One of the things I love about the recruiting business is the love-hate relationship you absolutely have to have if you're going to understand it. Recruiting is an essential part of maintaining the health of a program. If you don't believe, go check out Auburn's commitment lists from about 2004 to present. You'll get a really good sense of why Auburn has declined some.
But then if you want to get the sense of how overhyped and hyperconcerned people can be, then check out this article, chronicling what has become of the Scout top 50 players from the 2005 class. That article goes over the careers or the ones that did not live up to the hype. This companion article goes over the careers of players from the top 50 (51, actually) who actually lived up to the hype. The first article is much longer than the second.
Recruiting has become the equivalent of a second football season for many people, myself included. It's a lot of fun. It gives us all more opportunities to brag and claim more national championships, but it's nothing close to science.
Among those top 50 players from 2005, some of them (DT Demarcus Granger, for example) had injury problems that derailed their careers. Some of them had discipline problems that ended their careers (Ryan Perrilloux and many, many others). One of them is dead. Some of them were just never as good as their press. That's something to keep in mind as we come to the home stretch of the 2009 recruiting year, as National Signing Day is a mere 5 days away.
This is the last recruiting weekend of the year, and a dead period starts Sunday evening continuing until Signing Day. LSU will host a couple recruits this weekend, including linebacker Jarvis Jones of Georgia, but it is unknown what if anything will come of them. We appear to know who we want and to (mostly) know who we're getting.
LSU recruiting targets Tony Hurd, Trevon Reed, Ronnie Vinson, Lache Seastrunk, Terrance Broadway, and Eric Reid of the 2010 class.
But in the never-ending world of recruiting, the 2010 recruiting season is set to start this coming weekend, before the 2009 recruiting season ends. This Saturday is going to be a Junior Day at LSU, where a number of high school juniors get to come in, tour the facilities, talk to coaches, etc. Some of these juniors already have or will be receiving scholarship offers from LSU to join the 2010 signing class.
I am not remotely prepared to discuss 2010 recruiting in any depth. It's hard to even project what our recruiting needs will be until we know what positions certain players are going to play. It appears we need to sign multiple running backs, but if Drayton Calhoun is a running back instead of the WR/CB he's widely assumed to be, or if Dominique Allen is a running back instead of a fullback, or if Trent Richardson ends up signing with us, that need may not be there.
The same can be said at offensive line, where it appears we will probably need to have a relatively big class, but not if Josh Downs or Michael Brockers are going to be on the OL rather than on the DL as is expected.
The above-pictured players are some of the guys we are widely reported to be pursuing heavily. Pay special attention to the 4th guy on the list, Lache Seastrunk, a running back out of Temple, Texas, and a cousin of 2009 commit Michael Ford and 2010 target Trevon Reed (also pictured above). He's very likely to be a 5-star running back in this class and his YouTubes are awesome. Those are from his sophomore year, by the way.
We can probably expect one or two commitments from this junior day, but there's no telling who it will be. The guys listed above probably are major targets, but you never quite know. Two years ago, everyone assumed Eddy Lacy and DJ Banks were going to be big targets for the 2009 class. Lacy was shunned by LSU because of academic and alleged character concerns, and DJ Banks wasn't offered by any SEC team at all despite being a full academic qualifier. He's heading to Tulane.
So here we sit at the edge of two recruiting classes, with a sobering reminder that today's exciting prospects are tomorrow's bitter disappointments.