The machinations of the coaching industry are not all that unlike any other industry in that it's often who you know which is more important than what you know. The one caveat to that being that hires are often connected to the assets to which they are connected. Involved with coaching and related to a high profile recruit? Well, we might just be able to find a job for you.
Admittedly, that's as cynical of an opinion as it gets, but it's nearer to reality than we often realize. Yesterday, LSU made a shrewd move hiring away Arizona Graduate Assistant Sean Patterson. Patterson will come to LSU and serve as a G.A. of Quality Control, a pretty standard entry-level position into the coaching world. Realistically, this is an upward move for Patterson, as LSU can, in all likelihood, pay him more, for a similar job. It's also worth noting that being an LSU G.A. can be exceptionally beneficial for future career decisions.
There are dues to be paid in coaching, just as in any other position, and being a graduate assistant is a rite of passage before escalating into higher profile positions. It's a big reason I always argued against Kevin Mawae getting the offensive line vacancy this Spring. No matter what his experience as a collegiate and NFL athlete, as well as the head of the NFLPA, very, very few former athletes just show up and are handed positional coaching positions. Instead they are forced to climb through the ranks as "Graduate Assistants," an often thankless job that really results in running errands, cutting up film (literally), making sure players are minding their p's and q's and all sorts of no fun administrative stuff that the hot shot assistants would rather not waste their time doing. It's a key role. The result? A paltry pay check and an opportunity to sit in on meetings and, if you are lucky, assist with on-field coaching.
Sean Patterson just joined Arizona's staff this spring. His younger brother, a stud quarterback in the 2016 signing class committed to Arizona in December of 2012. Sean graduated from Duquesne in 2012, so his coaching career is just beginning. The fact that his brother's commitment preceded his hiring is perhaps outside the typical order of operations, but undoubtedly a strategic decision by Rich Rodriguez. Shea Patterson hails from Shreveport and Tuscon is a long ways away. Hiring his older brother gives a sense of comfort. It's a shrewd decision, but one that didn't ultimately pay off.
Sean Patterson will now join the LSU staff. Will Shea Patterson follow? The Crystal Ball projects him to commit to LSU at an 86 percent chance, even prior to any of this news. The coaching staff extended an offer just four days ago, the latest in a slew of offers from Baylor, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Patterson is a composite 5-star QB with a .9846 rating. This is a national QB prospect that will be one of the 50 best players in the country his senior season.
LSU made a shrewd move hiring his brother. Anything that ups their odds at getting Shea to flip is a smart decision. Perhaps Shea opts to honor his 1.5 year commitment to Arizona, but I'd put good money on the home state team eventually earning his commitment.
Regardless, these type of savvy hires will continue to keep LSU at the forefront of national recruiting. Sometimes having a big wallet helps.