Focus for LSU’s Kelly placed on Louisiana with 10 of 13 signees home grown in first recruiting class

PHOTO BY: JONATHAN MAILHES

Brian Kelly’s first signing class featured the top talent in Louisiana as the first-year LSU head coach signed 10 of the best players the state had to offer Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.

“I really like this class and it’s one that fills some immediate needs for us especially on the offensive line,” Kelly said. “Louisiana is so vital to our success as a program and we were able to bring the best players in our state to LSU.

“We want to recruit great players, but it’s also vital to our success to have high character young men in our program who value the great education LSU offers. We did that with this class. This is a group that will make LSU proud and lay the foundation for the championship program we are building.”

In addition to the 10 players from Louisiana, the Tigers signed two from Florida and one from Michigan. The 13-player class features four offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, a pair of cornerbacks, along with a quarterback, tight end, wide receiver, linebacker and placekicker.

Here’s who the Tigers have signed on the first day of the early signing period on Wednesday:

WALKER HOWARD, QB, 6-1, 183, Lafayette (La.) St. Thomas More

Rated as the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB by ESPN and listed No. 5 by 247Sports and listed as the nation’s No. 27 overall prospect by ESPN and No. 34 by 247Sports. Led St. Thomas More High School to back-to-back Division II state titles in 2019 and 2020 and a semifinals appearance in 2021 despite missing five games with injuries. As a senior in nine games, he completed 177 of 295 for 2,669 yards, 28 TDs and 5 interceptions. Completed 210 of 317 for 3,369 yards, 39 TDs and 5 interceptions as a junior in 2020 when he won the MaxPreps High School Football Player of the Year for Louisiana and Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year. Had career stats of 397 of 635 (62.5 percent) for 6,256 passing yards, 68 TDs and 12 interceptions. His father Jamie Howard played quarterback at LSU from 1992-95, helping the Tigers to an appearance in the Independence Bowl in 1995. His dad capped his LSU career ranked in the Top 10 in school history for passing yards (6,158), passing TDs (34), and total offense (6,010).

BO BORDELON, OL, 6-5, 269, New Orleans (La.) Isidore Newman

Rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and Rivals and three-stars by 247Sports. Was No. 27 prospect state-wide and No. 45 in the nation by 247Sports. Named to the 2022 Under Armour All-America game roster. Helped Newman to back-to-back appearances in the Louisiana Division III state semifinals in 2020 and 2021 after transferring from E.D. White. His father Ben Bordelon, was an All-SEC lineman for the Tigers in the 1990s and played professionally for the San Diego Chargers.

NATHAN DILBERT, PK, 5-11, 195, Hartland (Mich.) High

Left-footed, he’s ranked the No. 6 kicker in the nation and No. 52 in Michigan per 247Sports and is the No. 2 kicker in the country according to Kohl’s 2022 kicker rankings, Won Kohl’s 2021 National Scholarship Camp kick-off charts. Can also punt and had tremendous leg strength with the ability to handle both kickoff and field goal duties for the Tigers.

FITZGERALD WEST, OL, 6-2, 314, Lafayette (La.) Christian Academy

A 3-star prospect according to 247Sports and Rivals, he plays on both sides the ball. Ranked as the No. 6 defensive lineman in Louisiana for the Class of 2022 according to the 247Sports Composite. Played almost exclusively on the offensive line in 2021 but managed to record 10 tackles and recovered a fumble in the four games he played sparingly on defense. Five-year starter at Lafayette Christian Academy and a four-time Division III state champion. Voted 2A second-team All-State in 2019 and first-team All-State in 2020. Able to play at the center and guard positions on offense. Claimed the District 6-2A shot put title and finished runner-up in the state championship in 2021.

LANDON IBIETA, WR, 5-11, 175, Mandeville (La.) High

Rated three-stars by 247sports, ESPN, and Rivalls. Ranked the No. 31 wide receiver in Louisiana and No. 102 in the country by 247Sports. Ranked the No. 22 in his position state-wide and No. 86 by Rivals. Enjoyed a productive last two seasons with 70 catches, 1,448 yards and 20 touchdowns. As a senior, he caught 37 passes for 734 yards and 6 TDs, also rushed 31 times for 251 yards and 8 TDs and scored twice on punt returns. Helped Mandeville to an 8-2 record and a Louisiana 5A state quarterfinal appearance. As a junior, caught 34 passes for 729 yards and 11 TDs despite missing several games. Opened junior season by catching TD passes of 69, 65 and 37 yards in a win over Hannan in 2020. Returned punts 76 and 79 yards for TDs in 2021.

