You'd be hard pressed to find a more ballyhooed, more discussed recruiting class than the one LSU is currently chipping away at. We've heard the names for years. Fournette, Jones, Robinson, Noil, Dupre... and that's just a handful of the local big timers. Throw in guys like Brown, Paris, Garrett, Jackson and LSU fans start dreaming big dreams. Rightfully so.
Having followed recruiting long enough, I know well enough that the ideal class never comes to fruition. Players who "love" LSU in April, rarely still do the next January. A lot of is purely posturing. If you are a recruit, LSU is a great school to rattle off as a team interested in you. It qualifies you amongst the elite. LSU is to college football recruits as Apple is to college students.
Enter D.J. Chark (pronounced "shark"). A name which hardly surfaced until recently. Chark is a WR/DB from Alexandria that made his way to campus a week ago for camp. He so impressed Les Miles he earned an offer. Many anticipated it wasn't the committable kind, rather one of those, "we like, but we like a few guys more" type of deals.
Chark wasn't a name on the radar at the dawn of the 2014 class. Hell, he wasn't a name on the radar even three or four weeks ago. But he seemed to be picking up some steam, earning offers from Oklahoma State and then Texas A&M. Miles and co. obviously felt Chark was one they simply couldn't let get away.
As a follower of recruiting, the take is a bit... puzzling. I don't mean that to demean Chark in anyway. I'm sure dozens will crawl out and say, "yeah, well nobody heard of that Mo Claiborne guy either!" That's all well and good, but for every Mo Claiborne there's a Drayton Calhoun. In fact, there's usually more like hundred Drayton Calhoun's for every Mo Claiborne. Good recruits slip through the cracks, sure. The simple math of it makes it impossible that every future stud will be accounted for, but for the most part the recruiting services and the coaching staffs do an excellent job of canvassing and finding talent (especially in their home states). Anyhow, that was an unnecessary aside, but the larger point here is that it's odd that the staff would offer and take a commitment of a previous unknown (doesn't mean he was an unknown to them) when there are still multiple highly ranked WRs on the board.
Perhaps the staff views Chark as a DB? Size wise he's probably closer to Odell Beckham Jr. than others. He doesn't look to be very thickly built (like Jarvis Landry) but he's certainly adequate. His measureables are solid, not exceptional. He lists his forty at 4.45, which is good. And as far as the tape goes, nothing REALLY stands out. He does seem to have pretty good acceleration in and out of cuts, or at least good start/stop ability, which may project to potential as a good route runner. Add all that up and you are probably looking at a slot receiver type in our offense.
I can't blame the kid for wanting to come to LSU, but his particular skill set seems a better fit for quick-fire offenses like the ones at OSU and A&M. Get the ball to him in space and let him work. That said, perhaps Cameron is looking to implement more of that into the game plan?
Talents come in all shapes and sizes, and I don't mean to insinuate that D.J. is no good. I'm just still at a bit of a loss on the take here, especially with the number of spots slowly diminishing. What did Miles and co. see at camp that so blew them away with Chark? I've always been a big proponent of the need to recruit role players who know they are role players. Bring in 25 superstars and you'll likely have a lot of disenfranchised, entitled 18-year-olds. You need superstars balanced with workman-like, "just happy to be here," types. Perhaps the staff sees Chark as a quality student, kid and athlete that will come in and do everything they ask, stay out of trouble and set an example. If that's ALL he becomes, hell, it's a scholarship well used.