Da Boot Sports
By: David Penn
BATON ROUGE, LA: When Scott Woodward lured Brian Kelly away from the golden domes of South Bend, Kelly said his priority was to reaffirm the commitment of the players that had already chosen LSU. Mission accomplished. At the beginning of early signing day, LSU’s recruiting class was ranked as low as 33 depending on the publication you were following. Today, after signing the top two prospects in the state and adding a couple of players from out of state, LSU’s recruiting class has now broken the top 20.
Kelly knew the biggest priorities were Walker Howard and Will Campbell, but Kelly also showed that he can walk into living rooms, sit with families, and be the recruiter he needs to be when it counts. Amid a coaching change when other high-profile players are decommitting or committing elsewhere, Kelly was able to keep the damage to a minimum. Shaz Preston is the highest-rated player that left the state for the sidelines of Bryant-Denny beneath the tutelage of Saban and company, but that happens every year, doesn’t it? Saban has always snagged a recruit or two from the fertile fields of Louisiana talent.
In all, 10 of the 13 players that signed their letter of intent to play football in purple and gold are from the state of Louisiana, including flipping Landon Ibieta from Miami to LSU. Although Jacoby Mathews decommitted, Mathews does not intend to sign until February, giving the fresh staff the opportunity to become acquainted with each other. If Kelly can gain Mathews’ commitment, that means Kelly will have signed the top three recruits from the state.
LSU fans should be optimistic here. In a noticeably brief period, Brian Kelly managed to affirm the commitments of every
player that had already pledged a commitment and has set LSU up to finish with a top 10 recruiting class. LSU has cracked the top 20 in recruiting rankings and only has 13 signed players, most other programs have full classes, LSU still has 10 spots to fill. Brian Kelly will now turn to the rest of the country, a country he is aptly familiar with considering his former coaching assignment and shore up his first recruiting class in the Red Stick. As anyone familiar with the ever-changing landscape of coaching and recruiting will tell you, the first class is always the hardest, for Brian Kelly the hardest part is over, Brian Kelly convinced Louisiana talent to play for him and he did it in two weeks!