Monday, December 3, 2012
Georgia Dome is big for LSU recruiting
By David Helman
Statement of the obvious: When LSU and Clemson kick off in the Chick-fil-A Bowl at the end of this month, a lot of people will be watching.
Statement of import, straight from LSU coach Les Miles: Among the millions of fans tuning in to watch the showdown between the two sets of Tigers, plenty are potential recruits.
"We recognize it's a little easier to get into a [prospect's] home during bowl season when you're prominent in display," Miles said during Monday's Chick-fil-A Bowl conference call. "TV exposure certainly is big for both teams."
This is the same line often used about exposure in Texas, with help from either the Cotton Bowl or the season-opening Cowboys Classic in Arlington -- LSU has plenty of recent history with both games. As heavily as the Tigers recruit East Texas, Miles has always been adamant about exposure with players in the Lone Star State.
Heading in the other direction, though, there's no denying Atlanta is also a hotbed of high school football talent -- and its another region in which the Tigers have been successful at recruiting since Miles made his first two trips to the Georgia Dome in 2005.
"Atlanta is a place that is a hub and also is a place where there's a lot of prospective student athletes in that market," Miles said. "We enjoy visiting Atlanta and playing in significant football games."
The Tigers are leaning heavily on Georgia and the Atlanta area even this year. Two of LSU's top-rated 2013 commits, ESPN 300 offensive guard Andy Dodd (Lindale, Ga./Pepperell) and ESPN 300 quarterback Anthony Jennings (Marietta, Ga./Marietta) both hail from right outside Atlanta. Juco wide receiver commit Quantavius Leslie (Hogansville, Ga./Hinds Co. CC) is also from the area.
It's obviously no anomaly. The Tigers' roster is loaded with Georgia talent -- be it quarterback Zach Mettenberger, linebacker Kevin Minter of offensive tackle Vadal Alexander -- arguably, three of the most crucial members of the team. This extends further back into Miles' tenure as well, with the likes of current NFL linebackers Kelvin Sheppard and Perry Riley -- both from the Atlanta area.
LSU used the Georgia Dome and national TV exposure to its advantage during the early days of Nick Saban's tenure to great effect. The same strategy applies now, though the Tigers are on about their 10th trip to Atlanta in this decade.
"This is a great matchup and the kind of venue that will represent itself very well on television," Miles said.