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In Case You Haven't Figured Out, This Will Be Recruiting Week at ATVS

First, a congratulations to GasHouseGorillas, who celebrated the birth of his first child yesterday.  GasHouseGorillas, in case you didn't know, is my older brother.  Liam Casey Pittman was born yesterday at around 11:00am, weighing in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring an impressive 19.5 inches.  Sadly, if the Pittman genes have anything to say about it, great athleticism is probably not in his future, Cousin Kirston notwithstanding.

Continuing on with the topic at hand.

With the Long, Dark Offseason of the Soul continuing for another few weeks, we are scrounging just a bit for topics to discuss here at ATVS.  What's good for the bloggers is not necessarily good for the team, as I pointed out in this post about all news being bad news.  Things are mighty quiet around the LSU athletic facilities, with nary a serious injury (since the Tim Molten injury), an arrest, or a transfer to discuss.  We think transfers are coming, as I think we still have a little ways to go to get under scholarship limits, but they're not out there right now.

So this week, barring the introduction of any real news, we will be going over LSU recruiting for 2010 in the morning, and profiling 2009 signees in the afternoon.  The 2009 profiles will continue until we're done with them.

Of course, there may be some real news, as SEC Media Days are upon us starting on Wednesday.  Usually, if there is any SEC Media Days news, it is purely of the manufactured variety, and I am not really planning on spending a lot of my energy discussing it.  I will, however, be reading Team Speed Kills' coverage, as he should have the hook-up for me.  If anything important happens in Birmingham, he'll tell us all.  I'll actually be doing a little podcast with him later this week.  Be sure to check that out when it happens.

In the meantime, a little 2010 recruiting is in order.  First, I would like to quote an article I wrote back in March on the subject of 2010 recruiting, back when little was known about most of the recruits we'll be signing:

For reasons I can't entirely explain, we seem to have a two-year cycle on the perception of in-state recruiting and our ability to recruit great players from out of state.  For example, 2007 was a banner year for recruiting in the State of Louisiana, with two 5-star players produced by the state: Joe McKnight and Chad Jones, along with several very highly regarded 4-star type players.  Not only that, but LSU's recruiting class was widely considered about the most solid in the country, with 21 four- and five-star commitments signed, including 5-star Terrance Toliver, and only a handful of 3-stars.  This resulted in a #4 ranking according to Rivals, and was generally considered to be an outstanding class.

Contrast that with the 2008 recruiting class.  It was much more heavily weighted towards 3-stars, with thirteen 3-star players signed, along with thirteen 4- and 5-star players.  There were no in-state 5-stars.  With the exception of Patrick Peterson (formerly Patrick Johnson), our out-of-state recruiting was considered lackluster, as it was believed we got a lot of guys who were other teams' leftovers.  Examples include Derrick Bryant, Alex Hurst, and Kyle Prater, 3-stars out of Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas respectively.  It was considered a down year and was ranked #11 by Rivals (fourth in the SEC).

The early results on both of these classes (keeping in mind that the 2007 class has had an extra year to develop and an extra year to have players wash out) is that these classes are more-or-less equal.  From the 2007 class, we had 4 players get essentially a starters' share of playing time last year: Chad Jones, Terrance Toliver, Joseph Barksdale, and Jarrett Lee.  Kicker/punter Josh Jasper was also a big contributor.  A couple players slid right into backup positions and appear to be poised to be starters this year: Drake Nevis, Josh Dworaczyk and Will Blackwell.  A few more have contributed as backups and on special teams and look to stay in those positions for now while they wait for more experienced players to clear out: Stevan Ridley, Phelon Jones, Ron Brooks, Mitch Joseph, etc., etc. 

But look at the 2008 class.  The QB from the 2008 class appears to have beaten out the QB from the 2007 class for the starter job, despite one fewer year in the system.  Patrick Peterson beat out all the 2007 corners signed and became a starter.  Ryan Baker was a monster on special teams and looks like he might win a starter's position this year.  Brandon Taylor will compete as well, now and in the future.  Offensive lineman Alex Hurst is drawing raves and many close to the program believe he'll be one of the next outstanding LSU offensive linemen, and he was one of the "leftovers".

My conclusion is that, at this time, it appears the 2008 LSU recruiting class was just as good as the 2007 class.  It's hard to say how much of that was the 2007 class being overrated (just look at the guys who left the program without ever contributing: Jordon Corbin (sadly, due to injuries), Delvin Breaux (likewise), Jarvis Jones (kicked off; not to mention the ones who just don't look like they're going to be good players (no names mentioned at this time), and how much of it was the 2008 class being underrated.*  I think it's a little of both.

That's my conclusion.  My point is that the 2009 class was highly regarded, both in- and out-of-state, and so we're due for a down cycle in perception.  The 2010 Louisiana recruiting class is not considered to be as great as the 2009 class or the 2007 class.  It's considered more like the 2008 class.  I wouldn't buy it though.  Try not to get too high about the highs or too low about the lows.  There will be lots of solid players in this class from the State of Louisiana.  We will also sign some very good players from out of state, maybe even some real blue chippers.  

Just calibrate your conclusions according to the inevitable result that it will be perceived to be middling.  I think it's just part of the psyche of LSU fans and of recruiting observers in general.  We're coming off a serotonin high of a great recruiting class.  It's time for a bit of a come down.  It's time, I guess, for the heroin half of our recruiting speedball to kick in (sorry, criminal defense lawyer-mode came out for a second).

I am wrong a LOT.  I will be the first to admit that, but sometimes I get it exactly right, and I think this is one of those times.

Right now, LSU has 18 officially recognized commitments for the 2010 class.  Ten are listed as 3-stars on Scout.  Eight are listed as 3-star (or are unrated) on Rivals.  Overall, this is shaping up to be a class more like the 2008 class than like the 2007 or 2009 classes.  There are a lot of prospects in this class that are getting little attention nationwide.  There are a few sleepers in the class like Sam Gibson (one of my favorite prospects, by the way), Houston Bates, Cameron Fordham, and Elliott Porter.  

There are not a high number of in-state prospects that are getting a lot of love from the recruiting media.  Rivals only lists 8 Louisiana prospects with 4 stars, and none with 5 stars.  I expect two of those (Terrance Broadway and Munchie Legaux) to drop down to 3-stars soon, but they may be replaced by one or more new 4-star prospects.  This compares to 14 four- and five-star prospects from the 2009 class, 11 in the 2008 class, and 17 in the 2007 class.  This is clearly a year more like 2008 as far as the in-state prospects are perceived.

But as pointed out, the 2008 class appears to be a very good class, with Jordan Jefferson and Patrick Peterson being the headliners of that class so far.  Peterson was all-world, but Jefferson was a sleeper who did not earn an offer until after his senior year was finished.  The 2008 class was full of players who were probably a little underappreciated, like Karnell Hatcher, Greg Shaw, and Alex Hurst.  I am thinking that this 2010 class will probably end up the same way.

Tomorrow and Thursday, we will discuss just a little bit about the little guys (receivers, defensive backs, etc.), and then on Friday we will start to profile some of the linemen that have decided to call LSU home in a year.  We'll play it by ear after that, but at some point next week we'll get into the "Where Do We Go From Here" discussion of recruiting.