For all of you faithful LSU football fans out there in the world: Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Remember just three years back in 2009, when Les Miles and his LSU staff brought in the unanimous top ranked recruiting class in the nation? That class featured 25 total players: 10 of which were ESPNU Top 150 Players, and 12 of whom were from Louisiana. Of those 10 players, half of them were in-state recruits.
So now one can’t help but to wonder: where has all this in-state talent gone?
In LSU’s most recent recruiting class, LSU brought in another good-sized class—this one with 21 commitments. Of those, 13 were from Louisiana, but only two of them were ranked in ESPNU’s Top 150.
According to rivals.com, only nine of the Tigers’ 21 commitments this year received a four-star ranking, and of those nine, only five were in-state recruits.
The Tigers top-ranked in-state recruit in this class is outside linebacker Lorenzo Phillips, who wasn’t even ranked in rivals.com Top 100 prospects in 2012.
So, is the problem the fact that the talent level is down in Louisiana or is it that LSU is letting the state’s top players get away?
Well, it is a little bit of both.
Landon Collins, from Geismar, LA, was the top ranked defensive back in the country last season; he shunned the Tigers for the SEC and rival Alabama in a shocking announcement at the Under Armor All American Game, which was later turned into a YouTube spectacle.
Outside of Collins, however, LSU did pretty well in their home state this past season. Now, the question is what will happen next year?
Rivals.com updated and released their rankings for the 2013 class last month, and the talent level in Louisiana appears to be down again. There isn’t a single player from Louisiana ranked as a five-star prospect. In fact, the highest ranked in-state player is tight end DeSean Smith from Lake Charles, LA, who is the fifth-fifth ranked player in the nation for 2013, according rivals.com. LSU is on his recruiting list, along with 12 other top-notch college football programs.
To put that into perspective, Louisiana has produced three players over the past four years who have been ranked in rivals.com top 20 for national players. It is rare to see the top player in Louisiana not be ranked in the top 20 players nationally, less the top 50.
Of course, we can’t say why this downward trend is occurring, and we can’t put all of our marbles into these recruiting sites’ rankings.
Tyrann Mathieu, who was a three-star recruit out of high school, gives us reason to believe that. But nontheless, these sites do a top-notch job at evaluating talent, and they certainly provide the evidence to prove that talent in Louisiana is down as of late.
Will this trend come to an end soon? All we can do is wait and see.