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Dr. Orgeron: How I Learned to Quit Worrying about LSU Recruiting and Love the Game

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So what IS the deal with LSU’s recruiting class?

You may have heard that LSU just lost its 3rd commitment in 19 days. And this time, it was a big one, in DE/OLB Adam Anderson, a stud rusher in the mold of Arden Key. Anderson’s de-commitment doesn’t come as a major surprise but stings nonetheless. So what exactly is going on with LSU’s recruiting? Why so many three-stars? I thought Coach O was an elite recruiter? Let’s try and tackle some of these questions.

What’s Going On?

It’s July. That’s what’s going on. Even the newly minted early signing period is half a year off. It’s far too early to start hitting the panic button on this recruiting class, especially when the group is still ranked fifth nationally and second in the SEC. Hell, Alabama isn’t even in the top 50 right now. You think that’s going to hold? It’s way, way too early to be making any definitive conclusions about basically every signing class.

Why So Many 3 Stars?

I’m as much of a believer in the blue chip ratio as Bud Elliott, and the zero five-star/eight four-star/12 three-star count of this class doesn’t look great right now.

Here’s where having some faith in Orgeron comes into play. As much as credit as he’s given for getting on the trail and winning hearts and minds, Orgeron himself would tell you recruiting is best won early. That means having evaluations early, offering quickly, and trusting your staff. I’m not a big fan of calling every lower ranked recruit a sleeper, but it’s almost a certainty that a handful of these players aren’t properly rated at this point. I don’t believe that this class will close with only a single top 100 player. Miles generally seemed to stay pretty in line with recruiting rankings, while taking a gamble on a handful of players with evaluations that disagreed with those rankings each year. Orgeron seems more inclined to trust his and his staff’s evaluations more right now.

Let’s not forget we are employing two coordinators known less for recruiting chops and more for getting the maximum amount of production out of the talent on hand. Scheme fit could very well be at play here. Plus, the Louisiana class here simply doesn’t have as many top kids as we’re used to.

Additionally, keep in mind five-stars Patrick Surtain Jr. and Terrace Marshall remain two of LSU’s biggest targets, and most expect both to wind up in this class. Those are just two of the major targets left on LSU’s board with probably close to 10 spots to fill, assuming a couple more decommitments may come down the pipeline.

The staff will also keep chasing both of the quarterbacks Justin, Fields and Rogers. Showing some progress in the passing game could really come into play in their recruitments. They remain in the mix for James Cook and Harold Joiner at running back. This staff isn’t going to dawdle and play games. When AJ Carter flips back to UCLA, they’re going to continue to recruit him, but they aren’t going to beg and hold his spot. On to the next one, as Jay-Z would say. I do think LSU is up against their past offensive struggles right now on the trail, fairly or not. If they can get a 1,000-yard season out of Chark and have a QB put up even modest numbers, it would really ease the burden of that critique.

Expect there to be more ruthless tactics than we saw in the Miles era. For example, a player like Jaquon Griffin is someone you like fine, but if he doesn’t come with Adam Anderson attached, how long do they keep that offer extended? Down the stretch, do you still hang on to three-star players if you have strong interest from top 100 out of state players previously on the fence? Miles’ approach was to slow-play questionable in-state guys and then put on the full court press. O seems to be going the opposite by offering and accepting early, potentially leaving the door open for some painful breakups.

I thought Coach O was an Elite Recruiter?

You thought right. Carry on, now.