WILL CAMPBELL, OL, 6-6, 286, Monroe Neville

Ranked No. 1 in the state, No. 5 at his position and No. 32 overall by 247Sports and rated as 5-stars by 247Sports and 4-stars by ESPN. Four-star and No.4 prospect in the state by Rivalks. Was a four-year starter on the offensive line at Neville. Listed as the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect by ESPN. Selected to participate in the 2022 Under Armour All-American Game. Helped team to a 10-3 mark and start semifinal appearance as a sophomore. Team returned to the state semifinals as both a junior and senior.

QUENCY WIGGINS, DE, 6-6, 265, Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep

Was voted the District 7-3A Defensive MVP this past season, leading the Chargers to the state quarterfinals before losing to Sterlington. He wound up with 56 tackles, 26 tackles to loss, 13 sacks and recovered three fumbles. Rated with four-stars and ranked No. 198 in ESPN’s Top 300 list. Ranked No. 11 overall in Louisiana and No. 18 nationally at his position by ESPN. Four-star prospect and ranked as the No. 7 player in the state of Louisiana by 247Sports. Invited to play in the Adidas All-American Bowl. Helped lead Madison Prep to its first-ever football state championship in 2020 as the Chargers won the 3A title and capped the year with an undefeated record. Also plays basketball for Madison Prep.

DEMARIO TOLAN, LB, 6-1, 211, Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips High

Rated 4 stars by 247Sports and ESPN, listed No. 194 nationally in the ESPN 300. Ranked No. 22 nationally at his position and No. 25 in the state of Florida by ESPN. Three-year starter at linebacker in high school. As a sophomore, he had 43 tackles and four sacks. Named to the Osceola News-Gazette’s All-County first-team and named to the 2022 All-American Bowl roster. Multi-sport athlete who plays on the basketball team and competes for the track team in the 110-meter hurdles.

TYGEE HILL, DT, 6-3, 283, New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr

Ranked as the No. 16 prospect in the state by 247Sports and ranked as the nation’s 24th-best defensive tackle prospect by Rivals. Started as a freshman for undefeated, 4A state champion Edna Karr and helped Edna Karr to its fourth consecutive Louisiana 4A state championship in 2019.

EMERY JONES, OL, 6-4, 330, Baton Rouge (La.) Catholic

Ranked No. 226 in ESPN’s Top 300 list, 4-star prospect and ranked as the No. 12 player in the state of Louisiana by 247Sports. Prepped at Catholic High School where he helped his team to back-to-back Division I state titles in 2020 and 2021. 5A first team All-State in 2020, first team all-district in 2020 and 2021. In his four years at Catholic, team went a combined 44-7 and played in the Division I state title game four times. Invited to play in the Under Armour All-American Game. 

JORDAN ALLEN, CB, 5-10, 184, Lafayette (La.) Lafayette Christian

Standout defensive back at Lafayette Christian Academy who was previously committed to Penn State … Ranked as a three-star cornerback by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports … Helped LCA to a 10-1 record and a Division III state championship in 2020 where the Knights defeated St. Charles, 12-7 … Team advanced to Division III state title game in 2021 where he recorded 15 tackles and one tackle for loss while playing mainly safety. Allowed three completed passes against him the entire year when teams chose to throw in his direction. … Has 15 pass defensed. … Ranked No. 20 overall prospect from the state of Louisiana by 247Sports … Coached by former LSU standout linebacker Trev Faulk.

LATERRANCE WELCH, CB, 6-1, 178, Lafayette (La.) Acadiana High

Outstanding defensive back from Acadiana High School in Lafayette … Listed as the nation’s No. 101 prospect by ESPN … Ranked No. 12 nationally at his position and No. 7 overall in Louisiana by ESPN … Was limited to four games in 2021 because of a knee injury. Had nine tackles, two fumble recoveries and a pass broken up. Three-year starter at Acadiana … Listed as a four-star cornerback by ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals … Ranked as the No. 9 player in Louisiana according to the 247Sports Composite … Selected as a 2022 Under Armour All-American … Contributed to two 5A state titles in 2019 and 2020 … Intercepted an attempted two-point conversion in the 2020 5A State Championship game after missing the majority of the season with an injury to secure a 35-34 win for Acadiana … Coached by Matt McCullough.

MASON TAYLOR, TE, 6-4, 230, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas

The three-star tight end will be playing for his third state championship this Friday when St. Thomas Aquinas faces Tampa Bay Tech. … St. Thomas Aquinas is 36-2 during Taylor’s career. … Son of former Miami Dolphins star and Hall of Fame selection Jason Taylor. Also, the nephew of former Dolphins’ linebacker Zach Thomas. … Listed as the nation’s No. 22 tight end, nation’s No. 464 overall prospect and No. 28 player in Florida … Has enjoyed the best season of his career with a team-high 32 catches for 373 yards (11.7 per catch) and two touchdowns. … From the same high school that’s produced LSU offensive lineman Marcus Dumervil and Marlon Martinez. … Coached by Roger Harriott.

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