LSU Football: Players to Watch in High School All-American Games

Greg Wallace@gc_wallaceFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2015

Les Miles hopes to add more blue-chip prospects to LSU's fold over the next month-plus.
Les Miles hopes to add more blue-chip prospects to LSU's fold over the next month-plus.Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

The end of the 2015 regular season was highly tumultuous for the LSU Tigers, who lost three of their last four regular-season games and fell from No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings to a Texas Bowl berth against Texas Tech, briefly raising serious questions about coach Les Miles’ future.

Those on-field issues don’t appear to have affected the Tigers’ recruiting, however. LSU currently has the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class, per 247Sports, right behind Ohio State for the top overall spot. Miles’ staff has 17 commitments and is obviously looking to add more before national signing day on Feb. 3.

While Miles and the Tigers take the field in the Texas Bowl Tuesday night, recruits at both major high school all-star games will be watching. The Under Armour All-America Game has already begun workouts, and it will take place at noon Saturday with ESPN2 televising. Next week, the focus will shift to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, set for a noon kick on Jan. 9 on NBC.

LSU has a number of targets in both games. While it’s unclear if any Tiger targets will announce their decisions on-site, there are plenty of players worth keeping an eye on. Here are a few key players for LSU fans to pay attention to during all-star game season:

Rashan Gary, Defensive Tackle, Under Armour All-America Game

The nation’s top overall recruit, per 247Sports, will be a difference-maker for whatever program he winds up with. At Paramus Catholic in New Jersey, he had 55 tackles and 13.5 sacks with four forced fumbles. LSU would love to add Gary to its defensive line, but the odds aren’t great. LSU assistant Ed Orgeron visited Gary in early December, but he appears to be a heavy lean toward Michigan.

Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss and Southern California are also in the mix. Gary is set to visit the Trojans on Jan. 15 and has already visited Auburn, Michigan and Ole Miss. Regardless of his destination, he’ll be a fascinating player to watch at the Under Armour game.

Ben Davis, Linebacker, Under Armour All-America Game

Ben Davis would be an excellent addition to LSU’s defense. Rated as the top inside linebacker in America and No. 12 overall recruit by 247Sports, he recently listed the Tigers as one of his top five finalists. The Gordo, Alabama, native is an Alabama legacy whose father, Wayne Davis, leads UA’s all-time tackle list.

However, he lists Georgia as his top choice, with Alabama second and LSU third. Davis visited LSU in mid-November and will visit Notre Dame, Auburn and Alabama in January, with the Crimson Tide getting the final visit the weekend of Jan. 29. Georgia and new coach Kirby Smart could be tough to beat here, but don’t count the Tigers out, either.

Rashard Lawrence, Defensive Tackle, Under Armour All-America Game

LSU has a strong history of talented, nasty defensive lines, and Monroe, Louisiana, defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence would be a natural fit on the Tigers’ interior line. Lawrence is a 5-star prospect rated as the nation’s No.5 defensive tackle. He is a priority recruit for LSU, and while he hasn’t set a visit with the school, 247’s Crystal Ball predictor lists him as a strong lean to the Tigers.

Lawrence is also considering Alabama. He visited Ohio State and UCLA in October, and the Buckeyes would love to stay in the mix for his services.

Shavar Manuel, Defensive Tackle, Under Armour All-America Game

Bradenton, Florida, defensive tackle Shavar Manuel would also be an excellent addition to LSU’s defensive line. The 4-star prospect is ranked as the No. 7 DT prospect nationally and has excellent size and closing speed. He visited LSU in October, but he appears to now be leaning more strongly toward in-state destinations Florida or Florida State.

Rahshaun Smith, Linebacker, Under Armour All-America Game

The recruiting process is almost over for Rahshaun Smith. The Bradenton, Florida, IMG Academy product is a 4-star prospect and the No. 2 inside linebacker in America, per 247Sports. Smith has taken all five official visits and is expected to announce his choice at the Under Armour All-America Game.

