Numbers crunch. For elite recruiting programs, it’s the age-old recruiting quandary. Distribution and management of the 85 is a nuanced work of art much more difficult than the simple mapping of “I need 1 QB, 9 RBs, 2 OL, 2 DL, 2 LB and 27 DBs” (stole this from Les Miles roster composition section in his program building playbook).
There’s regional considerations. In a state like Louisiana, if you don’t deposit enough good will locally, there will come a time when your check is gonna bounce. There’s political maneuvering. Maybe getting Leonard Fournette means taking a younger brother. Maybe to get the future 5-star DL that’s just a sophomore you have to take the 3-star senior LB that you know will never crack the depth chart. What about building a bridge into a new region? Programs might assume a certain amount of “recruiting debt” just to eventually capitalize on a potential future talent flow.
That’s a long pre-amble to announce that composite 4-star Courtland Ford de-committed today.
At first blush, it would appear to be bad news, but this is a true mutual parting of ways. Ford has battled multiple injuries and recently struggled in an LSU camp setting. There are very real concerns that he could ever return to level of talent that originally earned an LSU offer.
The downside here is that LSU lost an OL recruit, even if it’s willingly. This remains one of the top priorities for the 2019 signing class.
Fortunately, there’s options. LSU remains in play for 5-star Paris Johnson, 4-star Marcus Dumervil, 4-star Ty’Kieast Crawford, and 4-star Sedrick Van Pran amongst others. James Cregg is combing the country looking for top talents and it’s time for him to earn his keep. LSU OL performance will continue to be a focal point for fans, as the recruitment and development there falls behind most everything else except QB in Baton Rouge.
For now, LSU gets a spot back in what looks to be a loaded class. There’s an unannounced verbal still pending, leaving LSU with seven spots left to fill in 2019, for now. It’s likely there may be more mutual attrition in the near future. There’s no doubt that most of those final spots will go to the big uglies that remain on the board for O and company.
Can the staff close on those top targets? That remains the big question.