BATON ROUGE, La. -- Looking at LSU's list of committed players for the 2013 recruiting class, you'll find 25 names.
If you follow recruiting, you know the SEC limits schools to 25 letters of intent per signing class.
Does that mean the Tigers are done for this year?
Not at all. There are nuances to the 25-man-limit that will likely allow LSU to bring in more than 25 new players by signing day in February. When it's all said and done, expect LSU to land closer to 29 new players.
By back-counting. If players enroll early in the spring semester of what normally would be their senior year in high school (or transfer from junior college or prep school), the college has a chance to count them in the previous year's signing class if the previous year's class had not already hit its 25-man limit. It's hardly an LSU issue. Texas A&M already has 31 committed players and will use back-counting to make room. Georgia also figures to sign more than 25.
For that to happen, there has to be room for the mid-year enrollees in two areas.
First, the previous year's signing class had to include fewer than the SEC's 25-man limit. LSU brought in 21 new players last year, so it's good there.
Second, there has to be room for them in the current year's NCAA-mandated 85-man scholarship limit. In other words, if the early enrollees push the school past 85 scholarship players for the 2012-2013 year, then they can't be on scholarship.
For it to work, LSU has to have enough seniors graduate by the end of the fall semester to free up four scholarship "counters" for the spring semester. In other words, if the Tigers graduate four players in December, it'll have the scholarships available to add four early enrollees in January.
Of course, that's just for the spring. The count will have to be at 85 by the start of the fall semester as well. Currently, LSU has 71 scholarship underclassmen due to return to school next year. That includes six or seven juniors expected to enter the NFL draft early. If the Tigers lose seven players to the NFL, it would mean LSU would have 64 players returning on scholarship, which would seem to give it room to only sign 21 players.
Room for more would likely come through routine attrition. Among the scholarship players counted above are three who were ineligible for the 2012 season because of academic issues. If none of the three return, LSU would still need to lose one current player to sign 25, or five to get to 29. There are several scholarship players who have played sparingly in their careers who would appear to be candidates to transfer for more playing time. Academic casualties could claim more players as well.
It's safe to say that LSU will have room on its roster for the 29 or so players it will have added by February.
Even with one of the early enrollees being 2012 signee Avery Johnson, who had to do a stopover at Hargrave Military Academy to meet NCAA initital eligibility requirements, LSU should have room when signing class attrition is factored in. LSU can still lose some of its current 25 committed players either to decommitments or academics, two things that seem to happen every recruiting cycle.
So, no, it's not over. There is still a chance, and room, to make a couple more recruiting splashes to LSU's current recruiting class.