So while we're all putting on our amateur talent know-it-all hats, let's remember some recruiting successes. Name your signing day mancrushes. It's easy to fall in love with a YouTube highlight video, but look back at some of the superstars that returned that love and met their hype. Favorites?
Well the easy and obvious answer is Patrick Peterson. The no. 1 CB in the Nation, the no. 1 player in Florida and the no. 5 overall player nationally, he was billed a superstar and delivered instantly.
I was a big Sam Montgomery fan, as well. Thought he could be the type of player that made a huge impact and he did. Jarvis Landry was another five-star guy that I think we all just knew would be a stud.
Going back to that '04 class, Wroten, Dorsey and Doucet were three guys I thought would make a huge impact. Early may never have lived up to the No. 3 overall player in the nation, but he was a damn good player.
Montgomery was an awesome signing day surprise, and you couldn't help but look at his highlights and get really, really excited. He had all the speed and quickness you look for in a defensive end and he was a real hustle guy too.
Jarvis Landry, in recent years was the same way. He was about as much of a force of nature as any high school receiver I've ever seen play. Usually great receivers in high school are multi-purpose dynamos on returns, running the ball, etc...Especially in the age of the spread offense. Landry would just catch 8-10 passes for 150 yards and a couple of scores every week. It was insane.
Another under-the-radar guy that had a fantastic tape -- J.C. Copeland as a defensive tackle. I don't know that I ever guessed he'd be a fullback, but as a 5-10 nose tackle the guy would sack quarterbacks before they could even pull out from center.
Jarvis Landry is an obvious selection for a more current player. I think he had close to 30 minutes of highlights of his sophomore and junior years combined. Like in college, you kept seeing him do things that would make you go "Okay, he won't top that play right there," yet he continued to do that.
For two old school names, I will go with JaMarcus Russell and Alley Broussard. Just watching Russell take that football and flick it around like it weighed nothing was always fun.
I know that Broussard only really played one season, but he was so enjoyable to watch run the ball. That knee injury in the LSU scrimmage before his junior season spelled the end for him, but I think if he never has that knee injury, we are still mentioning his name with him being on an NFL team.
Finally, I'll put LaRon Landry, but I will also say that I felt he was going to be a good cover safety. He wasn't the real-life version of Hulk until he got to LSU, so you just saw the athletic part of Landry's game and the occasional solid hit. Come to find out, he would end at LSU as the hardest hitter in school history.
Wrong to say Patrick Peterson? Haha. Of course him. He's always been the most legit. And at every level.
I'll go someone recently. Tre'davious White. What impressed me a lot was, the guy could cover. Was very athletic of course, but he could lock guys down. You don't often see highly touted corners in actual coverage situations. You see them flying across the field to make INT's, or coming up and making tackles. But Tre White showed that he could cover and obviously was very athletic. I had a feeling he was going to break out at some point. As soon as he did? Maybe not. But I was always impressed.
Jarvis Landry obviously as well. As mentioned, what impressed me most about Landry was, he wasn't an ATH playing receiver and using insane speed. He was a receiver by playing receiver. He caught nearly everything. He ran really good routes, he found ways to find pockets of space from a DB to make a catch. And he did it all the time. It's easy to be fooled by athletes playing WR. But Juice was a WR playing WR, and even when he had a case of the yips catching a ball, almost always made an impact.
One of the things that I'll never forget from my limited recruiting coverage. Then-Hahnville Head Coach Lou Valdin telling me that Landry, with a little weight on him (he was like 185 pounds coming out of high school) would scare the hell out of people. Talked about putting him on kickoff team just to intimidate the other team early on.
Another guy from that class who was just ridiculous was Kirston Pittman. He was 6-4, 235 and East St. John would play him at SAFETY on the goal line. They also used him at tight end some on offense. They had a scary run of guys like him, Vegas Franklin and Derron Thomas that went to Miami, and another receiver that wound up at Colorado whose name escapes me. All with a young quarterback named Ryan Perriloux that wasn't a huge deal yet. But everybody knew he'd be.
Craig Steltz was fun to watch too. Once saw him carry the ball 10-12 times on offense for Archbishop Rummel, and I don't think the other team tackled him once. He went out of bounds a few times, scored a touchdown or two, but he was never tackled.
Patrick Peterson is the obvious answer. I've never seen a guy so dedicated to becoming an NFL player as a high schooler as he was. Lots of guys dream of playing in the League, but he comported himself like a pro even when he was 16. He had unbelievable maturity to go with his tremendous skills.
As the resident cranky old man, I will again reach into the past. the single most important recruit in the history of LSU football is Kevin Faulk. He was the first guy to truly stem the tide of blue chip talent leaving the state. He could have gone anywhere in the country and back in the day before we knew everything about every recruit, Kevin Faulk was a star even before he set foot on campus. He made anything seem possible, and while we didn't quite realize it when he was here, despite him being one of the best running backs in SEC history, he laid the groundwork for the LSU football renaissance. My mancrush on him continues to this day. He is the one guy who is impossible to overrate.
Though to get even more recent, Leonard Fournette has the single best highlight film I have ever seen. No pressure, Buga Nation. But I'm just saying.
Hipster recruiting: name your "that guy should be a bigger star" recruit that panned out?
Bennie Logan was a 3-star and a late offer that played DE in a small town and absolutely dominated. His tape was awesome. I remember after Rivals came out with their final rankings one of their evaluators said if they had gotten his tape sooner he'd have been a top-100 player. Clearly, they were right, as Logan had a great career at LSU and is now starting in the NFL.
Perry Riley and Kelvin Sheppard were two lower ranked Georgia kids that had really good tape as well. Georgia passed on them both and that caused many people to question them, I think. I was pretty certain both of them would wind up being starters for us. Both are now starters in the NFL.
Brandon LaFell is another guy who got a late offer, but his tape was fantastic.
I know it's not one from a previous class, or a guy who did pan out. But I'll go for someone who I think is underrated NOW and WILL pan out higher than his ranking. Trey Quinn. How he didn't get a fifth star is ridiculous from me. The guy has the capability to be an immediate contributor. He's very fast, can run an assortment of different routes, isn't just your "next Wes Welker" like I'm sure he'll be compared too or hyped as. He broke Dorial Green-Beckham's high school yards record. You don't do that unless you're really good. He's being extremely underrated IMO.
I like to think of Quinn as the Recruiting Coal Mine Canary. When a scout/analyst makes the Welker comparison, I immediately know he's full of shit.
One guy that I remember thinking "wait...why aren't we talking about him" was Michael Brockers, who was completely overshadowed by Sam Montgomery & Barkevious Mingo in the star-studded 2009 class. His tape was of this massive hulk of a guy that seemed out-of-place at defensive end and living in opponents backfields. And yeah, he didn't have the ridiculous speed of a Mingo or a Montgomery, but he was just so damn big