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LSU Signing Day predictions

We are merely 48 hours away from National Signing Day, and despite signing 21 players during the early signing period in December, LSU should be in store for a riveting finish the 2018 recruiting cycle.

Coach Ed Orgeron and Co. will be waiting anxiously for a quartet of blue-chip prospects to announce their intentions on Wednesday. More interesting, three of those recruits are from out of state, making Signing Day a nationwide event for the Tigers this year.

With 21 players signed, sealed and delivered, and No. 22 being recently minted verbal commitment Kelvin Joseph, that sets the stage for three more commitments on Signing Day among four targeted prospects. So, what kind of drama should we expect on Wednesday?

There will be plenty of chalk

With only four spots up for grabs since Christmas, scholarships have become very limited down the stretch of the 2018 recruiting cycle. Taking away from the regular Signing Day drama is that LSU had zeroed in on just a handful of elite prospects to fill those positions.

Joseph, Ja’Marr Chase and Patrick Surtain Jr. are three prospects that SEC Country fully expects will commit and sign their national letters of intent on Wednesday. Joseph re-committed to the Tigers back on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and after making an official visit to only LSU in January, there is very little cause for concern that Joseph will even have another hat on his table at his signing ceremony at Scotlandville (La.) High School.

There is plenty of anticipation about what Surtain will do. LSU has been the 5-star cornerback’s public leader since July 2016 and nothing has happened to force anyone to think otherwise. However, Alabama has worked effortlessly to try to chop into the Tigers’ lead, and if the Tide did so successfully, then Surtain has not mentioned anything leading into his announcement. Expect LSU to land this highly sought-after defensive back on Signing Day and seal the deal, thanks to Surtain’s bond with Tigers defensive backs coach Corey Raymond and his ties to the football program and the state of Louisiana.

Chase also will draw his share of attention with his announcement. LSU has always been among the 4-star wide receiver’s top schools, yet he committed to Florida and to Kansas over the in-state power and nearly did the same with TCU, if not for an NFL Network snafu back in June. However, after reopening his recruitment in the fall amid a coaching shakeup in Gainesville, Fla., LSU has put itself into strong position with the elite offensive target. His official visit to Baton Rouge in January likely sealed the deal, thanks to the presence of Steve Ensminger and Jerry Sullivan. LSU is the clear-cut favorite over Auburn.

LSU will pull off stunner with 4-star QB

It will be a coin flip for the final spot in LSU’s 2018 class between 4-star quarterback James Foster and 4-star cornerback Mario Goodrich III.

Foster and Goodrich both visited Baton Rouge — for the first time — on Jan. 12 and continued to make official visits elsewhere in the road up to their Feb. 7 decisions. Both Foster and Goodrich have hinted that the Tigers were their team to beat. The Alabama quarterback indicated that LSU’s offense, depth chart at quarerback and official visit put the Tigers in the driver’s seat. The Missouri cornerback stated that no team is recruiting him harder than LSU, and his official visit left a lasting impression.

Foster also made stops at Alabama, Texas A&M and Florida State, with the Seminoles being the biggest threat to LSU’s chance of landing a quarterback in the Class of 2018. Goodrich made his way to Georgia, and then Clemson.

Based on need, quarterback tops defensive back for the Tigers at this juncture. The staff went in-home with Foster a week before Signing Day, meanwhile Goodrich canceled his remaining visits after touching down at Clemson and a subsequent in-home with coach Dabo Swinney. Momentum-wise, LSU appears to be in a stronger position with Foster than it does with Goodrich.

Longtime DB pledge winds up in Big 12

Ar’Darius Washington was among the first to commit to LSU back in February of last year along with his Evangel Academy (La.) teammates Micah Baskerville and Davin Cotton. Unlike Baskerville and Cotton, Washington did not sign his paperwork back in December, a telltale sign that a divorce between LSU and the talented in-state defensive back verbal commit was imminent.

Washington made an official visit to TCU on Jan. 19 weekend and the Horned Frogs have been making a concerted effort to pry the 3-star defensive back out of The Boot. Come National Signing Day, expect the flip to be made official.

LSU does not have room for Washington in its 25-player class. The team has landed a commitment from Joseph and is expecting Surtain and potentially Goodrich to round out the defensive back group. That leaves Washington on the outside looking in, and most likely, a steal for TCU.

Don’t rule out a familiar boom

LSU has dialed in on Joseph, Surtain, Chase, Goodrich and Foster for four of the final remaining spots in the 2018 recruiting class. Of course, when it comes to recruiting, there are very few things to certainly rely on happening.

While Joseph, Surtain and Chase seem like sure things to fall into the Tigers’ lap come Wednesday, there is certainly much more uncertainty surrounding out-of-state targets such as Foster and Goodrich. Both have hinted that LSU is their leader at multiple occasions in their recruitment, but after officially visiting earlier in January and traveling to a handful of other schools since, there is always a chance for a surprise come crunch time.

LSU hosted 3-star Baton Rouge athlete Michael Williams for an official visit in mid-December and has remained in touch with top in-state tight end Glenn Beal. Williams has since made his way to Tennessee and Texas, where he committed on Jan. 22. Beal has officially visited Tennessee, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Florida, but should a spot open with the hometown program, expect Williams and Beal to be the most likely secondary targets to receive a call.

Additionally, one source said that the door remains open with 4-star Florida athlete Justin Watkins III. Watkins nearly popped to LSU during the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game, but instead delayed a decision and wound up committing to the Gators. Should a spot open up late, keep tabs on one more Watkins flip.

Should Foster wind up at Florida State and Goodrich to fall to Clemson, don’t rule out Williams, Beal or even Watkins sneaking into LSU’s class.

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