LSU Tigers: #AskLoogs

#AskLoogs: Impact for LSU?

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
12:30
PM ET
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

From Twitter: What will be the impact to the loser of the LSU-Alabama game, recruiting-wise? Will the winner scoop the best kids?

I think that view oversimplifies the official visit. While in a perfect world all coaches would love for the official visit to close the deal or secure a verbal commitment, rarely does that happen on a consistent basis. Most prospects do not allow for one game, the outcome of a game or one of their five official visits to be the deciding factor. It’s a piece of the puzzle, and while the impact of the official visit on a big-game weekend for both programs can have a lasting effect, there is always a decompression period where the prospect sits back and lets things settle down away from the hype of the weekend.

With this particular game, you essentially have two of the country’s premier programs that often times go head-to-head on the same high-profile prospects on a year-round basis, so the official visit is another component to that battle.

Win or lose, both programs have a chance to win in recruiting here. If Bama wins, they have a shot to make more of a favorable impression on prospects from the state of Louisiana, where they know it is a day-to-day battle to pull kids out of that state. If LSU wins, it’s just another reason to stay home. However, a loss for either team does not devastate their efforts to this point or after. There are too many positives for both programs for that to happen.

The game within the game for this official visit is not the outcome of the game itself -- it is the rest of the 48-hour period that needs to resonate if you are Alabama. If you “wow” in this area, the outcome of the game is minimal in the grand scheme of things. You are selling a program, not an outcome.
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Hmm. This is a tough question to answer without the finality of the 2014 class signing day to give me some concrete options to choose from. I’ll take a stab at a few teams that might fit the bill.

I’d argue that Auburn’s true freshmen have been as impactful as Ole Miss. RB Racean Thomas could continue this trend. Michigan could get significant production from WR Drake Harris, ATH Jabrill Peppers and DT Bryan Mone, and if they get Da'Shawn Hand, that could be big for them. All guys are need positions. Texas A&M, with DE Myles Garrett, QB Kyle Allen, ATH Nick Harvey -- and they could also end up with ATH Speedy Noil, too. If they stay committed, Florida could see a lot of offensive impact with the likes of RB Dalvin Cook (huge need) and WR Ermon Lane, too. Miami could be another on both sides of the ball.

However, if we were sitting here in February and assuming LSU closed like some are expecting with in-state talent, including RB Leonard Fournette, then I think you could see a lot of freshmen making an impact for the Tigers.

#AskLoogs: Robinson and Fournette

September, 9, 2013
9/09/13
12:30
PM ET
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Possibly. However, LSU’s depth chart at RB might help the Tigers more. They are losing Alfred Blue, Kenny Hilliard is a junior and Jeremy Hill, well, who knows what will happen with him. Alabama will still have Yeldon for at least one more year, plus Altee Tenpenny, Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Tyren Jones and Kenyon Drake are all freshman and sophomores. This illustrious group of Louisiana prospects is a tight knit group, they all know each other and speak regularly, but that rarely guarantees any definitive outcome. Right now, Alabama is the only true predator to the LSU program for in-state kids and I would be willing to bet they would consider it a win to lure three or four more Louisiana kids in lieu of Fournette if it came down to it, especially if one of them is WR Malachi Dupre. Another way to make an impression is if Alabama can meet expectations and play for a third straight national title. Don’t kid yourself though, those Bama coaches will have Cam constantly working Fournette until the end.

#AskLoogs: Bama vs. LSU recruiting

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
11:23
AM ET
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Yes. This is a very simple, black-and-white answer that can be applied not only to Alabama, but also to LSU. It comes down to this -- whoever signs the bulk of remaining top uncommitted 2014 prospects from Louisiana, particularly RB Leonard Fournette and OT Cameron Robinson, will end up with the No. 1 class. I don’t know if there has ever been a time in the past where we could say in any given month who will have the No. 1 class come February, but this is as concrete as it gets. I would go so far as to say I’d be absolutely shocked if it wasn’t Alabama or LSU based on those Louisiana kids. With that being said, if I had to give an early nod, I would lean toward LSU because it is the in-state school and it is difficult for other schools to beat LSU on in-state kids. But the one school that has had some success doing so is Alabama.

#AskLoogs: Crafting the perfect QB

August, 8, 2013
8/08/13
12:30
PM ET
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Sure, we’ll give this a try with QB’s in the current 2014 class with the categories below…

Arm strength: Georgia commit Jacob Park (Stratford/Goose Creek, S.C.). This was close, could have put Alabama commit David Cornwell (Norman North/Norman, Okla.) here as well. The ball jumps out of Park's arm with velocity, power and RPMs to drive the ball vertically and into tight spots.

Accuracy: Stanford commit Keller Chryst (Palo Alto/Palo Alto, Calif.). Chryst shows terrific ball placement and timing with the ability to change ball speeds and drop the ball in over coverage to small windows. His ability to anticipate allows him to throw to a spot before the receiver breaks.

Delivery: Purdue commit David Blough. Is is an uncoachable trait, in my opinion, and one that is highly coveted. Blough pops the ball out of his hand with a lightning quick stroke. It is tight, compact and smooth.

Running ability: Florida commit Will Grier. He is a true dual-threat only when needed. If asked to be an integral part of the running game, Grier can really hurt you with his legs and is not a guy you want to let out of the pocket.

Mental toughness: Chryst. This is where his aptitude and upbringing (his uncle is Pitt coach Paul Chryst) come into play. Chryst is mature and capable of handling the ups and downs of the position having grown up around the game in ways few prospects have.

Competitiveness: LSU commit Brandon Harris. This was close; Texas A&M pledge Kyle Allen also fits the bill. Harris wants to be great and is willing to do what it takes to make it happen. He had received limited exposure and offers in the spring, but proved himself on the camp and combine circuit.

Poise: Clemson commit Deshaun Watson. Calm, cool and collected. Watson has a quiet swagger and calming pocket presence that exudes confidence and control. He weathers the peaks and valleys of the game with an even keel.

Instincts: Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen. Hansen and Grier could swap categories here. Hansen is just one of those guys that knows when to pull the trigger and is at his best when improvising and on the move. He has a sixth sense about where pressure is coming from, can evade defenders and keep plays alive instinctively.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



We are always very, very cautious to heap too much praise on any one prospect. With that being said, there are very few deficiencies with Leonard Fournette. We have never had a pure running back as the No. 1 overall player. Trent Richardson in 2009 was the best we had seen and he was No. 6 overall. There are lots of great backs in different sizes and styles, but few possess every quality you want. When Fournette wants to play big, he can. When he wants to be small and explosive, he can. He’s part scatback, part bruising short-yardage back. If he played defense full-time, he would likely be one of the top, if not the top, OLB prospects in this class. We feel he is a feature player with not only the physical makeup, but the competitive temperament and mental edge to be an every down back and game breaker each time he touches the football. I’m not sure there is a current back in college that you could compare him to. Johnathan Gray at Texas and T.J. Yeldon at Alabama are about as close as you can get.

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