Deke: LSU's signing day class a mixed bag

LSU lost out on one of the nation's top recruits

Deke Bellavia
February 07, 2018 - 3:32 pm

Hey, it comes with the business.  It’s part of the game as much as blocking, tackling, kicking, running and throwing.  When it happens often, though, it gains attention, and not the kind of attention college football programs want to talk about or deal with. 

Ask any of the 128 Division I head football coaches what kind of signing class they’ve inked and all will smile and praise their incoming recruits.  It’s the same thing as asking a man in the automobile industry, how’s business?

“Well, of course, business is good.”

Beneath the big name schools, the high profile players and all of the hoopla that now seems way over the top for high schoolers, there lies the truth.  Although it may be revealed only behind closed doors, the truth sometimes hurts.

As National Signing Day continues the LSU Class of 2018 is shaping up to be another good class, but today the Tigers lost out on the player they coveted the most.  One of the nation’s most sought after players, defensive back Patrick Surtain Jr., chose the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide over others including LSU. 

Alabama beats everyone out for top players every year at this time.  So why is losing Surtain Jr. such a big deal?  Or is it? 

Well, in my opinion, if you go by what LSU insiders said leading up to signing day, where they learned and heard that LSU was in a position to sign the nation[s most sought after defensive back, this is one that stings.  In fact, this one burns.  Pretty bad too. 

Surtain Jr. was heavily courted by LSU DB coach Corey Raymond, who had long established a relationship with him, his father and the entire Surtain family.  Throw in a few factors like:  Patrick’s father was a legendary prep star and state champion with the Edna Karr Cougars, family members live in the Prairieville area, and all of Patrick’s strong ties to Louisiana, and this loss is bigger than normal.

So what about the rest of the Tigers class so far?  Well, right now LSU looks to finish somewhere in the Top 15 in the final recruiting rankings.  Surtain Jr. would have floated LSU to the Top 10, but now that hope looks more like a miracle than a possibility. 

If you want a little snippet of where the Tigers are in the national picture, I can tell you that LSU signed five of the rivals Top 250 players.  The highest rated player the Tigers landed is Parkway wide receiver Terrance Marshall.  Marshall is the ranked 27th overall in the nation and the top prospect in Louisiana, which means the Tigers did hold on to the state’s best overall player.

Other nationally ranked players that have inked with LSU include:  Scottlandville defensive back Kelvin Joseph.  Joseph is the nation’s 55th best player according to Rivals.  Defensive end from Dallas Jarrell Cherry signs with the Tigers as the nation’s 163rd best player, OG from Marshall, Texas Chase Hines is the 209th best player and OLB Damone Clark from Southern Lab is ranked #245 according to Rivals.

Of course, how the players develop and what they achieve at LSU is what counts most, and now all we can do is sit back and see what transpires.  Bottom line, LSU landed five players ranked among the top recruiting services’ best 250-300 high school players with the highest being Marshall. 

LSU did land the nation’s best junior college linemen, which is a huge plus going into spring practice.  The Tigers were also able to keep Louisiana’s best ranked player at home.  Does the loss of Surtain sour the day?  I have to say yes.

Patrick Surtain, Jr. was the player LSU fans wanted their Tigers to sign most.  It’s disappointing that the Bayou Bengals didn’t sign a player, who was going to be a sure impact starter, who could rival some of the Tigers past defensive back greats like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.

Not signing Surtain Jr. also means the Tigers could start the season with a group of DB’s that doesn’t measure up to past groups entering a season.  Now, that concern could amount to nothing, simply because LSU can still produce one of the nation’s best secondary’s in 2018.

So, as National Signing Day continues, the focus will slowly shift toward the Tigers Class of 2019.  Next year at this time LSU will be under serious pressure to sign some of the nation’s most highly touted players from Louisiana.

Right now, though, the state of Louisiana can be proud that at least four of the nation’s Top 50 players, and three of those four are ranked among the Top 25, including the possible top player in America - Amite defensive lineman Ismail Sopsher.





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