In college football, offseason momentum can be a roller coaster of emotion.
In December, you could be a full-fledged national title contender, only to be in rebuilding mode in January—which is exactly what has happened to LSU over the last month.
After letting a 12-point, fourth quarter lead slip away at the final gun of the Chick-fil-A Bowl in a 25-24 loss to Clemson, LSU has seen its roster disappear almost as quickly.
A total of 10 LSU underclassmen have declared early for the 2013 NFL Draft, headlined by defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery—both of whom are picked to be drafted in the top 15 by ESPN.com's Todd McShay.
That means playing time is available in Baton Rouge, especially for a player like defensive end Robert Nkemdiche—the consensus top prospect in the class of 2013.
Nkemdiche, a 6'4", 285-pounder from Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., has narrowed his college choices down to Ole Miss and LSU, according to a report last week from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But ESPN.com's Kipp Adams reported over the weekend that Nkemdiche has yet to schedule his visit to Baton Rouge.
There's still plenty of time for Nkemdiche to make his way to LSU. When he does, he's going to find a program that's going to be a national title contender with playing time uncharacteristically available.
Ole Miss is still Nkemdiche's favorite. There's no question about that. It's no secret that playing with his brother, Rebel linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, is a big factor in the younger Nkemdiche's decision.
But playing for team like LSU, which in addition to Mingo and Montgomery has had 11 defensive linemen drafted since Miles took over as head coach prior to the 2005 season.
Nkemdiche could be the next in line. He has the quickness to be a monster pass rusher off of the edge but the size and strength to be a force against the run from the moment that he steps foot on campus.
Could Miles pull a recruiting-season upset and get offseason momentum going back in his direction?
It's not likely, but with five of the six defensive ends gone from LSU's most recent depth chart, Baton Rouge certainly has become more attractive to most defensive end prospects, including Nkemdiche.