Kevin Toliver provided LSU with a prospect to build around early in the 2015 recruiting class cycle. The 5-star cornerback committed to the Tigers during his sophomore season, becoming the first member of a group that currently ranks second nationally in 247Sports composite ratings.
Despite the long-term pact with Les Miles, Toliver doesn't appear ready to conclude his recruiting process any time soon. He plans to visit multiple schools, including SEC rival Auburn, according to 247Sports reporter Keith Niebuhr (subscription required).
The Jacksonville standout helped lead Trinity Christian Academy to a Florida state title in 2013, suiting up at running back, quarterback and cornerback. Toliver expressed excitement about Auburn's rapid rebound under the direction of head coach Gus Malzahn.
"The big jump they've had from two years ago to last year, that's a big difference. ... They surprised me," he told 247Sports. "I want to go to a game and see how the game environment is."
Toliver remains an LSU pledge but is clearly open to the idea of exploring other opportunities. Auburn flipped former Alabama cornerback commit Kalvaraz Bessent late in the 2014 recruiting cycle.
The team hosted Toliver last summer but vibes surrounding the program were significantly different fresh off a 3-9 2012 campaign. One SEC championship later and the outlook has undoubtedly changed.
Malzahn and his staff will diligently look to line up an official visit with Toliver during the 2014 season, which begins Aug. 30 at Jordan-Hare Stadium against Arkansas. An obvious date to watch is Oct. 4, when LSU comes into town.
Miles is sure to discuss this development with his top commit, while working to iron out the details for an official visit in Baton Rouge. He is accustomed to battling for premier prospects with his neighbors to the north in Tuscaloosa and Auburn.
Toliver is rated America's top cornerback and No. 3 overall prospect in 247Sports composite rankings. He is also the No. 1 recruit in Florida, which arguably boasts the deepest 2015 class in the country.
He finished his junior season with 36 tackles, two interceptions and a team-high eight passes defended, per MaxPreps. Toliver tallied 502 rushing yards and 11 total offensive touchdowns.
Auburn poses a realistic threat to LSU if the team carries its momentum through the early stages of the season and gets Toliver on campus. Malzahn's mission is to convince the cornerback that Auburn can offer everything LSU has promised, plus additional advantages.
Where will Kevin Toliver play college football?
That case becomes much easier to make when wins are stacking up. A victory over Alabama and a win in the ensuing SEC title matchup with Missouri did wonders for Auburn during the final stretch of this past recruiting cycle.
The reigning conference champs aren't the only team chasing Toliver.
LSU must also worry about competition for him from beyond the SEC. He is interested in spending time at Virginia Tech and UCLA, according to 247Sports.
His offer sheet also includes Ohio State, a program he visited last summer.
Toliver is expected to attend LSU's spring game in April, presenting an opportunity for the Tigers coaching staff to reaffirm his positive feelings toward the team. However, his willingness to visit elsewhere serves as a reminder of the overall fragility of verbal commitments at this stage.