FanPost

Who's to Blame for LSU's Roster Collapse?

I’ve been both disappointed and frustrated watching the LSU program over the last few months. I wanted to know why; who caused this?

Watching the bowl game was unreal. That roster wasn’t capable of competing in the SEC. Darren Evans and Pig Cage played their hearts out, but let’s not fool ourselves either, they’re not All-SEC caliber. Looking at the players we’ve added from the portal, and returning players, and this is still not a top 5 talent team in college football. And not top 10. Maybe top 25, but maybe not too. How did this happen? What happened?

What Happened?

The lazy narrative is that it’s Ed Orgeron’s fault, or it’s on "the last regime". Smart journalists like Brody Miller* espouse this view. Some go so far as to say that Orgeron burned the program down as he left. But how could this be—wasn’t he a great recruiter, racking up top 5 classes year after year?

*I generally like Brody’s work as an inside beat reporter, but honestly this is a lazy take, and he’s getting paid to think about this, so I’m OK calling him out.

To dig into this, I looked at the roster at the beginning of the season. Some holes existed where LSU lacked elite players, such as at QB and OL, issues that would challenge the team, but generally LSU was a stocked program. It had the fifth highest rated roster, from a "Blue-Chip Ratio" perspective. That’s not the perfect metric to rate a roster, but that’s definitely not the roster we saw at the end of the season, or even today. So what happened mid-season?

We called for the Coach’s head, and we got it.

Since then, we’ve lost 13 blue chip players from the roster from transferring or declaring for the draft, and signed 6 out of high school; we also lost 9 blue chip recruits to decommitment, and the portal replaced them with 3 (all stars from 247). That’s a total net loss of 13 blue chip players—for perspective, Michigan, who signed the #8 class in 2021, only signed 11 blue chip players total.

Transfer Out

HS Stars

Eli Ricks

5

Trey Palmer

4

Deion Smith

4

Koy Moore

4

Max Johnson

4

Eric Taylor

4

Dwight McGlothern

4

Devonta Lee

4

Bugg Strong

3

Alex Adams

3

NFL

HS Stars

Derek Stingley

5

Chasen Hines

4

Damone Clark

4

Ed Ingram

4

Tyrion Davis-Price

4

Neil Farrell

3

Cordale Flott

3

Cade York

3

Jontre Kirklin

3

Cam Lewis

3

Avery Atkins

NA

Commits

HS Stars

Will Campbell

5

Walker Howard

4

Quency Wiggins

4

Laterrance Welch

4

Emery Jones

4

DeMario Tolan

4

Mason Taylor

3

Jordan Allen

3

Tygee Hill

3

Landon Ibieta

3

Bo Bordelon

3

Fitzgerald West

3

Nathan Dibert

3

Decommits

HS Stars

Jacoby Mathews

4

Bryce Anderson

4

Jake Johnson

4

Aaron Anderson

4

TreVonte Citizen

4

Khamauri Rogers

4

Bryan Allen

4

Marcus Scott

4

Lucas Taylor

4

Decoldest Crawford

3

Shone Washington

3

AJ Johnson

3

Transfers In

HS Stars

Transfer Re-Rating

Noah Cain

4

3

Greg Brooks

4

4

Kyren Lacy

3

3

Joe Foucha

3

3

West Weeks

3

3

Jay Bramblett

3

3

Miles Frazier

2

4

Slade Roy

NA

2

Mekhi Wingo

3

4

Tre'mond Shorts

NA

3

Mekhi Williams-Garner

NA

3

Who’s fault is this? Is it Ed’s, or Brian’s? It’s pretty easy to argue neither—in fairness to Ed Orgeron, he helped LSU keep the blue chip kids that did sign in this class, even after his firing, which was a huge coup. And Brian signed far too late to make a big difference for Early Signing Day, and Woodward had to give him the license to push out kids that weren’t culture fits for the new culture he wants. Was it Woodward’s fault then? Probably not; he likely got the best candidate he could, as it seems Riley wasn’t in the cards to begin with. If any blame can be laid at his feet, it’s for firing Ed Orgeron mid-season, which allowed for the recruiting class to fall apart. But who gave him the ability to do that?

We did. When we asked a great head coach replacement for Ed, and demanded that he be fired mid-season, we asked for this team and program to be completely reset. There was a huge cost and risk to that, and the cost is roughly an entire recruiting class of elite talent. The risk is that we can’t build back to a top 5 roster.

For this next season, we have to be patient. We have to realize that we can’t out-athlete other teams, and we don’t know if we have the staff to out-scheme them either. We hired a program builder, and it’s going to take him years to shape the team the way that he wants it shaped. In a loaded SEC West, that means losses. A record of 8-4 for LSU next year would be spectacular. 6-6 would still be a job well done. There’s a real chance we lose at Auburn, vs Tennessee, at Florida, vs Ole Miss, and vs Alabama—in consecutive weeks. Keeping the team together with that type of streak would be difficult, and Brian Kelly should get credit if the team suffers that and yet rallies to beat Arkansas the next week.

I won’t be happy about those types of losses. I’m not happy with the state of the roster as-is. But Orgeron wasn’t hiring the right coordinators, or was managing them poorly, and it was leading to losses anyway. We needed a change. And this is the cost of that change, and a full reset—a true rebuilding year, and hopefully only one. So be patient, and cross your fingers.