Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Give You the Information A Week After You No Longer Need It

The two hot topics in LSU sports right now are a) the disaster of the basketball season, and b) the surprise interest that #1 national recruit Terelle Pryor is giving us. I will discuss neither of these today because (a) just annoys me and (b) isn't really ripe yet to discuss.

Instead, I'll discuss something I meant to discuss when I would have found out that one or more of our juniors had declared for the NFL Draft. The problem was that none of them ended up declaring.

A lot of people complain when a guy declares early. "We made a commitment to him for 4 years, etc. etc." There is no question that a surprise declaration for which a team is unprepared really screws up the preparation for the following season, but often that's a coach's fault for not recruiting quality depth at that position.

I don't really care about a guy's projected draft status. I don't have the opinion that many have of, "if he's a 1st round pick he should go." I go by the Two Year Rule. My opinion about guys declaring early is this: I cannot be upset about a guy leaving early for the NFL if he has given us two years of high level production. I don't mean a year of being great proceeded by two years of backing up the starters and covering punts. I mean two years of high level production.

Under this model, a player who was an understudy for a year and then took over as a starter and played well the following two years can go to the NFL with my blessing. A guy who putters around for a couple of years and then has an inconsistent 1st half of his 3rd year before blowing up in the 2nd half of his 3rd year cannot go pro without drawing my ire. I think that guy pretty much wasted our time and left us as soon as he was really useful.

Using the Two Year Rule, Darry Beckwith, Herman Johnson, Tyson Jackson, and even Ciron Black (who was eligible to turn pro) could have declared for the Draft with my blessing. Brandon Lafell could not have, because he has only given us one year of production at a high level. Of course, there was little if any public discussion of the possibility he would declare, but if he had, I would have been kind of upset.

As for next year, we'll face the same questions with Ciron Black (a redshirt junior and expected 3-year starter after next season), Brandon Lafell, Ricky Jean-Francois, and possibly others if certain players blow up next season (like Harry Coleman or Jai Eugene, for example). I think we need to anticipate that Black and Lafell will turn pro next year, even though they may not. Our coaches just need to be prepared and have a plan in place in case they do, especially for Black.


Poseur said...

I can't ever be mad at someone for leaving to be a first round pick. I'm sorry, that's a lot of money for a kid to turn down. And a football player only has so many years in him before his body gives out. If you have the chance to make millions of dollars, I can't hold that against anyone, given the realities of their chosen profession.

But that goes for first rounders only. After that, you're taking a gamble. You're also probably making a poor economic decision becuase if you stay another year and put off the payday, you'll likely be a first round pick and get the big money. So if you screw us over to make less money... well, you're not my favorite person.

But these kids don't owe us anything. I think it speaks volumes they WANT to come back, but they don't owe us.

Jeffrey Macloud said...

Yeah, I agree with poseur. I would only add that I think it's a coach's job, in these cases, to make sure these kids (and they are still just kids) have an accurate assessment of their future earning potential (likely draft status) before they walk. I think some coaches are better/more geniune about this than others.

The biggest tragedy would be leaving early based on false hype and fool's gold.

uberschuck said...

We expected at least one underclassman to leave, and it could have been more. I'm glad they are staying, but does this present a problem with the number of scholarships we can offer this year?

Richard Pittman said...

As far as I know, this does not give us any scholarship problems, but it may mean a walk-on who previously had a scholarship gets it revoked.