In between covering the baseball regionals as best my limited resources will allow, I will start a series on the 2008 LSU football incoming freshmen. I did a very similar thing over at GeauxTuscaloosa last year with the 2007 class. I will profile each player individually, except that some players may be grouped in a single profile, if it makes sense to do so.
The purpose of the profiles is to tell you not just the basics about a prospect, but to try to give you a little more depth than you might otherwise get. I will try to tell you how the player came to be a part of LSU's class, what kind of player he is, where he fits in our future, and how long we should anticipate waiting for him to be a productive player. In doing so, it is inevitable that some of it will just rehash what you might already have learned from the pay sites, which honestly is where most of the actual information comes from, but we add value by giving you analysis you can't find anywhere else. The recruiting sites don't focus on how a player fits into the big picture, which is what I'm here to tell you.
On this platform, I will try to add a little more functionality, such as YouTube video of a prospect, if it is available.
I am also adding a new feature to help the reader. I will be labeling prospects under three categories: headliner, solid player, and project. I will rehash what I had to say about these labels after the jump.
Headliners are guys the class is built around, and who I think the coaches expect the team to be built around in the future. These are players who have a really good chance of playing right away. Of course, I could very easily be wrong about them, but it's a projection. Last year, I would have labeled Chad Jones, Terrance Tolliver, Phelon Jones, Joe Barksdale, and Stefoin Francois as headliners. And maybe one or two others. Chad Jones, Tolliver, and Barksdale played right away, but Phelon Jones and Francois redshirted and are still trying to work their way up the depth chart.
Solid players are just that. They're solid. They're going to come in, and probably not play a whole lot immediately, but if they develop as expected they will be getting onto the two-deep depth chart in a year or two and will comprise the team leaders in their junior and senior years. That is, of course, if they develop. They sometimes don't. I would expect this to be the biggest category of players.
Projects are a group of people who likely are going to have to sit a while before they emerge as players, if they ever do. I don't want it to sound like a pejorative term, but the fact remains that not everyone in a recruiting class is a future star. Some are future depth players, or end up surprising you. I probably would have labeled Jonathan Zenon as a project when he was recruited, and he ended up a two-year starter. Last year, I probably would have labeled Jarvis Jones as a project, and he played backup left tackle as a true freshman. I would definitely have been wrong on that one.
As was pointed out when I labeled Robby Green as a "class filler", these guys sometimes end up being very good. Heck, sometimes walk-ons end up as All-Americans. Sometimes guys who the big schools wouldn't touch end up being Pro Bowl in the NFL. "Project" does not mean "Future Failure". It just means the guy probably has a long way to go before he's ready to help the team on the field.
Link here. In other words, the labels are used as guides, but by no means should they be taken as gospel.