BATON ROUGE - Only four shopping days left ... until "Recruiting Christmas Part I," that is.
The NCAA's new early signing period dawns on Wednesday, Dec. 20, and runs through Friday, Dec. 22. "Recruiting Christmas Part II" will fall on the previous single signing opening date on the first Wednesday in February, which will be Feb. 7 next year.
LSU has 20 commitments in its class of 2018, which is ranked No. 10 in the latest Rivals.com rankings, and Coach Ed Orgeron expects to sign close to 20 on Wednesday.
"I think that the early signing period is going to be an advantage for us," Orgeron said this week as preparations for the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, against Notre Dame began. "We may sign 15-20 guys, and then we'll zero in on the last five (for Feb. 7). Our coaches have done a tremendous job recruiting. Their home visits have been fantastic. We'll see what happens."
Twelve of those commitments are visiting LSU this weekend, including two offensive linemen, and Orgeron and staff will try to make sure they stay committed since the offensive line coach who helped recruit them will be leaving LSU soon. Jeff Grimes is expected to keep recruiting for LSU and coach the Tigers' offensive line in preparation for and during the bowl game before officially beginning his job as Brigham Young's new offensive coordinator. Grimes has been LSU's offensive line coach since 2014.
Orgeron hired Los Angeles Chargers offensive line coach James Cregg on Wednesday to replace Grimes, shortly after news broke that Grimes was leaving. Cregg, though, will not be joining the LSU staff on a full time basis until after the Chargers' 2017-18 season, including the playoffs, ends.
The offensive linemen visiting this weekend are Chasen Hines (6-foot-3, 310), the No. 10 ranked guard in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 208 prospect nationally out of Marshall High in Marshall, Texas, and Cameron Wire, the No. 44 offensive tackle in the nation and No. 20 prospect in Louisiana from East Ascension High in Gonzales. Wire (6-7, 260) is the top rated offensive lineman in the state.
"The LSU coaching staff must stay on top of their offensive line commitment list now that Jeff Grimes is departing," TigerBait.com/Rivals.com editor Mike Scarborough said Friday. "LSU cannot afford to lose one or two of those guys. The coming week before the early signing period is going to be pivotal."
LSU has four offensive line commitments in all. The other two are guard Damien Lewis (6-3, 320) of Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi, and offensive tackle Badara Traore (6-6, 320) of Asa College in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Attrition on LSU's coaching staff has already led to Traore, a top junior college prospect also being recruited by Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Penn State, Georgia and West Virginia, suddenly adding Tennessee to his visit list. Traore, who committed to LSU just last week after visiting LSU on Nov. 24-25, is at Tennessee this weekend as new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt just hired LSU recruiting ace Austin Thomas this week.
Thomas, a native of Franklin, Tennessee, is not one of LSU's nine assistant coaches, but the recruiting ace was given the title of general manager by Orgeron after last season. He had been helping recruit Traore to LSU.
"We have a very big weekend this weekend," Orgeron said.
In addition to the 12 commitments visiting, non-committed defensive end Mike Williams (6-2, 250) of Dunham in Baton Rouge will be at LSU. Williams is the No. 18 prospect in the state and the No. 28 strong side defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com. He is also being recruited by Alabama and Ole Miss.
The list of LSU's 13 prospect visitors this weekend with Rivals.com national position ranking if applicable, height and weight, school, town and state (if not Louisiana) follows:
No. 24 DT Dare Rosenthal (6-7, 314) of Ferriday High in Ferriday, No. 49 WR Kenan Jones (6-2, 205) of Berwick High in Berwick, WR Jaray Jenkins (6-1, 175) of Jena High in Jena, No. 50 TB Chris Curry (5-11, 205) of Lehigh High in Lehigh Acres, Florida, CB Ardarius Washington (5-10, 175) of Evangel in Shreveport, No. 10 guard Chasen Hines (6-3, 310) of Marshall High in Marshall, Texas, No. 20 OLB Micah Baskerville (6-2, 215) of Evangel in Shreveport, Athlete Dantrieze Scott (6-5, 225) of Ferriday High in Ferriday, LB Travez Moore (6-6, 255) of Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi, No. 44 OT Cameron Wire (6-7, 260) of East Ascension High in Gonzales, No. 23 DT Davin Cotton (6-3, 275) of Evangel in Shreveport, No. 18 OLB Damone Clark (6-2, 215) of Southern Lab in Baton Rouge, and non-committed No. 28 DE Mike Williams (6-2, 250) of Dunham in Baton Rouge.