- David Helman, Reporter, RecruitingNation
The recruiting process is beginning earlier and earlier. That shouldn't be a surprise at this point. If it is, just consult any of LSU's three commitments for the class of 2014 -- all of whom pledged to the Tigers within the last month. Better yet, read up on Dylan Moses (Baton Rouge, La./LSU Laboratory), the eighth grader who holds a scholarship offer from LSU.
And yet, as quickly as schools are filling recruiting classes these days, that doesn't account for the pace at which the Tigers are filling this 2013 class. On the last day of July, LSU has secured 21 commitments for 2013 -- just a mere six months before national signing day in February. After a relatively slow start to the year, LSU has accrued a dozen pledges since May. And with summer recruiting camps serving as an impetus for early commitments, the Tigers have added four names to their class in both June and July this year. If you include the early birds for 2014, LSU has picked up seven commitments in the last 31 days.
This kind of production certainly isn't unheard of. Up in Big Ten country, Michigan has secured commitments from 23 of its 25 possible additions for 2013. But it's certainly a new situation for LSU during Les Miles' tenure. Commitment announcements are still expected from LSU targets like Greg Gilmore (Hope Mills, N.C./South View) before the season starts, so the Tigers could have as few as two or three spots remaining by September.
By comparison, LSU has never held more than 18 commitments at the end of a summer during Miles' tenure in Baton Rouge -- that honor goes to the class of 2010. Other than these two aberrations, the Tigers have hovered around 15 or so commitments at this point in a recruiting cycle. In 2006, Miles' first full recruiting class, the Tigers had just nine commitments at the end of August. The heralded 2009 class -- arguably Miles' most star-studded group -- had 13 at this point.
So we're clearly not used to this level of finality with an LSU recruiting class. Depending on the level of attrition with this group, we could be looking at a national signing day with absolutely zero drama for the Tigers. Fortunately for the adrenaline junkies out there, recruiting is nothing if not fluid. There's just about no chance that all 21 commitments wind up signing letters with LSU. Remember, Torshiro Davis was one of the Tigers' earliest commits before his 11th hour switch to Texas, and many players fail to qualify academically every year.
It seems like a safe assumption the Tigers will add another commitment or two in the near future. Gilmore is set to announce his decision on Aug. 10, and cornerback Rashard Robinson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanche Ely) is widely considered an LSU lean. That doesn't leave LSU with very many options when it comes to the few remaining big names in-state. But just like every year, things can change. Ole Miss is hot on the trail of juco commitment Quantavius Leslie (Hogansville, Ga./Hinds Community College), and there's no telling what awaits the Tigers' other out-of-state commits.
For now though, the Tigers are looking at a crowded class at the halfway point of the process. With more and more players making their decisions early, the next six months could serve as a litmus test for how much drama fans can expect toward the end of the year.
7dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough