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Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on LSU Football Recruiting and the Recruits Themselves Is Wide Ranging

What football program are trying to do to keep recruits engaged during extended dead period

The COVID-19 outbreak has put a hold on life as we know it, not just in the world of sports. While all sports have pretty much been shut down, there is one aspect of college football that has remained booming: Recruiting.

With high schools in shut down mode and all college coaches confined to their homes for the foreseeable future as well, it's left an open window for a year-long affair—as recruiting always is—to remain in tact.

It's true that recruiting trips are postponed while camps and showcases have been put on pause as well, but modern technology has allowed recruits and coaches to keep in touch by way of phone. LSU coach Ed Orgeron said in an interview Tuesday that he's been on the phone constantly with recruits from the 2021 and 2022 classes.

The main reason Orgeron said recruiting has remained unscathed from a communication standpoint, is simply that kids get bored.

"Actually it's better because they're all home and get bored," Orgeron said. "I mean they Facetime you back, they hit you back on Twitter and I'm able to talk to recruits all day on the phone. I come in the office, I get my computer, I go home and watch all of my recruits and I get to text them, they call me back. It's been tremendous as far as being able to contact recruits because they're home and they're bored, they want to talk to you."

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A number of programs are making due with the tough circumstances by way of virtual tours as Sports Illustrated's recruiting analyst John Garcia points out. For example, the Kansas Jayhawks, led by former LSU coach Les Miles, had a virtual junior day where recruits would check in online and remain engaged into the evening.

Virginia Tech is another school that is getting creative, as the Hokies brought in former players who told stories of their favorite memories from their time at school while Texas A&M actually set up a Madden tournament between the coaches and the recruits.

"I think that was the most engaging way to diving in and trying to connect with these kids," Garcia said. 

From a talent evaluation perspective, Garcia does make an interesting point on how the coronavirus has impacted some unestablished sophomores and juniors for the worst.

"Kids who are sort of stable are the ones who were already established as sophomores and juniors," Garcia said. "As we know, we're talking about teenagers and there's a lot of kids who ascend physically going from junior year to senior year so all of that is being masked right now because we can't physically go out and evaluate."

While Orgeron and the Tigers already have a decent jump on the 2021 class with five commits, including five-star linebacker Raesjon Davis, the next few weeks and months will be interesting to see what kind of progress can be made with no official or unofficial visits allowed.