What is the latest buzz on LSU football’s recruiting trail?

LSU Secondary Coach Corey Raymond PHOTO BY: On3 Sports

The latest buzz on LSU football’s recruiting trail is centered around its heavy pursuit of defensive backs in the 2025 recruiting cycle. ​ LSU secured commitments from three defensive players during the Fourth of July weekend, but Brian Kelly and staff are actively pushing for more.

Damien Shanklin (No. ​ 5 EDGE in America from Indiana), Zion Williams (Four-Star Defensive Lineman), and Brandon Brown (Four-Star Defensive Lineman).  ​

The current focus is on three defensive backs: Jhase Thomas and CJ Jimcoily, and DJ Pickett, the No. 1 cornerback in the country.

Thomas, a defensive back from Destrehan, Louisiana, received an offer from LSU after an impressive showing at LSU’s Elite Camp in June. ​ He has been on LSU safeties coach Jake Olsen’s radar and has had several unofficial trips to Baton Rouge. ​ Thomas has a decision date set for July 13th, and LSU is considered the frontrunner to secure his commitment. ​

Jimcoily, a four-star safety from Nashville, Tennessee, is also a top target for LSU. ​ He has LSU and Stanford as his final two choices and has family ties to Louisiana, which gives LSU an advantage in his recruitment. ​ Jimcoily has already visited Baton Rouge officially and is inching closer to making his decision, which is expected to be announced in late July.

Pickett has narrowed down his choices to LSU, Oregon, and Miami. ​ LSU has turned up the heat in his recruitment over the last six months, and they brought in former Tiger great Patrick Peterson to help make the push for Pickett. ​ Pickett has a decision date set for July 17th, and LSU is in a three-horse race to land him. ​

LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond has played a significant role in LSU’s recruitment of DJ Pickett from the very beginning, since Raymond’s return to LSU. ​ As the secondary coach for LSU, Raymond has been actively involved in Pickett’s recruitment for the past six months. ​ Raymond has been instrumental in building a strong relationship with Pickett and has been working to convince him to choose LSU.

Raymond has made sure that LSU turned up the heat in their pursuit of Pickett. ​ He played a key role in bringing Pickett to Baton Rouge for an official visit, where he was accompanied by other highly-rated recruits. ​ Raymond also enlisted the help of Peterson to make a push for Pickett’s commitment.

Pickett was accompanied by blue-chip recruits Kaliq Lockett (5-star WR) and Jaime Ffrench (5-star WR) on his official visit to LSU. ​

As the No. 1 cornerback in America for the 2025 cycle, Pickett’s decision carries significant weight and has captured the attention of college football fans nationwide. With his commitment announcement scheduled for July 17th, the countdown to his decision is now in full swing.

Kelly and Raymond have been relentless in pursuit of Pickett.

LSU has made multiple efforts to bring him to campus, including an official visit in May. LSU has emphasized early playing time and the opportunity for Pickett to make an immediate impact in its defensive backfield.  The Tigers have also highlighted their track record of developing top-tier defensive backs, such as Peterson. Additionally, LSU has been working on their NIL packages, recognizing the importance of this aspect in Pickett’s decision-making process.

Oregon and head coach Dan Lanning have emerged as a strong (leading) contender for Pickett’s commitment.  The Ducks have been leveraging their success in landing other top recruits and doing so with impressive NIL packages.  Nike founder Phil Knight has been leading the charge in Oregon’s NIL efforts, providing additional allure to Pickett.  The potential for lucrative endorsement deals and branding opportunities has reportedly caught Pickett’s attention.

Miami, being in Pickett’s home state, also reportedly holds a special place in his recruitment process.  The Hurricanes have been a consistent presence throughout his journey, offering early playing time and attractive NIL packages.  Pickett has ties to the program, with a family member currently on the Hurricanes’ roster.  The allure of representing his home state and the rich football tradition at Miami has made it a compelling option for Pickett, sources say.

As the countdown to Pickett’s decision narrows, the competition among LSU, Oregon, and Miami is said to be intensifying.

Each school has its own unique selling points, and Pickett’s choice will ultimately come down to his personal preferences and priorities. LSU’s strong recruitment efforts, Oregon’s impressive NIL package, and Miami’s hometown advantage all make for a compelling decision-making process.

The outcome of Pickett’s decision will also have a significant impact on the recruiting landscape.

Pickett’s talent and potential impact on the field make him a highly sought-after recruit, and his decision will shape the future of these programs.

Pickett did eliminate Georgia from contention recently.

LSU currently has 15 commitments in its 2025 recruiting class.

REPORTER’s NOTEBOOK

  1. LSU football has secured commitments from three defensive players during the Fourth of July weekend: Damien Shanklin (No. ​ 5 EDGE in America), Zion Williams (Four-Star Defensive Lineman), and Brandon Brown (Four-Star Defensive Lineman). ​
  2. LSU is actively pursuing two defensive backs in the 2025 recruiting cycle: Jhase Thomas and CJ Jimcoily. ​ Jhase Thomas, a defensive back from Destrehan, Louisiana, received an offer from LSU after an impressive showing at LSU’s Elite Camp in June. ​ He has a decision date set for July 13th and LSU is the frontrunner to secure his commitment. ​ CJ Jimcoily, a four-star safety from Nashville, Tennessee, is considering LSU and Stanford. ​ He has family ties to Louisiana, which gives LSU an advantage in his recruitment. ​
  3. DJ Pickett, the No. ​ 1 cornerback in the 2025 cycle, is considering LSU, Oregon, and Miami. LSU has been actively recruiting Pickett and has turned up the heat in the last six months. ​ LSU brought in former Tiger great Patrick Peterson to help with the recruitment. ​ Pickett has a decision date set for July 17th, and LSU is in a three-horse race to land him. ​
  4. LSU has a strong recruiting staff, including safeties coach Jake Olsen and secondary coach Corey Raymond, who have been actively involved in the recruitment of defensive backs Jhase Thomas, CJ Jimcoily, and DJ Pickett. ​
  5. LSU has had success in recruiting players from the Destrehan area, with a pipeline from Destrehan to Baton Rouge. ​ The recent success story is Justin Jefferson, who played for LSU before being drafted into the NFL. ​ Jefferson’s success is believed to have a strong influence Jhase Thomas to choose LSU.
  6. The No. 5 recruit in the 2026 recruiting class has narrowed his list of finalists down to 12 schools.
  7. Lamar Brown is a 6-foot-4, 275-pound, five-star interior offensive lineman from Erwinville, Louisiana, where he plays for University Lab. Brown is ranked as the No. 1 interior offensive lineman in the class as well as the No. 5 overall recruit.
  8. Brown’s top 12 consists of LSU, Ole Miss, Houston, Texas A&MFlorida StateMichiganUSC, Tulane, Alabama, UCF, Tennessee and Miami. Brown does not have any crystal ball projections at this time but LSU is the overwhelming favorite to land him per On3 as the Tigers are a 98% favorite to land him.
  9. LSU currently has two commitments for the 2026 recruiting class Richard Anderson, a defensive lineman from New Orleans and Jakai Anderson, a safety who is also from New Orleans. The class is currently ranked as the No. 13 overall class according to 247Sports.
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Tiger Rag News Services

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