The race to National Signing Day is rapidly approaching.
Official visits resume on Jan. 12 and continue through the first weekend of February ahead of National Signing Day, which is scheduled for Feb. 7.
LSU signed 21 players to the 2018 recruiting class during the early signing period in December, with room for four more spots to close out the haul. The Tigers picked up a commitment from 4-star defensive back Kelvin Joseph during the U.S. Army All-American Game, leaving three more spots up for grabs.
SEC Country takes a closer look at the remaining targets on the Tigers’ board between now and signing day:
Ja’Marr Chase, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
LSU has long been a top school for elite Louisiana wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase throughout the length of his recruitment. As signing day nears, the Tigers have officially positioned themselves as the favorite for the 4-star prospect.
Chase officially visited Michigan and TCU in December and heads back to Baton Rouge for an official visit on Jan. 12. That will give primary recruiter Mickey Joseph a chance to seal the deal with the New Orleans native, who could very well be the final piece of an impressive four-receiver haul in 2018.
Patrick Surtain Jr., 5-star CB (Plantation, Fla.)
Patrick Surtain Jr. named LSU his leader 18 months ago. If that trend lasts for another month, it will result in a commitment.
The nation’s top-ranked cornerback has ties to Louisiana. His father, Patrick Surtain, is from New Orleans, while his mother, Michelle, has family in Baton Rouge and Donaldsonville, La.
Surtain has long been the top target for Tigers defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, who is looking to potentially replace both Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver II in the secondary after this season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound South Florida native is the prototypical cornerback that Raymond covets.
The 5-star cornerback heads to LSU for an official visit on Jan. 12. Surtain heads to Alabama the following weekend before a National Signing Day announcement.
Mario Goodrich III, 4-star CB (Lee’s Summit, Mo.)
Raymond didn’t extend an offer to Mario Goodrich III until December, but within 24 hours of doing so, LSU’s defensive backs coach went in-home with the 4-star athlete.
Since then, Raymond has made a concerted effort to bring the Missouri cornerback on board as the final piece of the Tigers’ defensive back haul for the 2018 class. Goodrich will make his first visit to Baton Rouge on Jan. 12 for an official stop and has already indicated that no school is courting him harder than LSU.
There’s a high likelihood that Goodrich pulls the trigger on a decision soon after visiting LSU. Georgia, Ole Miss and Florida will each host the 6-foot-2, 180-pound prospect ahead of signing day, but the Tigers have cemented themselves as the clear-cut favorite for the one-time Nebraska pledge.
James Foster, 4-star QB (Montgomery, Ala.)
When LSU offered James Foster in October, it triggered the 4-star dual-threat quarterback to back off of his Missouri commitment and give strong consideration to the Tigers. Since then, Florida State and Texas A&M have followed suit with offers, while Alabama has dialed up the push for the in-state prospect after missing out on Emory Jones.
LSU’s Alabama recruiter, Tommie Robinson, is spearheading efforts with Foster, who will officially visit on Jan. 12. That will be Foster’s first-ever trip to Baton Rouge, where he’ll see a prime opportunity on the Tigers’ depth chart.
Foster will weigh a fast track to playing time versus playing for Alabama, Texas A&M and Florida State. For now, the Tigers trail in the pursuit of Foster, with the first crack at gaining ground and a signing day decision on the horizon.
Lawrence Keys III, 4-star WR (New Orleans)
LSU signed three wide receivers during the early signing period, but Lawrence Keys III remains the top slot receiver on the board.
Keys named LSU as his leader back in the spring after receiving first-class treatment during the spring game. Joseph went in-home with the 4-star wide receiver on multiple occasions during the December contact period and the Tigers will look to remain on top in January after an official visit on Jan. 12. Notre Dame and Houston are among the other favorites, with Texas extending a late offer in hopes of securing a visit.
Chase remains the highest-ranked wide receiver on LSU’s board, but Keys sits right behind him. Should LSU lose steam with Chase, expect a full-court press for the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Keys, who is also expected to commit on National Signing Day.
Glenn Beal, 3-star TE (New Orleans)
LSU has long been the leader for Glenn Beal, Louisiana’s top-ranked tight end, but after taking 3-star prospect Zach Sheffer during the early signing period, there’s a question of whether Beal can be squeezed into the Tigers’ class before Feb. 7.
Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Tennessee round out the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Beal’s top-5. The Vols hosted the 3-star tight end for an official visit in December and LSU will do the same on Feb. 2 right before signing day. He isn’t expected to announce his commitment until then.
With new schools pushing and space limited in Baton Rouge, odds are that the New Orleans standout ends up playing his college ball somewhere other than LSU. Of course, that could easily change if the Tigers were to miss on another top target.
Article first appeared on SECCountry.Com