It's high time for an ATVS recrootin' update, and I figure since that's my primary responsibility here, I should be the one to handle it. To be quite honest, it's been one helluva month in recruiting circles for LSU... and not really a good one. I'll make this my best attempt at covering everything that has happened, including the two prominent news stories which will negatively affect our program.
1) The Chris Garrett Situation
I want to approach this issue as fair-minded as humanly possible. Obviously, I'm an LSU fan... and that side of me doesn't really feel sorry for Chris Garrett in the slightest. I think most LSU fans will likely side with Miles' comments from Media Days regarding Garrett's work ethic. The true details of this story will likely never come to light. But here's a few things we do know:
a) Garrett wasn't highly recruited
ESPN can spin it however they'd like, but Garrett wasn't a "highly recruited" QB. He was a Mississippi State commit with an offer from LSU and few other options ever discussed. I'm sure he had interest from other schools... how much is the question. But "highly recruited" is a tremendous stretch.
b) Garrett landed at Northwestern St.
I'm sure the Garrett family will say they had no options since his scholarship was cut so late. I don't buy that. Hell, you just participated in a giant piece about oversigning and cutting scholarships. If other SEC schools thought he was worth it, you don't think a school like Kentucky would have cut ties with someone (I'm not saying it's fair or right or good... but it IS) to ink Garrett? Instead, he wound up at Northwestern St.
c) Garrett is now WALKING ON to Ole Miss
Which is a further testament to his ability. I have no doubt that Houston Nutt inquired about the possibility of this happening for him, but declining to offer a scholarship says enough. Speaking of irony, if the Garrett's are so disgusted about schools cutting ties with players, why don't they feel a similar moral responsibility to have their son honor his commitment to a school that is paying for his education, rather than simply transferring out solely for an opportunity to play football at a higher level?
d) A player has to keep his end to the bargain too
This is a rabbit hole issue. There's a lot that goes into it. I think it's unfair that universities bank off student athletes and the only compensation they receive is a free education (which is nice, but doesn't equal the financial return their ability and clout bring to a school). Player's are taken advantage of for their talent... but they do make an agreement. Scholarships are EARNED every year. It's the same story with an academic scholarship. As a freshman in college I received a modest academic scholarship. After a couple subpar semester's the school knocked it down a rung due to my failure to perform. I've known others who lost them entirely. I'm failing to see why a football scholarship should be handled any differently.
e) LSU did it
I don't know why Chris Garrett was truly cut. Maybe in effort to appease Zach Lee with the third QB role? Maybe just a scholarship pinch (though a curious position to cut when it leaves you with only two players on scholarship at one position)? Maybe the coaches just didn't think he would ever be an SEC-caliber player. I do know that attrition happens everywhere. I do know that a lot of attrition isn't willing or as willing as it's made out to be. It's unfortunate, but it's the business. Many, many schools abuse this practice and in far worse ways than LSU. I don't know what the solution to the problem is, honestly, but I would love for there to be some further amendments to it.
More LSU scandals after the jump!
2) Self-imposed Restrictions
The second piece of glowing hot LSU news came in the form of self-imposed restrictions. The reductions are relatively minimal in the grand scheme of things. Losing scholarships is never a good thing. Recruiting is the backbone of any successful college football program and any disadvantage you put yourself at in that regard is not good.
Let's hope this is an isolated event rather than something coming from the top down.
3) Recruiting Misses
A couple weeks ago LSU lost out on big in-state stud lineman Greg Robinson. Not long after, long-time commit Jeremy Hill de-committed to begin "looking around." Hill is one of the foundational members of the "family," the group of Louisiana based LSU recruits with a tight-knit friendship and desire to stay in Louisiana. His de-commitment is somewhat shocking, and it's apparent his HS teammate, La'El Collins, isn't thrilled with the decision.
Hill could still very well end up at LSU, and apparently there are some extenuating issues beyond his control that lead to his decision to de-commit. Many suspect he will end up back in the class by NSD. I'm a bit more skeptical, personally.
Losing Hill and Robinson isn't a good thing, by any stretch. However, if there were two positions where LSU could afford to lose a recruit, RB and OL are it. The RB depth is loaded for the next several years, even if Ridley opts to go pro this off-season (which I think would be a poor decision). Similarly our signing class is loaded with OL, not to mention all the young depth already on the roster. Still, Robinson could very well end up in this class.
4) Recent Commits (good news!)
LSU received two pledges over the weekend. Forgive me for not dedicating individual posts to them... it was a busy, wedding-filled weekend for yours truly and coming through with a "So and So Commits!" thread three days late didn't seem appropriate. So:
Jonah Austin, OL - Austin is a HUGE kid, who is HS teammates with long-time LSU commit Trai Turner. He stands at 6'7"+ and weighs about 335 pounds. Austin was committed to Houston previously, but sports a pretty dadgum impressive offer list (Tennessee, Arkansas, Michigan to name a few). My guess is he chose Houston to stay D1 and as local as possible (he's wanted an LSU offer for a while). Watching some tape, Austin's size obviously sticks out. He is a bit top heavy, and his body will need to be reformed. But he has natural size. Shows a pretty good initial punch. Doesn't have great feet, and likely will be a better fit at G or RT (no way he'd take LT spot from Collins anyhow). He's definitely a very raw player (much like his HS couterpart Trai Turner), but the physical potential is there.
Micah Eugene, ATH
Eugene is a bit of a late bloomer, but turn on the tape and you can just tell he's a football player. He's not going to blow anyone away with a dazzling 40 or ridiculous size, but he's a tough guy that knows how to play the game. He plays both ways in HS, but his future is likely at DB at LSU. He brings the heat on his hits, and I love seeing that kind of physicality out of a DB.
Well, that's that for now. Look forward to a series I will do about the signing class both now and going forward... as I will go position by position. I considered throwing that into this post, but decided it would be better to devote special attention to each position and how things are shaping up in that regard.