NEW ORLEANS -- New LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has always been known as an excellent recruiter, but if the Tigers hope to overtake Alabama in the SEC West, it all starts with keeping key recruits at home and away from the Crimson Tide.
In the 2017 recruiting cycle, Alabama signed five prospects that were ranked in either the ESPN 300 or junior college ranking from the state of Louisiana. To put that in perspective, LSU signed the same amount of players in the rankings from the state of Louisiana last year.
LSU making a coaching change mid-season certainly hurt the Tigers chances of landing the hometown players, nonetheless, keeping elite players in state will have to be a priority for Orgeron and his staff.
The Tigers are off to a good start in the 2018 recruiting cycle. LSU has commitments from two ESPN Junior 300 prospects from Louisiana -- defensive back Kelvin Joseph and defensive tackle Davin Cotton. Alabama, however, has none at the moment.
Joseph, Orgeron’s top-rated commitment, said he committed to LSU because of his familiarity with the program.
“Louisiana is my home state,” Joseph said. “LSU was my favorite school growing up and I just like the way they play on defense.”
Despite Joseph giving his commitment to LSU early in the process, don’t expect Alabama to just move on to another prospect. If anything, the Crimson Tide usually just press harder for a recruit, just as they are doing with the four-star cornerback.
“I like how they work,” Joseph said of Alabama. “Every time I visit, it’s hard work. Every day it’s hard work. They played for a national championship in back-to-back years. They just win.
“LSU and Alabama have had some battles over recruits. There are guys in the past that have decommitted from LSU and flipped to Alabama. They both do a good job of recruiting.”
For Joseph, he thinks winning will play a big part in LSU keeping players at home.
“LSU is going to have to keep their word and win games,” Joseph said. “It’s about winning and rotating the players and how they are going to use their players.”
Terrace Marshall Jr., the second-ranked wide receiver in the country and a Louisiana native said there is more to recruiting than a team’s record on the field.
“To me, LSU is doing pretty good with what they are doing,” Marshall said. “Winning is important, but to me, it’s more about what is the best fit for me as far as the school and the situation that I’d be in.”
Orgeron’s tenure at LSU will ultimately come down to wins and losses, and in college football, it all starts with recruiting. Les Miles was a good recruiter, but never seemed to be able to get over the hump on the field.
The Tigers are off to a solid start with in state recruiting. If Orgeron and his coaching staff are able to start competing for SEC West championships, recruiting in Louisiana should become a much easier task.