Thursday, July 12, 2007

2007 Recruiting - Josh Dworaczyk

This is a profile I've been meaning to write for quite some time, and I think this profile is very apropos at this point, following the commitments of DeAngelo Peterson, Ryan St. Julien, and Rocky Dulplessis. This is Josh Dworaczyk, a young man whose name I can almost pronounce. He's a 4-star offensive tackle out of Catholic-New Iberia, 6'5" 263#, with an alleged 33" vertical jump, but I don't believe that. Anyway.

If you've read this blog for the past couple months, you've picked up that a lot of recruiting happens in the summer before a prospect enters his senior year of high school. It appears, for example, that LSU will have about half of its 2008 commitments before the 2007 season begins. The coaches have spent the summer watching these kids perform in camps, evaluating them at their high school practices, talking to their coaches, etc. At a time when the recruiting services and recruiting-watchers are only beginning to really evaluate these kids, the coaches are knee-deep in them.

Mr. Dworaczyk was one of these kids. He committed to LSU in the summer of 2006, before his senior year began. He was, at the time, ranked in the low-30s in Rivals' rankings of Louisiana prospects. Not national. Louisiana! If he was really the 35th-40th best prospect within the state, LSU would not have given him a serious look. LSU takes only about 10-15 Louisiana prospects per year, and the 35th best simply would not make the cut. The 35th best might get a look from Ole Miss or Mississippi State, or possibly Vandy if his academics are strong, but most likely the 35th best football recruit in the State of Louisiana would be headed to Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Southern, or maybe La. Tech. But not LSU.

Josh Dworaczyk was a 2-star recruit, or possibly a 3-star, but he was given an early LSU offer and he accepted. The fans cried foul. Les Miles was stinking up our team with "Oklahoma State"-level recruits. He was ruining our program by taking such weak athletes onto the team.

Then came the 2006 high school football season, where Josh Dworaczyk excelled and climbed up the rankings. By the end of the year, he was in Rivals' Louisiana Top 10 and in the Rivals250 for 2007, a ranking of the 250 best recruits in the country. He was a solid 4-star by this time, and thanks to the lack of depth at LSU, he may well end up in the 2-deep at offensive tackle before the first game of the season, with an inside track to being a starter in his second year in the program.

Did Josh Dworaczyk make a drastic improvement between his junior and senior years? Did the blind squirrel Les Miles find a nut despite himself? Probably not. What probably happened was that Josh Dworaczyk was underrated by the services all along because of lack of exposure and lack of information. His commitment to LSU got the services to look at him more closely during the 2006 season, and they liked what they saw. The coaches, by virtue of seeing him at the camps and following him closely, simply knew more than they did.

Which brings us to one DeAngelo Peterson, of whom I knew almost nothing before yesterday. Of whom almost no one outside of coaching circles knew much of anything, including the Rivals Network, Mike Scarborough, and Sonny Shipp. We may not have known much about him, but I assure you that Les Miles, Gary Crowton, Larry Porter, and DJ McCarthy (his future head coach, future offensive coordinator, designated recruiter, and WR positions coach, respectively) know all him. They know his 40-time. They know about his hands and his route-running and his footwork. They know his character. They know his taste in girls. They know EVERYTHING about him, even if the rest of us don't.

And they aren't going to talk about him, so don't even ask.

This applies to all of the recruits we have. This is not to say that LSU is necessarily going to have a great recruiting class for 2008. It's not necessarily so, but trust the LSU coaching staff to get the very best that is available to them, and to only accept commitments from those recruits who are the best we will be able to get.

Note: Incidentally, after my post yesterday about Mr. Peterson, a lot more information came out through the rumor mill. He reportedly is already a full academic qualifier, who may have even considered graduating a year early last year. His coach says he's a great athlete who potentially can play any position from wide receiver to defensive end (?) if he bulks up. So, he's a wide receiver, but maybe he's a linebacker or a tight end or a corner or a safety. Who knows at this point?


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