The LSU Football program just wrapped up an unusually busy offseason weekend, yesterday. Back in the old days, the period right after national signing day previously was a “dead spot” on the football calendar.
This year, the football team is buzzing with activity. The recruitment of the Class of 2016 is still ongoing; with Sci Martin yet to make his final choice between LSU, Bama and TCU.
2017 and 2018 recruiting is going full speed ahead. Many LSU fans panicked recently when 2017 top player Dylan Moses released a Top 5 list without LSU on it. LSU coaches are still working with him though, and recent reports suggest he is impressed enough with new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda that he has been “recruiting for LSU” since his arrival at IMG Academy in Florida.
Class of 2018 targets Kelvin Joseph and Corione Harris also gave verbal commitments at the event. They may be joined in the near future by others who were offered Saturday.
The heavy press for offseason recruiting reflects one culture shift at LSU. Recruiting has been a year round job for a long time but we are seeing coaches more focused on early commitments.
Ole Hotty Toddy
The other shift is in the coaching staff. LSU hired two new coaches on the offensive side of the ball over the weekend.
Frank Wilson’s old job as running backs coach is now held by former former Edna Karr Head Coach Jabbar Juluke. Juluke was the running backs coach at Louisiana Tech and briefly acepted the same role at Texas Tech before flipping to LSU.
That quick shift may bother a few Texans but LSU is a major career promotion for Juluke and hiring him a major gain for the Tigers as well.
Juluke coached for many years in New Orleans as both head coach and assistant and has Frank Wilson level contacts on the playgrounds and high school campuses of the city. He is very well known and well liked in New Orleans and his hire fills a major hole in LSU’s recruiting arsenal.
The other coaching change was a bit of a surprise. WR Coach Tony Ball left the program and was replaced by former Auburn Co-Offensive Coordinator and one time starting QB Dameyune Craig. The speed at which this happened suggests that Les Miles found out Craig was available and decided to jump fast.
Oct 4, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver D’haquille Williams (1) hugs co-offensive coordinator Dameyune Craig after the game against the LSU Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium. Auburn won 41-7. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
This was surprising on a couple of levels. WR Coach Tony Ball was a very respected coach who worked under Mark Richt for nine years before coming to Baton Rouge. Dameyune Craig is an all-time Auburn great who left his alma mater for a conference rival.
Coach Ball was respected as a teacher but was pretty middle of the road as far as recruiting goes. Dameyune Craig is an elite recruiter with multiple 4 and 5 Star signings on his resume, most notably Heisman Winner and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2015 NFL Draft #1 overall draft pick Jameis Winston, and LSU target D’haquille Wiliams.
The new motto for LSU coaches is simple: recruit or die.
For the first time every single coach on the staff has a track record of recruitng elite athletes who went on to play in the NFL.
Looking up and down the coaching roster shows the true depth of recruiting talent. Legendary recruiters like Ed Orgeron and Corey “DBU” Raymond need no introduction on this front.
LSU fans know that in spite of the sniping at Coach Peveto for the special teams struggles, his value as a recruiter makes him indispensable — particularly in the great state of Texas.
Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes is one of the top recruiters in the country and his class for LSU last year has already produced at least one starter.
TE Coach Steve Ensminger doesn’t get the press coaches like Ed Orgeron and Corey Raymond do, but current Tigers he recruited include Tre White, Maea Teuhama, and Jamal Adams.
By adding to that list a legendary recruiter like Dameyune Craig and light-resume’d but well-regarded Jab Juluke, and the picture is clear.
Every single LSU position coach is a nationally recognized recruiter.
All except Juluke have already recruited coveted 5 Star athletes and have seen past recruits move on to successful NFL careers. Juluke is so well regarded in New Orleans coaching circles he is widely expected to duplicate Frank Wilson’s success there.
This is a situation nearly without parallel. It brings to mind the legendary recruiting staffs Butch Davis put together with the Miami Hurricanes, and Pete Carroll had during his tenure with the USC Trojans.
This is a situation also currently duplicated in Alabama where in spite of recent turnover, Nick Saban has managed to ensure every coach on his staff has that same pedigree of signing 5-Star recruits and turning them into NFL players.
While most pundits are focused on an SEC arms race where LSU is racing to get arms at the QB position, Les Miles has quietly ensured that his team is set up to stay even with Alabama in the talent acquisition field………