UPDATE: Apparently, Kelvin Joseph is sticking around after all.
“He’s staying,” Kelvin Joseph Sr. said Monday (May 20). “He’s not going anywhere.”
Joseph entered his name into the portal Thursday after a meeting with LSU administrators following a trip to Florida in which he went on stage with Baton Rouge-native rapper NBA YoungBoy, his father confirmed.
Joseph made the decision without speaking to his father or Ed Orgeron, who is in California on vacation. His name didn’t officially show up in the portal until Monday, but by then the situation had been put to rest.
Recently, I documented the rapid defections and imminent diminishing value of the 2018 signing class. The piece largely focused on how while LSU’s top targets looked to be surefire hits, the middle and bottom of the class really seemed to be languishing. In that piece I noted there were five players looking poised for strong LSU careers:
The class’ five highest rated players (Marshall, Joseph, Chase, Cherry, Hines) all look poised for good LSU careers. Four of the five played significant snaps as true freshmen. Cherry took a redshirt but earned some Coach O praise for his work in the Spring. The staff expects him to contribute heavily in 2019.
News broke today that, as of last Thursday, we can likely subtract one from that number. 4-star DB and top 100 talent Kelvin Joseph officially entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. There’s rumors swirling about various indiscretions but I’m not going to dive into that here. Joseph did serve a suspension throughout bowl preparation for the ever-nebulous “violation of team rules” so it wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented for this to be tied to disciplinary reasons. We’ll discuss more on this if and when a real report surfaces.
Regardless of the reason, Joseph is the latest player we can add to the growing trash heap of the 2018 signing class. From a football perspective, this is probably one LSU can absorb without too much trouble. Joseph is a gifted player and was expected to fill in at safety long term, though he was forced into playing CB last year due to depth concerns. You never want to lose a player of that caliber. That said, Corey Raymond, Bill Busch and Dave Aranda went to work in the 2019 class and signed five or six (depending on where you project Marcel Brooks) DBs. That incoming class, plus LSU’s current crowded backfield, makes depth losses much easier to absorb here.
Spitballing here, but the late take of Jay Ward, who seemed perpetually on the fence, especially after the staff landed Raydarious Jones AND held on to Cordale Flott, now looks like an insurance plan for a staff that may have seen Joseph on shakier ground than many on the outside. Ward, similarly to Joseph, offers CB/S versatility.
LSU signed 22 players in 2018 and six of them, barring some last minute change of Joseph’s status, are no longer in the program. LSU will get insane value out of JaMarr Chase and Chasen Hines, probably also from Terrace Marshall and Jarell Cherry. Beyond that, for this class to really deliver, LSU needs some guys to hit above their expected paygrades.
Damien Lewis may already be delivering there, but that’s somewhat offset by Badara Traore looking like a bust (let’s hope he turns it on in 2019). Nelson Jenkins should have been a developmental DL prospect but now with Davin Cotton & Dominic Livingston leaving and the lack of depth there, he almost definitely needs to be a rotational contributor, at minimum. The staff needs at least one of Dare Rosenthal or Cameron Wire to emerge. The point here is that players LSU previously penciled in as developmental prospects or perhaps quality depth additions now need to deliver sooner and deliver more. It’s probably not an issue in 2019, but when this class rises to leadership levels, it’s looking like it will be extremely gutted. That could mean the 2021/2022 teams have a serious leadership void. There’s long term repercussions for a class with so many casualties.
The bright side here is that LSU pulled a very strong class in 2019 and is backing it up with potentially one of the best classes in school history in 2020. That alone should help smooth the bumps involved with the 2018 haul.