Smith was formerly committed to Clemson, but decommitted to explore further options. Last week, he named Clemson, Auburn and LSU as his leaders. He visited LSU in mid-October, but the South Carolina-based Tigers got his last visit in mid-December and are believed to be favorites to bring him back into the fold.

Kristian Fulton, Cornerback, Under Armour All-America Game

LSU has a strong hold on the state of Louisiana, which is natural, given that the Tigers are the state’s flagship program and the only Power Five conference within its borders. Locking down players like cornerback Kristian Fulton is a must.

The Metairie and Archbishop Rummel product is a 4-star prospect and the nation’s No. 4 cornerback, per 247Sports. He has excellent instincts, change-of-direction, quickness and ball skills and would be an impact player in the Tigers’ secondary. He plans to visit both Arkansas and Florida this month and is expected to announce his decision on national signing day. LSU is a favorite to gain his signature, so he’ll be an interesting player to watch this week.

Michael Divinity, Linebacker, Under Armour All-America Game

Marrero, Louisiana, linebacker Michael Divinity was in LSU’s fold, but two weeks ago he decommitted from the Tigers. Divinity is a 4-star prospect and rated as the No. 4 outside linebacker in America, per 247Sports. However, LSU remains firmly in the mix for his services. Divinity is expected to announce his decision on Jan. 5 between LSU and Texas A&M (and former LSU DC John Chavis). His addition would be a major boost for the Tigers’ class.

Deontay Anderson, Safety, Under Armour All-America Game

Manvel, Texas, safety Deontay Anderson would be a huge addition for LSU’s already-talented secondary. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 3 safety prospect, per 247Sports. Ole Miss is the favorite to land Anderson, a speedy, instinctive safety. But LSU has a legit chance to turn the tide. The Tigers will receive his last visit on Jan. 30, and in-state programs Texas and Texas A&M are also in the mix.

Trayvon Mullen, Cornerback, U.S. Army All-American Bowl

LSU has far more targets and commits at the Under Armour game than at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but Pompano Beach, Florida, cornerback Trayvon Mullen bears watching at the Army Bowl. Mullen is rated as the nation’s No. 3 cornerback prospect, and the Tigers are a strong contender for his services.

Mullen is also considering Florida State, Louisville and TCU (all of whom he has already visited), but the Tigers could hold the trump card. He is scheduled to visit LSU on Jan. 31, just before national signing day, which could prove crucial in his recruitment.

High School All-Star Games
Under Armour All-America Game
NamePos.Hometown
LSU Commits
Edwin AlexanderDTHammond (La) Saint Thomas Aquinas
Saivion SmithCBBradenton (Fla) IMG Academy
Eric MonroeSHouston (Texas) North Shore
Rahssan ThorntonDEKilleen (Texas) Shoemaker
Andre AnthonyDENew Orleans (La) Edna Karr
LSU Targets
Ben DavisILBGordo (Ala.)
Rashard LawrenceDTMonroe (La.) Neville
Shavar ManuelDTBradenton (Fla) IMG Academy
Rahshaun SmithILBBradenton (Fla) IMG Academy
Kristian FultonCBMetairie (La) Archbishop Rummel
Deontay AndersonSManvel (Texas)
Michael DivinityOLBMarrero (La) John Ehret
Willie AllenOTNew Orleans (La) John Curtis
Jeffrey McCullochOLBHouston (Texas) Aldine Davis
U.S. Army All-American Bowl
LSU Commits
Erick FowlerOLBManor (Texas)
LSU Targets
Trayon MullenCBPompano Beach (Fla) Coconut Creek
Isaac NautaTEBradenton (Fla) IMG Academy
Demetris RobertsonWRSavannah (Ga) Savannah Christian
Nigel WarriorSSuwanee (Ga) Peachtree Ridge
247Sports

*Recruiting information in this story came from 247Sports. 

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