Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting , with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss 4-star defensive back Kelvin Joseph‘s decision to de-commit from LSU and whether the Army All-American will find his way back into the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class.
Kelvin Joseph talks de-commitment
BATON ROUGE, La. — Without question, there have been highs and lows in Kelvin Joseph’s recruitment since he gave his verbal commitment to LSU 20 months ago. Yet, with National Signing Day within striking distance, his de-commitment seemingly came out of left field.
Several schools have attempted to flip the 4-star defensive back since he first committed to the hometown Tigers in February 2016. Until Monday, none have been successful.
What changed? According to the U.S. Army All-American, nothing.
“I had just been thinking that I needed to give other schools a chance to recruit me,” Joseph explained to SEC Country. “A lot of schools felt like they didn’t have a chance to recruit me because I was committed to LSU and I haven’t had a chance to look at anyone.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defensive back out of Scotlandville (La.) High School made the split decision to de-commit from LSU on Monday in the aftermath of LSU’s loss to Troy. Joseph was in Baton Rouge instead of making the visit to Alabama for the Tide’s home game against Ole Miss.
While the loss was disappointing, Joseph is putting an emphasis on how the Tigers finish out the 2017 season. He’ll be keeping close tabs on LSU and the other schools he’s considering to determine where he fits in best.
“I felt like today [Monday] was the right time,” he said. “That loss — it wasn’t expected. I’m just looking at everybody’s programs and how they’re going and how the coaches are. If it doesn’t compare up, then …”
Why LSU remains on top
Joseph will be comparing Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, Florida, Kansas and some other programs to LSU. Purposefully.
The Tigers remain the leading school for Louisiana’s top-ranked defensive back. The only change — for now — is that he’ll navigate through the remaining five months of the 2018 recruiting cycle uncommitted.
“LSU, it’s the hometown school,” Joseph explained. “That’s where all my love is at. I have love for them. I’ll be comparing everyone to LSU. I still feel connected to them.”
Before Joseph went public with his de-commitment, he first contacted LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, who has been his primary recruiter the past two-plus years.
Raymond, as expected, was displeased with Joseph’s decision. He has deterred the All-American from de-committing a handful of times over the past few years but understood Joseph’s mindset on this occasion. He left the priority target with one message to think about during the remaining five months.
“He didn’t like it, but I told him that [LSU] was still my top school,” Joseph said. “He said he’s going to recruit me how he was and he said nothing was going to change.”
Joseph is expected to officially visit Florida State this weekend for the Miami game. He’ll return to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for an official visit when Alabama hosts LSU on Nov. 4.
What does LSU have to do to remain in front?
“I’d say finish the season strong … you know, dominate,” Joseph said. “I can’t just judge them on how they’re playing right now. I’m going to visit other schools to see how everything is, but it’s a possibility — a strong possibility — that I commit back to LSU.”
Joseph will officially announce his commitment to either LSU or another program on National Signing Day in February.
Until then, the 4-star defensive back’s next move will be to release a final 3 next Monday in the aftermath of his official visit to Florida State. Two of the spots in that top 3 are already occupied. The third is up for grabs between Florida, Florida State, Kansas and Clemson, among others.
“It’s LSU, Alabama and the last one is still a race,” Joseph said.
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