LSU Closes Strong By Signing Top LB Away From Aggies, but Jimbo Fisher’s Class Still Finishes No. 1

New LSU football coach Brian Kelly may not be the best dancer or know how to impersonate a Louisiana accent, but apparently he knows ho to recruit.

Shortly after losing Louisiana tight end Danny Lewis to Alabama on national signing day Wednesday, even though a video of Kelly and Lewis dancing went viral in recent days, Kelly saved his best for the last dance. He landed Harold Perkins – the No. 3 outside linebacker in the nation – from under Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher’s nose late Wednesday.

Perkins (6-foot-3, 200 pounds), who is from Cypress Park High in Cypress, Texas, had been committed to Texas A&M from Jan. 2 through Jan. 24. Cypress is located 70 miles south of the Aggies’ campus. Perkins was also offered scholarships by Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Texas.

The addition of Perkins catapulted Kelly’s first LSU class from No. 23 in the nation by Rivals.com to No. 14 with just 15 signees and up to No. 12 by 247 Sports. Kelly’s class was No. 27 on Dec. 15, which was the date of the first national signing day for the class of 2022.

Earlier Wednesday, Kelly signed No. 27 cornerback Jaelyn Davis-Robinson (6-0, 175) from Waxahachie High in Texas. Fisher was not recruiting him, though. Among the schools offering Davis-Robinson scholarships were Houston, Louisville, Boston College, Oregon and Arizona.

But Fisher still finished with the No. 1 class in the nation by Rivals.com and 247 Sports as he signed one of the highest ranked players in the country Wednesday in five star prospect Shemar Stewart – the No. 4 strong side defensive end by Rivals out of Monsignor Pace High School in Opa Locka, Florida.

Stewart (6-5, 260) visited Miami over the weekend but turned down offers from the Hurricanes as well as Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky and Ole Miss, among others.

Fisher finished with 28 signees. Alabama finished No. 2 with 24 signees and Georgia was No. 3 with 29.

But Fisher spent much of his press conference Wednesday in a war of words concerning other SEC coaches about recruiting.

Alabama coach Nick Saban’s only signee on Wednesday was Lewis (6-4, 240), who is the No. 19 tight end in the nation by Rivals.com from Westgate High in New Iberia. Saban did not say if the Kelly dance was what got him Lewis.

“I have not seen the video, but I like to dance, too,” he said. “I like the line dance, do the Cupid Shuffle or whatever they call it, you know all that stuff. I usually do it in the house at our recruiting parties on Saturday night. Some of it ends up on YouTube. But everybody’s got their way to do what they do whether it’s in recruiting or how they run their program, and there’s a lot of different ways to skin a cat. It’s not for me to judge anybody in terms of what they do.”

Lewis is a three star prospect.

“I really like Danny,” Saban said. “He’s got a great family— people in South Louisiana are great people. He’s been very successful as a basketball player and was very productive this year as a football player. So he’s got great size. I think he runs well. He’s a good blocker.” 

Georgia signed three on Wednesday, but dropped from No. 2 to No. 3, where Texas A&M was before signing Stewart.

Reigning national champion Georgia coach Kirby Smart signed four star Christen Miller (6-6, 280), the No. 5 defensive tackle in the nation from Cedar Grove High in Ellenwood, Georgia. He visited Miami on Jan. 28 and also had offers from LSU, Alabama and Cincinnati.

Georgia added three star Andrew Paul (5-10, 221), the No. 30 tailback in the country from Parish Episcopal High in Dallas. He had offers from Auburn, Clemson and Michigan. And Georgia also signed three star EJ Lightsey (6-2, 206), the No. 36 outside linebacker in the country from Fitzgerald High in Georgia.

Tennessee is No. 12 in the nation with 21 signees after adding three star Jayson Jenkins, the No. 17 strong side defensive end from Notre Dame High in Lawrenceville, N.J., on Saturday.

Rivals.com has Kentucky ranked No. 13 with 20 signees after the Wildcats added three star Noah Matthews (6-6, 260), a defensive end from Woodbridge High in Bridgeville, Delaware. Mississippi State is No. 16 with 22 signees after no additions Wednesday.

Missouri, which is No. 17, signed three star offensive lineman Curtis Peagler (6-5, 340) of Demoplis High in Alabama, for a total of 17. Auburn’s class is ranked No. 18 with 18 signees after no additions.

Florida jumped five spots to No. 24 with the addition of two signees for 17. New coach Billy Napier signed No. 34 strong side defensive end Jack Pyburn (6-4, 265) Bolles High in Jacksonville and No. 78 wide receiver Caleb Douglas (6-4, 186) from Hightower High in Missouri City, Texas.

South Carolina is No. 25 with 22 signees after no additions. No. 26 Arkansas (20 signees) and No. 27 Ole Miss (18 signees) added no one.

Vanderbilt stayed in last in the SEC and No. 33 in the nation after signing three players – three star cornerback Jameson Wharton (6-2, 165) of Hendersonville High in Tennessee, three star offensive lineman Leyton Nelson (6-6, 278) of Boone High in Orlando, Florida, and two star wide receiver Andrew Paige (6-3, 205) of Beech High in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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