (Baylor)

Aranda is coming off a statement win with the Bears program in defeat of No. 8 Oklahoma. He's quickly turned that program around with his calm demeanor and strong football IQ, leading the Bears to an 8-2 record and No. 11 in the AP Top-25.

Of course LSU fans know him all too well as the longtime defensive coordinator and bringing him back a few years after his departure would likely be a warm welcome in Baton Rouge. It's been easy to tell that this locker room has missed his preparedness and just overall calming nature. 

Hiring Aranda back may not be the big move many are expecting with this hire but in two seasons he's proved how quickly he can turn a program around. Aranda's name has also been popular with the USC job opening, proving the job he's doing is being well received in college football circles.