When you take a step back and look at what Brian Kelly is doing, it's painting a very clear picture of how he's adapting to Louisiana.
One of the questions many had was how Kelly would be able to fit the culture in south Louisiana and could he surround himself with the right people to keep LSU the top dog in Louisiana recruiting. Looking at some of the coaches and players Kelly has brought in during his first six weeks in charge of the program, it's easy to see how much he values Louisiana talent.
Starting with the coaching staff, Kelly brought in the best of the best in Frank Wilson to lead the recruiting department and it's already paying dividends. Wilson really helped settle a number of the early signing period recruits into sticking with the program, helping the purple and gold ink 13 players overall, nine of which are Louisiana prospects.
It was an immediately praised move but the Louisiana influence on the staff didn't stop there. The lone coach he retained from the Ed Orgeron staff was offensive line coach Brad Davis, who is a Baton Rouge native and served as the interim coach with the program. Davis won over a lot of people within the program in his short time as the interim coach and is just one of the ascending coaches in the country who will have major influence on the o-line with a full year to develop the room.
"The future at LSU is extremely bright," Davis said after the Texas Bowl. "The kids we have at LSU love LSU. Coach Kelly is going to take these kids to new heights. My message to the kids after the game was remember this feeling and let it drive you to be better."
Quarterbacks coach Joe Sloan has a background at Louisiana Tech and is another one of those ascending coaches in the country. But the most recent and influential hire is Cortez Hankton as receivers coach, poaching him away from national champions Georgia.
Hankton, a New Orleans native, will fit in seamlessly with Wilson and the recruiting staff as LSU hopes to build a local juggernaut around the program that will keep its recent success of local recruiting going. He played big roles in recruiting local players like Major Burns, Shone Washington and Sedrick Van Pran to the Bulldogs within the Louisiana borders.
He also comes from a winning program and has coached some of the SEC's best receivers in recent years. There's no doubt that he'll have even more of an impact now that he's returning to Louisiana to coach with the Tigers.
A number of the recruiting hires and analysts that Kelly has elected to bring into the program also have Louisiana ties and its already paying off in recruiting. The Tigers have hit the transfer portal hard over the last few weeks, filling positions of need with Louisiana natives.
Among the eight transfers LSU has committed to the program, defensive backs Greg Brooks, Joe Foucha and Mekhi Garner, running back Noah Cain and wide receiver Kyren Lacy are all from Louisiana. Of course the Tigers are still pursuing a number of other players in the portal which could further raise that number.
JaCoby Mathews, Harold Perkins and TreVonte Citizen are all members of the 2022 class who are uncommitted but have backgrounds as star prospects from this state. Wilson and the LSU staff will have their work cut out for them to land all three local prospects but he's proven to be the best recruiter in this state over the years.
With Kelly surrounding himself with those kind of coaches and players, it's re-establishing the importance of Louisiana recruiting to LSU and why it's impossible to count the Tigers out.