The recruiting surge LSU football experienced over the Fourth of July holiday in its Class of 2023 spilled over to another class Tuesday.
A day after rescinding his commitment to Missouri, rising junior three-star linebacker Xavier Atkins of Jonesboro-Hodge extended a pledge to LSU’s first-year coach Brian Kelly. The 6-foot, 200-pounder became the second member in the Class of ’24 for the Tigers, joining safety Maurice Williams III.
“That was the one I always circled, and when I got it, I knew I just had to do things the right way,” Atkins said of his LSU scholarship offer. “Once I decommitted from Missouri, it was time to be an LSU Tiger.”
Atkins caught the eye of Kelly and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Matt House during LSU’s elite camp last month. It was continuation of his sophomore season where he helped lead Jonesboro-Hodge to a 10-4 record, the Class 2A state semifinals against Amite and earned a berth on the Class 2A All-State first team.
“Coach House told me he had seen all he needed to see after camp,” Atkins told Geaux247.
Atkins compiled astronomical numbers during J-Hodge’s run to the state semifinals. His 218-tackle production doubled the output of the team’s next defensive player to go with 28 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two interceptions. He also had a defensive touchdown and a kickoff return for another score.
Atkins ranks Nos. 6 and 7 by On3Sports and Rivals.com, respectively, in the state’s Class of 2024. On3 ranks him the nation’s No. 6 linebacker in that class. He committed to LSU over scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Louisiana Tech.
“I like the new coaching staff there, especially Matt House, the linebackers coach,” Atkins told On3Sports. “We’ve got a good bond. We’re going to pick up by the time my junior year comes around, start texting and stuff. I like LSU and I like the new coaching staff.
“He cared about me as a person and not as a player because some people just want you for the player, but he wanted me for the player and a person. So, I like any coach like that. If you care about me off the field, I really want to come player for you.”