By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
The Citrus Bowl wasn’t the only game LSU fans should keep an eye on this week.
New Year’s Day means putting a bow on the high school football season with two all-star games that come loaded with recruiting implications. The Under Armour All-America Game will be held in Orlando on Thursday while the US Army All-American Bowl will be played in San Antonio on Saturday.
The recruiting implications around these games tend to be much more significant in the grand scheme of things than the football exhibition itself. Let’s take a quick rundown of what LSU signees and targets are playing in each game and some news to keep an ear out for.
UA ALL-AMERICAN GAME
- WR Terrace Marshall | SIGNED
The nation’s No. 1 receiver and Louisiana’s top prospect was the splash addition of the Early Signing Period for LSU. Now he gets the chance to show out on a national stage for Team Highlight while doing some pitching of his own in hopes of having another elite wide receiver join him in Baton Rouge. More on that below.
- C Cole Smith | SIGNED
Smith is one of four offensive linemen signed by LSU during the Early Signing Period and figures to be LSU’s center of the future some time down the road. He’ll also be playing for Team Highlight in the All-America Game and could aid Marshall in the recruiting efforts.
- WR JaMarr Chase | TARGET
An injury will keep Chase from actually participating in the game, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already made news from Orlando. The elite wideout and former Florida commitment named LSU and Auburn among his finalists. LSU coach Ed Orgeron can’t reference Chase by name due to NCAA regulations, but he dropped a serious hint after the Citrus Bowl about one of LSU’s top priorities on the trail.
“Have to replace DJ Chark and Russell Gage,” Orgeron said. “Terrace Marshall is the No. 1 receiver in the country. We may get another big time receiver coming up soon. We think we can replace those guys, but there will be some new faces on offense.”
- WR Justin Watkins | TARGET
LSU remains in the mix for the four-star slot receiver and is considered by some as the team to beat. But with only four spots remaining in the class, whether or not he winds up in Baton Rouge could have as much to do with how some other dominoes fall as anything else. The Florida native will play for Team Highlight on Thursday.
US ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL
- LB Micah Baskerville | SIGNED
LSU had pretty good success this season with an athletic inside linebacker from North Louisiana by the name of Devin White — maybe you’ve heard of him? Baskerville, who played his high school ball at Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, will suit up for the West on Saturday.
- DB Kelvin Joseph | TARGET
The one-time LSU commitment has dropped hints on social media and in various interviews that he could be ready to make an announcement sometime this week in San Antonio. LSU is still considered very much the favorite to land the top 2018 defensive back in Louisiana. Joseph recently announced a top four of LSU, Alabama, Florida State and Auburn. He’ll be playing for the West and wearing the same No. 20 that Tiger running back Derrius Guice wore when he took home MVP honors from the 2015 game.
- CB Patrick Surtain Jr. | TARGET
LSU has been recruiting the nation’s No. 1 cornerback for years and remains in good position to land Surtain come National Signing Day. The Florida native will be playing for the East in Saturday’s game. Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State are also considered to be in the mix.
- RB Harold Joiner | TARGET
Joiner was a high-priority target at one point this fall, but with LSU tight on scholarships — the Tigers signed 21 out of a possible 25 during the early period — and two running backs already in the class, the numbers dictate LSU looks elsewhere. SEC Country and Rivals reported this week that Joiner was no longer considering LSU.