LOVE: After Further Review
Barring unforeseen, current class lacks flair of ‘09
Dutchtown S Eric Reid, at left, pledged to LSU early and has been a great addition to the Class of 2010. (Photo courtesy of Lee Brecheen and Louisiana Football Magazine.)
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Acting Editor
Last season, virtually all the cards fell right for LSU come Signing Day.
On top of a class which already claimed do-everything quarterback Russell Shepard and stud safety Craig Loston, the Tigers also had fourth street and the river fall perfectly to land a trio of stars in WR Rueben Randle, LB Barkevious Mingo and DE Sam Montgomery.
Each of these players chose LSU on that special first Wednesday in February, and their 11th-hour decisions helped catapult the Tigers’ class to the top of the nation. Also important, two of those phenomenal catches were in-state players and helped solidify a 2009 class which featured an impressive 12 Louisiana recruits.
The Bayou Bengals had entered Signing Day ‘09 coming off an impressive run of luck to boot.
Sulphur linebacker Tahj Jones committed a mere two days prior on Monday while Red River defensive end Bennie Logan had given his verbal commitment in late-January. Loston, of course, had already rung in the New Year with style when he tipped the Tigers as his choice on Jan. 2. All this made for a hectic first 35 days of the year.
There was negative drama, too, namely in the form of the whole Randle-DeAngelo Benton fiasco. Somewhere in between D.J. McCarthy convincing Benton to stay and Benton announcing he was bolting for Auburn, here’s what we know happened: Randle’s father went over radio airwaves and issued his now famous ‘ultimatum,’ and Miles & Co. were in an almost impossible situation and eventually chose the better player.
So it wasn’t an ideal curtain-closer for the Class of ‘09, but when you bring in the haul of five-star recruits and big-time talents LSU did, you take the good with the bad. You allow the flair for the dramatic if it means you get the guys you want on campus.
That’s what makes this current recruiting class feel so incredibly different by comparison.
First, there’s very little drama hanging in the air. Realistically, there are only two players who could possibly flip-flop who currently reside on LSU’s radar: Huntington (Shreveport) wide receiver Jarrett Fobbs and Thibodaux athlete Trovon Reed.
Of the two, Fobbs is the one attracting the most rumor bugs, but who knows how substantial those are. He’s currently a soft vebal commit to Texas A&M, according to Rivals.com, but Fobbs did have a recent visit to campus on Jan. 22. We’ll soon know if the trip did enough to sway him.
Reed, the state’s No. 1 prospect in many circles, seems to have fallen for Trooper Taylor and Auburn. His soft verbal appears to be a little harder than Fobbs, and the likelihood of LSU getting Reed to run the Signing Day reverse looks slim.
There are others ‘on the board’ like defensive end J.R. Ferguson from Virginia and wide-out Markeith Ambles from Georgia, but neither has shown the interest that eventual commits Mingo and Montgomery did at this time last year.
The lack of drama sets this class apart from its predecessor, but, unfortunately, so does the overall talent level.
Athlete Spencer Ware of the Cincinnati area is LSU’s only five-star commit in this class. Apart from him, it’s a very blue-collar group assembled for the men of ‘10. There’s a noticeable absence of any dominant offensive and defensive linemen, and the real ‘need’ skill positions haven’t been aptly filled.
This is due in large part to the state of Louisiana’s high school talent being down this season. Make no bones about it, there just weren’t any Randles or Mingos floating around out there to be plucked.
And when Miles looked out-of-state, the interest from elite players wasn’t there. Lache Seastrunk gave LSU the stiff-arm, instead opting for Oregon. Even when LSU bagged talents like Mike Davis from Dallas and Justin Hunter from Virginia, the two ultimately withdrew their names and selected another cap. Davis chose his home-state Longhorns, who finally offered, and Hunter liked the new Derek Dooley kool-aid in Knoxville.
So, barring more early-February craziness, don’t expect the dealer to flop down aces. You can’t win every hand.
Ben Love is the acting editor of Tiger Rag. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.