The allure of playing for LSU may have been enough to warrant serious contemplation and stretch negotiations to one day before the deadline, but eventually big money talks.
Millions of dollars can be awfully hard to turn away from.
Prized LSU signee Brice Turang signed with the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night, the player announced on Twitter. The shortstop was the No. 21 overall selection in last month’s MLB Draft and signed for $3.4 million, according to a source, which is above slot value for where he was picked.
— brice turang (@BriceCturang) July 6, 2018
Getting Turang to campus was always considered something as a pipe dream for the LSU staff. Many projected Turang as a possible first overall selection at this time last year, and the potential for him playing college ball only became realistic once a relatively pedestrian senior season caused scouts to downgrade the California native on their draft boards.
The deadline for MLB draft picks to sign professionally is Friday, July 6 at 5 p.m. ET. No other players with LSU ties are expected to sign between now and then, meaning Turang, outfielder Elijah Cabell, who LSU released from a National Letter of Intent, and pitcher Levi Kelly are the only signees lost to the professional ranks.
Even without Turang, staffers are bullish about a recruiting class that LSU coach Paul Mainieri said could finish as the best in the country.
“A lot of things worked in our favor this year, so our class is going to be intact,” Mainieri told reporters in June. “Personally, I think it’s the No. 1 class in the country. I don’t know if it’s going to be rated that way, but I wouldn’t trade our class for anybody. And if Brice Turang ends up coming to school, it’ll be a class for the ages.”
Now that Turang is no longer in play, LSU’s priority must shift to ensuring that Josh Smith is fully recovered from the back injury that cost him nearly all of his sophomore season. As of mid June, Smith was hitting and working out without any pain in his back, although he was scheduled to undergo further testing.
“He still remains the most critical factor for our season next year,” Mainieri said in June.
If healthy, Smith can step back in as LSU’s starting shortstop. If not, Hal Hughes represents an experienced, defensive-minded option after starting in Smith’s stead as a true freshman. Incoming freshmen Drew Bianco and Gavin Dugas could also find their way into the mix.