By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Ed Orgeron has a hole to fill on his staff with the early signing period just a week away.
LSU general manager Austin Thomas is leaving the program to take a job at Tennessee under first-year coach Jeremy Pruitt, a source confirmed to Tiger Rag Wednesday. The news was first reported by 247Sports.
Thomas is a key cog in LSU’s recruiting process and was the first coach in the Southeastern Conference to receive the title of general manager. He spent five years in Baton Rouge under Les Miles and now Orgeron. He’s expected to take on a similar role under Pruitt in Knoxville.
A Tennessee native, Thomas’ career started with the Volunteers as a recruiting intern. He also served as a defensive assistant under Monte Kiffin from 2009-10.
While organization is considered Thomas’ strength—he plays a pivotal role in coordinating LSU’s recruiting efforts—he’s also a skilled recruiter in his own right. He helped LSU land blue chippers JaCoby Stevens and Jacob Phillips out of Tennessee in the 2017 cycle. He also had input in football operations and worked alongside the staff.
Orgeron said Tuesday that LSU will have at least 12 official visitors on campus this weekend before the early signing period begins on Dec. 20. LSU’s 2018 class currently stands at 20 commitments.
It remains to be seen just how much Thomas’ departure could impact LSU’s recruiting efforts — and how Orgeron will go about replacing him — but it’s LSU’s current 2018 class is expected to remain in tact.