3 takeaways from LSU’s mediocre showing on National Signing Day
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Ummm … about that
National Signing Day 2018 was not what LSU was expecting. The Tigers whiffed more than they hit, missing on 5-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr., 4-star cornerback Mario Goodrich and 4-star quarterback James Foster while signing 4-star Louisiana products Kelvin Joseph and Ja’Marr Chase.
Some fans are fuming angry. Some fans are happy beyond explanation. But most are in the middle, shellshocked and trying to understand what happened. Here’s the Bayou Bengal Briefing’s best attempt to explain the day that was, three things style:
Thing 1: Ed Orgeron kept his promise to recruit Louisiana
Let’s start with the positive. LSU signed 11 of the top 20 in-state recruits in 2018, including three of the top 5 and five of the top 10 according to the 247 Sports composite rankings. Of the nine top 20 players who didn’t come to LSU, only two went to Alabama. Both were 3-star prospects. This has to be considered a win and a big precedent to set leading into a stacked Louisiana prospect year in 2019.
Thing 2: Recruits want to play for championships
Nothing hit home harder for fans on Wednesday than when Surtain said he picked Alabama because he wanted to “play for championships.” But here’s the hard truth: He’s right. Look at the three coaches Ed Orgeron lost to on Wednesday: Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher. Those are three of the last four coaches to win national titles. Coaches who have been in College Football Playoffs. Coaches who have a track record of taking their teams into the postseason. LSU doesn’t have that. And that’s a serious recruiting disadvantage.
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Thing 3: There’s no way to be a nice guy in this business
LSU never expected to miss on Surtain, and that’s fine. No one expected LSU to miss on Surtain. But the Tigers didn’t have a backup plan. They didn’t push hard for Goodrich until after Surtain alerted Orgeron he’d be going to Alabama, and that happened at 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Orgeron let morality get in the way of strategy, choosing not to tell kids he had a spot for them if he really didn’t. But that ruined LSU’s chances at a complete class. I’m not saying he should’ve lied. You have to admire Orgeron’s choice to be upfront with the kids. But admirability doesn’t give you a top 10 class.
Winners and losers? Try losers
The national media has spoken. LSU lost National Signing Day 2018. Here’s proof:
- CBS Sports lists LSU as the No. 2 loser of Signing Day
- Sports Illustrated had the Tigers atop the loser board
- ESPN had Orgeron’s crew at the top of the bottom, too
- Rivals only had the Tigers third on the loser board, so there’s that
It’s not all bad!
In the 247 Sports Signing Day roundup, recruiting analyst Steve Wiltfong ranked LSU’s class as having the best receivers of any class in the country. And that’s kind of hard to dispute.
LSU signed the No. 3 and No. 15 receivers in the country in Terrace Marshall Jr. and Chase, and also adding the No. 55 and No. 74 players in Louisiana products Kenan Jones and Jaray Jenkins. That’s a lot of firepower at receiver, so much so that Orgeron compared Marshall and Chase to Class of 2011 signees Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.
Obviously that’s high praise that’ll be hard to live up to. Beckham and Landry aren’t just two of the best wide receivers in the NFL. They’re also LSU legends who combined for 2,345 yards and 18 touchdowns in their junior seasons alone.
But Chase and Marshall won’t have to be the only receivers on the team. Check out the weapons quarterbacks Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse will have to play with in 2018:
#LSU's wide receivers next season:
6-6 Dee Anderson
6-6 Stephen Sullivan
6-4 Drake Davis
6-4 Terrace Marshall
6-3 Kenan Jones
6-3 Racey McMath
6-3 Mannie Netherly
6-2 Justin Jefferson
6-1 Ja'Marr Chase
6-1 Jaray Jenkins
6-0 Jonathan Giles
5-11 Derrick Dillon
— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) February 7, 2018
How the SEC shook out
Unsurprisingly, LSU fell in the recruiting rankings on Wednesday, dropping to No. 15. That’s LSU lowest final standing in the 247 Sports composite since 2002. But how does it rank against the rest of the SEC? Here’s your answer:
- Georgia (No. 1)
- Alabama (No. 7)
- Auburn (No. 12)
- Florida (No. 14)
- LSU (No. 15)
- Texas A&M (No. 17)
- South Carolina (No. 19)
- Tennessee (No. 20)
- Mississippi State (No. 27)
- Ole Miss (No. 31)
- Kentucky (No. 37)
- Vanderbilt (No. 41)
- Missouri (No. 42)
- Arkansas (No. 55)
Watch me talk
Is the Bayou Bengal Briefing not enough LSU analysis for you? Well, fellow SEC Country LSU reporter Alex Hickey and I hopped on Facebook Live Wednesday night for around an hour chatting with fans about what LSU’s signing class meant.
Feel free to watch the video below. And be sure to like SEC Country’s LSU page on Facebook for future Facebook Live videos.
In LSU basketball news
The LSU basketball team couldn’t outlast Florida on Wednesday, falling 73-64 in Gainesville. LSU held a lead going into halftime and led midway through the second half, but Florida closed out the game strong, dropping LSU to 4-7 in SEC play.
LSU returns to action on Saturday when the Tigers host Ole Miss. Action is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPNU.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Feb. 8 is National Kite Flying Day. Which seems like awful timing. Who wants to fly a kite in the dead of winter? Isn’t this more of a summer activity? If anything, won’t it be too windy for kiting to be a viable activity?
But that’s just me being logical. Kites are fun. If you know how to fly one, maybe fly one Thursday. And if you have a fear of kites, make like Hal and get over it.
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