Even with the world-changing events everyone must deal with, LSU football recruiting must continue. There are four primary categories to consider.
This is the most unique time in modern history. Even with COVID-19 continuing to be a problem, that does not mean college football recruiting takes a back seat. Quite the opposite actually.
The programs that do not find a way to efficiently recruit right now will be the ones that sign subpar recruiting classes. It’s really that simple. Some programs really found a way to connect with recruits since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic really took hold. LSU has done well thus far, but there’s more to be done.
Recruit the Home Base
This category is by far the most important, and it will receive by far the most commentary. It deserves it.
Let’s be honest. Per capita, the state of Louisiana produces as much talent as any area of the country. Especially for defensive players, Louisiana is the jackpot. Always has been, and there’s no reason to believe that’s going to change. Right now LSU is taking advantage of the 2019 national championship and recruiting nationally. That’s great, but the LSU coaching staff must prepare for possibly no official visits during game weekends this fall.
Think about that.
It’s not out of the question. COVID-19 concerns could cause no official visits. How does a player from northern California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina or Florida understand the Baton Rouge culture, let alone LSU football’s culture, without taking an official visit with students not on campus? Perhaps LSU hosts official visits in December without students. That’s not the same.
It’s definitely not the same as watching a LSU night game in Death Valley. That can change a recruit’s perspective real quick. The gameday experience represents only part of the equation. A recruit must understand the town he’s going to be living in for the next four years.
That’s tough without a traditional official visit weekend. Kids from Louisiana, however, will already understand what’s going on in Baton Rouge. There’s no place on earth quite like southern Louisiana, and Baton Rouge sits at the heart of that region. It’s hard to explain to someone. Honestly, they need to experience it. While LSU added several out of state commitments to date, that’s no guarantee moving forward that more top-notch out of state prospects will join the LSU fold. Here’s a prime example from a recent commitment.
Recent LSU commitment Keanu Koht was texting me and asking about Baton Rouge. I know the city fairly well, and we just discussed some things to know. It’s natural for him to ask those types of questions. He was just being curious about his future home.
The food, local residents, traffic, and of course how people view LSU football were just some of the items discussed. Koht is a very smart guy. He’s up for the challenge regardless of when/how an official visit to LSU takes place. He’s not your typical recruit.
That’s why LSU has to be really careful about waiting too long on prospects from outside Louisiana. Those prospects are less likely to hold long-term loyalty to the program. Just something to think about as everyone waits for the college football season to get going.
LSU is in a position of power with recruiting. Unless a player is truly ready to play college football on a big stage like LSU, hold off from accepting a commitment.
This means concerns over grades, social behavior (yes, that means social media, too), the people they congregate with, and of course football talent.
While not everyone can recruit like LSU, some programs tend to be ‘reaching’ on some prospects right now. What’s the rush? Every college football coaching staff is frustrated with the lack of summer camps, combines and seven on seven footage to evaluate the class of 2021 prospects.
There’s no reason to grab a commitment just to grab a commitment. LSU has done a great job of not panicking thus far, and that’s the path LSU coach Ed Orgeron and his staff need to continue to take.
Sell What LSU Offers
Just be the program that you are.
A SEC program, loyal fan base, great stadium, defending national champions, a openly inviting local community that supports the Tigers, a balanced curriculum to advance one’s academic career, and the best food on earth all reside at LSU (I’ll be at odds with anyone that argues with me on that last point).
There’s no reason for LSU to struggle with recruiting. Orgeron and his staff do a great job of selling LSU for what it is. No reason to change now! Just keep chugging along.
Technology Brings Recruits to Baton Rouge
So, how does LSU display all of those great attributes to recruits that never traveled to the LSU campus? How about never been to Louisiana, period?
Be creative with technology. Sure, every school will attempt to do the same thing. LSU must do it better; because of LSU’s location, this will be especially important.
The recruiting office staff must be ready to explain, in a way a 17-year-old will understand and admire, that LSU offers a plethora of opportunities. This is true for aspects of LSU on the gridiron, as well as off the gridiron.
Video chats with Orgeron and the LSU coaching staff are only the beginning. These campus tours that are commonly mentioned by recruits on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms are vital to every college football program.
Now it’s time for LSU’s fine staff to continue to promote one of the coolest and most unique universities in the country. It’s a great challenge, but there’s so much to promote about LSU that there’s no reason to believe that even if there are no official visits with students on campus that LSU will not sign another top-five recruiting class.
For those of you that have not been to LSU’s campus recently because of COVID-19, or simply want to know what a general LSU student video would be about, hit the link below. It’s really good. It was created by LSU to lure traditional students. The LSU recruiting staff has to find ways to do something similar, but incorporate the LSU football program. Now that’s a fun job.