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 the state of Micah Baskerville‘s commitment to the Tigers.
Micah Baskerville ‘100-percent’ locked in with LSU
SHREVEPORT, La. — It’s no longer a matter of if, but more so when Micah Baskerville arrives in Baton Rouge.
The 3-star LSU linebacker commitment has maintained a solid position with the in-state Tigers ever since he committed in February at the “Boys From The Boot” function on campus. That’s when he received his offer and promptly gave a verbal pledge to coach Ed Orgeron, alongside his Evangel (La.) Academy teammates Ar’Darius Washington and Davin Cotton.
Other schools — namely Texas A&M, UCLA, Florida and Arkansas — have continued their pursuit of the 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker, who was recently invited to compete in the U.S. Army All-American Game in January.
Baskerville’s focus has remained steadily on LSU despite pushes from rival schools and plans to make all five of his official visits after the season.
“Oh, I’m 100 percent for sure. I’m 100 percent,” Baskerville told SEC Country. “I don’t think anything can happen, but you know, you have to keep an open mind.”
Since committing, Baskerville has quietly been counting down.
While he’s the quarterback of the Evangel Academy defense, which has its sights set on repeating as Louisiana’s Division I state champions, competing in Baton Rouge has emerged as an equally large an attraction. Baskerville is planning to sign his letter of intent during the December signing period and is on track to enroll early at LSU, which should put him in position to be on campus in January in time for spring practices.
Sure, Baskerville is looking forward to competing for playing time when spring ball rolls around. He’s also anxious for Orgeron to cash in on some of his promises made during his recruitment.
“A lot of times, he [Orgeron] will say: ‘I can’t wait until you get down here. We’re ready for you to get some of this good gumbo,'” Baskerville laughed. “They all get together and have team cookouts and I can’t wait to get down there for one of those. When the LSU coaches talk to me, it’s not about recruiting. It’s family and I feel like I’m already a part of the team. They call me and check up on me and ask me how I’m doing. We joke around here and there and crack some jokes.”
Baskerville, a top-20 inside linebacker prospect in the Class of 2018, is one of two linebackers currently committed to the Tigers. Both he and 4-star Damone Clark are expected to be on campus this January.
The bevy of freshmen on the field has certainly caught Baskerville’s attention, but immediate playing time hasn’t been the biggest selling point in his recruitment. He remains keen on earning any and all playing time beginning in March.
“I’ve heard a lot about it and seen a lot [about the freshmen] on Twitter and the coaches have told me I could play early, but of course I plan on working hard for it,” said Baskerville. “I plan on working hard for it and I don’t want anyone to give it to me. I want to work hard for it and get what I deserve.”
As far as his projected role in that defense, Baskerville will be among those competing for an inside linebacker job opposite of Devin White.
What does Baskerville bring to the table?
“We talk about where I could fit in and I think I could fit in any one of those positions,” he said. “It depends on where they’re at. But if I had the choice, I like rushing and going to get the quarterback. That’s what I like to do — anything dealing with the blitz.”
Coach’s Take: ‘Sky is the limit’ for Micah Baskerville
By trade, Baskerville is a middle linebacker. He’s a top-20 prospect at the position in the Class of 2018, per the 247Sports Composite rankings, and the No. 16 overall recruit in Louisiana.
Baskerville has found a home in the middle of the Evangel Academy defense, but linebacker was not his original role.
A four-year starter for Evangel coach Byron Dawson, Baskerville has also seen snaps on the defensive line and in the secondary. Everywhere he’s lined up, he’s thrived, his coach said, and his experience at multiple positions has helped him to carve out a role at middle linebacker.
“Micah Baskerville is so athletic. He’s played every position,” Dawson raved of his 3-star prospect. “As a freshman, he started at defensive end. He did that four a couple of years. He’s played linebacker and safety, and it’s very rare to find a defensive player that can play every position in every unit of the defense. Micah not only can, but he has in our scheme.
“His versatility is amazing. He’s physical enough to meet that big guard and shed him and make a tackle in the hole. He’s agile enough to rush around the edge and sack the quarterback. He’s also savvy enough to get back deep at safety and play over the top of receivers. That’s Micah Baskerville for sure.”
Baskerville’s time at linebacker has eventually warranted an invite to Nike’s The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Ore., and invite to the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, Texas.
LSU’s depth chart at the position was once so thin that Tigers defensive coordinator Dave Aranda complained there were more placekickers than linebackers on the roster. Fast forward almost a year, the impending addition of a versatile prospect like Baskerville has put Aranda’s hand-picked collection of talent in a rather strong position to thrive for several years to come.
“Dave Aranda is one of the best defensive minds in football … period,” Dawson said. “Look at how he’s led that defense and kept teams from scoring. Under him, the sky is the limit for Micah. He’ll get in there and it’ll be a smooth transition for him.”
“They [the LSU coaches] love him,” he added. “They saw him last year in the semifinal game against John Curtis and again in the Superdome. His stock rose from there because he was a difference-maker against a nationally ranked Curtis team. They saw him having a great season and he stood out for being a sideline-to-sideline playmaker, and they are so excited to have Micah Baskerville for sure.”
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