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Thursday, October 18, 2012
LSU-A&M has meaning in recruiting, too

By Sam Khan Jr.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M's clash with LSU on Saturday at Kyle Field is important for several reasons.

When the No. 6 Tigers come to town, it won't just be the SEC standings that are affected. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin also believes the game carries heft in the recruiting world.

Kevin Sumlin
Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M go head-to-head with LSU on many recruiting battles.
"It's important for both teams [from a recruiting standpoint]," Sumlin said. "LSU's over here [in Texas] pretty heavy too. I think us moving to the SEC really helps us because of our effort to expand our footprint east. Because of the proximity to Louisiana and the two schools, obviously there's going to be some guys that both of us are extremely interested in."

There might not be a better example of mutual interest in a prospect than with ESPN 150 receiver Ricky Seals-Jones, the Sealy (Texas) High School product who is ranked as the No. 1 receiver in the country and has LSU and Texas A&M at the top of his list. Seals-Jones headlines a decorated list of prospects expected to be on hand for the game that the Aggies are targeting, and several are guys that LSU is recruiting as well. You can count ESPN 150 defensive tackle Justin Manning (Dallas/Kimball) on that list as well. He has offers from both schools and both are in his top five. He also plans to be in attendance on Saturday.

Sumlin said that the Aggies' membership in the SEC has more prospects looking at Texas A&M.

"I think right now because we're in the same league we have the opportunity for maybe some more visits and to get guys on campus and to really have a chance to look at our game day atmosphere and our university," Sumlin said. "A game like this becomes great exposure for our university nationally but also regionally when it comes to recruiting. It's going to be important just because of the proximity of the two schools."

LSU recruiting in the state of Texas, and the Houston area in particular, is nothing new. The Tigers have done it for years under head coach Les Miles. Safety Craig Loston, a Houston Eisenhower product and receiver Russell Shepard, a Houston Cypress Ridge product, are two examples. And the Aggies recruited Louisiana before Sumlin's arrival too. There are nine players from the state on the roster, all of which have seen the field this year, and seven of which were on the roster prior to the current coaching staff's arrival. But the Aggies have continued and even bolstered their efforts, gaining four commitments from Louisiana in the 2013 class and having already offered at least five 2014 prospects from the state.

"That's always been the case here, regardless of whether we played or not," Sumlin said. "LSU is going to be in Texas recruiting and we're going to be in Louisiana recruiting."