Rivals.com - Take Two: Will LSU-Alabama impact Sopsher's recruitment?
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Take Two: Will LSU-Alabama impact Sopsher's recruitment?

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Ishmael Sopsher
Ishmael Sopsher (Rivals.com)

MORE TAKE TWO: Where do things stand with five-star Quavaris Crouch?

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.


Ishmael Sopsher is the top-ranked defensive tackle in the 2019 class. A 6-foot-4, 305-pound five-star prospect from Amite, La., Sopsher was one of many outstanding recruits who attended the Alabama-LSU showdown Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

What made Sopsher’s visit even more important is that the five-star defensive tackle is down to the Crimson Tide and the Tigers in his recruitment. LSU does not lose many top-end recruits from the home state. But Alabama has been able to come into Louisiana and steal some outstanding prospects in coach Nick Saban’s tenure.

Alabama obliterated LSU, 29-0, and held the Tigers to 12 rushing yards on 25 carries. That’s half-a-yard per rush. That’s insanely impressive even for Alabama’s defense.

The question becomes what will be most important to Sopsher as he works toward a decision.

Will it be the environment he saw Saturday night in Baton Rouge, will it be LSU coach Ed Orgeron’s post-game plea for better offensive and defensive line recruiting, will it be Alabama’s complete dominance and development of Raekwon Davis, Isaiah Buggs and others along the defensive line or will it be all of them together?

Sopsher could be the next defensive line superstar in the SEC. Alabama and LSU are in the hunt. Was Saturday night’s outcome an eye-opening, decision-making type development for Sopsher or will there be a whole lot more to consider in his commitment?


“One game does not help a recruit pick his school. That is most certainly the case with Sopsher. The Tide and the Tigers are certainly at the forefront for Sopsher, who is going to take so many other factors into account besides the final score.

"Orgeron has been selling the five-star on making an immediate impact along the defensive front and being a part of the LSU team that beats Alabama. That pitch still rings true after the loss and the public call for stronger, quicker defensive linemen — the type that Orgeron says will lift the Tigers to the same talent level as their arch-rival. LSU has lost too many battles on the recruiting trail to Alabama, and it showed on Saturday night.

“Sopsher offers Orgeron a chance to rectify that problem. The elite defensive lineman was on campus twice in a 72-hour stretch, spending quality time with the coaches and then taking in a raucous environment on Saturday night. Although the outcome favored the Tide, there is plenty of reason for optimism regarding LSU’s chances of landing Sopsher on National Signing Day.”


“LSU is going to be there until the end. That's the in-state school. The Tigers recruit very well in the state. Alabama looked beyond impressive, as usual. The Crimson Tide just dominated the football game, especially on the defensive side of things, so Sopsher has to look at that and he’ll be interested in those two interior guys and their NFL future.

“LSU has some interior defensive linemen as well that they’re developing. If I had to pick the team that impressed him, it would definitely be Alabama, despite the atmosphere. He’s seen that atmosphere before at LSU. He’s never seen LSU get dominated like that.”