There's a huge game for LSU in Florida this week. No one really cares who wins, as no one will remember the final score a few weeks from now, but the game will have far reaching impact on the LSU program. And no, this game isn't the one being played in Tampa. Heck, LSU isn't even playing in it.
St. Petersburg is host to the Under Armour All-American Game, during which seven highly touted recruits will make their college choice on national television. Five of the seven are current LSU leans.
I'm not going to pretend I'm a recruiting expert. God bless y'all who break down grainy tape of high school athletes across the country and try and decipher the true intent of a teenager's public statements, but it's just not my cup of tea. I know that recruiting is the lifeblood of the program, and I don't dispute its central importance. You got to have talent.
However, I don't get hung up on individual players and I follow recruiting on a far more global level. Look, even your average five star recruit probably only has about a fifty-fifty shot of ever becoming a starter for your team, much less a star. But here's the important thing, fifty-fifty is a lot better odds than a four star or a three star. No player comes with a guarantee, but a highly touted player is much more likely to be a starter or even a star. Get enough five and four stars, and you're in good shape. It's all a numbers game.
You don't get to hang a banner for winning the Recruiting National Title, but it usually leads to one in the future. Alabama has had four #1 classes in the past five years, ask a Tide fan how that has panned out.
Even more importantly, LSU has experienced an incredible talent drain over the past two years. Remember when eleven guys left for the draft early? Yeah, well this year won't be as bad, but we are still looking at a high number of early entries. LSU needs to restock that cupboard, and fortunately, the state is absolutely loaded with blue chip talent this year.
Which brings us to the Under Armour game. LSU doesn't precisely need all five LSU leans to come into the fold, but getting all five would be a massive coup. And it would be great for the program for people to turn on the game and see player after player declare for the Tigers.
Leonard Fournette is the number one recruit in the country, and he's such a big name in recruiting that even guys who barely follow the recruiting game such as myself know all about him. LSU lost two running backs to the draft last season yet didn't take a single back in last year's class, all to make room for Fournette. Miles and his staff have gone all in on this kid. I hate to say any recruit is a must have, a good program is larger than any one player, but if anyone is a must have, it's Fournette.
LSU's other targets are CB Tony Brown, WR Speedy Noil, DT Gerald Willis, and S Jamal Adams. All are five star recruits according to 247's composite rankings. These five guys could form the centerpiece of a truly exceptional recruiting class. Losing one of them won't kill LSU, but with the recruiting momentum, it would be a disappointment now to not snag all five commitments.
Thursday is one of the most important days of the offseason for LSU. And all we can do is watch and hope. Even if you barely follow recruiting, this is the one day outside of signing day you need to pay attention.