ORLANDO, Fla. — LSU was all over the television screen Saturday, adding to its stellar 2016 recruiting class as Drake Davis and Michael Divinity committed to the Tigers on the ESPN family of networks, vaulting their recruiting class to No. 1 in the country with a month to go until national signing day.
Davis and Divinity, who played in the Under Armour All-America Game at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday, will fill needs at receiver and linebacker. Both players appear to have the size and athletic ability to contribute right away — and Divinity, a midyear graduate from John Ehret, will be on campus this spring.
Davis has the unique combination of size and speed that will give LSU a dangerous weapon in the red zone.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound receiver played his senior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he had just 11 receptions. However, seven of those went for touchdowns, and he averaged 39.2 yards per catch.
“He’s fast,” said LSU cornerback commit Saivion Smith, an IMG teammate who went up against Davis all week in practice. “That’s it. He’s just very fast.”
Davis also excels in multiple sports. He ran track at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, played soccer at a Barcelona camp in Spain and plans to play basketball in addition to football at LSU.
His father is Lester Earl, who held a basketball scholarship to LSU, but transferred to Kansas. Earl was at the center of an NCAA investigation that led to penalties against LSU, which was put on probation and lost two scholarships per year for three years.
But for Davis, a Baton Rouge native who began his high school career at The Dunham School, this is a dream come true. It’s a chance to return home and play in front of friends and family after playing the past year in Florida.
“I’ve been dreaming about playing in Death Valley since I was a child,” Davis said. “It’s the greatest feeling ever to go out there and listen to everyone chant ‘Geaux Tigers!’ There’s no place like playing in Death Valley.”
Divinity, the Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year, chose LSU for many of the same reasons.
He had committed to LSU once before but backed off during the season.
“Really, it’s home, and I love it there,” said Divinity, who had de-committed from LSU in December. “I was sitting in my hotel room thinking ‘this is where I’m going to be for the next three or four years.’ Even after the shaky situation with coach (Les) Miles, I told my mother and father I wanted to be an LSU Tiger.”
Divinity also said LSU’s addition of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, announced late Friday night, got him “pumped.”
Aranda, hired away from Wisconsin, presided over one of the top defenses in the nation.
LSU was hoping to see offensive tackle Jean Delance put on an LSU hat while making his decision during the game. But the Mesquite, Texas, native decided to stay home and play for the Texas Longhorns. It would have a been a big boost for the Tigers’ 2016 class, which has only two offensive linemen in four-star guard Donavaughn Campbell and three-star tackle Jakori Savage thus far.
LSU turns its attention to Willie Allen, an offensive tackle from John Curtis. Allen is rated the top prospect in the state of Louisiana by ESPN. The 6-foot-7, 300-pound lineman is taking visits to LSU, Ole Miss, and Auburn this month.
“LSU is still in the picture,” Allen said. “It’s home, and I’m not committed anywhere right now. Wherever it feels right and comfortable, that’s where I’m going.”
LSU target Rahshaun Smith, a 6-foot-3, 239-pound linebacker, made his announcement in the closing minutes of the game choosing to play at Death Valley, just not the one in Baton Rouge. He said he’ll play for Clemson.
At any rate, by nightfall, LSU had the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class, according to 247 Sports’ recruiting rankings.
National signing day is Feb. 3.