One of the state's top recruits in 2017, St. James QB Lowell Narcisse made his decision early today, committing to Gus Malzahn and Auburn. As of this morning, most felt he would pull the trigger on Auburn, though the news is a mild surprise as he has largely been considered a heavy LSU lean through most of the early recruiting process. To be clear, this is a long ways from over and Narcisse won't sign with Auburn for another year and a half, at least, and then only if he's eligible to enroll early.
That said, this is a pretty astonishing failure by a recruiting staff we've spent the offseason billing as a "recruiting dream team." Narcisse is one of the top 100 players in the nation for 2017 and the best QB in the state of Louisiana. It's impossible to think LSU's struggles at the QB position didn't play into this decision. At the very least, there's no doubt Malzahn was able to point at this track record of guaranteed production against the routine failures in Baton Rouge.
Narcisse's decision makes a ton of sense for his future. He has a strong throwing arm, but is perhaps an even more talented runner, something Malzahn has shown he can feature in spades within the confines of his offense. He's a great scheme fit at Auburn. Perhaps Franks burgeoning talents give him pause for concern? Most disappointing is that Narcisse is fresh off a pair of visits, first to Baton Rouge and then to the Plains and opted to go away from home and play for the evil Tigers.
Let's be clear, this isn't a case of the staff not wanting a player or slow playing him. He's been to campus many times in the past year, not to mention fielding visits from Cam Cameron and Frank Wilson. Hell, LSU even offered Narcisse before Auburn. So the staff didn't get "out worked" they simply got beat here. For now. I don't think for one second they'll bow out of this battle without a fight. Regroup and keep working at it.
But where do they turn now? Well the staff has extended to offers to three other QBs:
Stanford Samuels, Hollywood, FL - A guy that may project better at corner at the next level and is considered a heavy FSU lean.
Shawn Robinson, Denton, TX - 5-star stud who is committed to TCU.
Keytaon Thompson, New Orleans, LA - Top 250 player with a long, wiry frame that you'd think immediately moves to the top of the board.
The guy to most watch here is Thompson, obviously, but I suspect the staff will come through with more offers. Remember, this isn't for this year's signing class, so there's still another year for the staff to evaluate and comb through options. A late blooming QB prospect wouldn't be totally unforeseen.
For now, it's a tough pill to swallow. LSU's had a lot of recent success landing top QB prospects, first with Brandon Harris, then Feleipe Franks and Zadock Dinkelmann, but any time one of the state's top players opts to play for a division rivals it's not good news. It's not over yet, but the dream recruiting team needs to win battles like these to not be all hype and no game.