Sunday, May 6, 2007

6th commitment

Here is LSU's sixth commitment for the 2008 signing class. He is Rocky Duplessis, a SS/LB type from Belle Chasse.

Word is that Les Miles went to see him at his school, and offered a scholarship. Rocky apparently accepted on the spot.

Looking at him, he looks like a mean SOB. He has flown very low under the radar so far in recruiting however. Once the publications start putting out there ratings, he is likely to be a 3-star or a 2-star, because there has been very little buzz about him.

As a result, there has been an inevitable chorus of "wasted scholarship".

The people who say that are utter fools. First, to think this, you must believe that Scout and Rivals know more about the recruiting landscape than the LSU staff. While that may be true nationally, I seriously doubt that's true within our major recruiting regions.

Miles & Company have some idea of what's out there and what we have realistic chances of getting. While we have a lot of interest from out of state prospects, there aren't really many Louisiana safeties this year burning up the message boards. For all we know, Duplessis may be the best in the state.

Rivals and Scout aren't the be-all, end-all of judging a recruit. Even though I really like those sights and find them very helpful, you can't accept what they say as Biblical truth. I think even the people who run those sights would agree with that if you caught them being honest. You need only look at the results of the NFL draft held one week ago to know that 2-star and 3-star players sometimes become great.

Second, you have to like his immediate commitment and the stories that he has been a fan all his life and was waiting for this offer and this offer only. Even if he is not among the best athletes we sign next year (which I do not know to be true), he seems like a kid who really wants to be there, and like he would be happy taking a special teams and backup role his entire career.

While every team needs great athletes and playmakers, teams also need quality kids who love the program are willing to be role-players. I don't know if Duplessis is limited like that, but if he is, so what?

Third, it really is helpful to maintain this as a "Louisiana team". This is supposedly a down year for recruiting, and the temptation is there to go out of the state even more as a result. This would be a mistake. While we should certainly look out of state to an extent (even a rather large extent), LSU needs to maintain a good relationship with Louisiana high school coaches and fans.

There will come a time when LSU will have some lean years. When that happens, the out-of-state well will dry up. We'll no longer be able to pull kids from out of state who have offers from the Florida States, Oklahomas, and Texases of the world. When that happens, we will have to rely on the Louisiana kids to pull us out of the slump, the way Dinardo go Kevin Faulk and Saban pulled in Clayton and Spears, all of whom could have gone to national powerhouses.

When the lean years come, if we have sold Louisiana kids and high school coaches down the river, they will turn around and sell us down the river. If we simply say, "Louisiana is no good this year, and we have to look out of state for everything," we risk becoming like the U of Miami, which has been a team of mercenaries with little or not organic community support. (Just look at their attendance numbers, even in their National Championship years). There was a time when LSU looked primarily out of state for various reasons. As a result, Louisiana high schools and coaches lost all loyalty to LSU, particularly in the New Orleans region. For most of a decade, LSU couldn't get the best recruits out of New Orleans. It took years to undo that.

So, no, I don't think this is a "wasted scholarship". I welcome Rocky Duplessis to the fold with open arms.

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