Jerrell Powe remembers the very first time he met Ed Orgeron.
How could he forget? After all, Orgeron had Powe performing drills in a parking lot.
This was a recruiting visit.
“He’s intense,” said Powe, then the composite No. 3-ranked defensive tackle in the nation who Orgeron wooed to Ole Miss while head coach there in 2005-07.
Orgeron joined LSU’s staff as a defensive line coach on Wednesday. The 53-year-old Louisiana native brings with him a reputation as a relentless, effective and aggressive recruiter.
The addition of Orgeron and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Kevin Steele has boosted a staff already known for its recruiting prowess.
“What was already a good staff of recruiters at LSU just got great,” said Barton Simmons, 247Sports national recruiting guru. “With Ed Orgeron’s hire, along with the coordinator hire of Kevin Steele, LSU just became one of the top staffs in the country on the recruiting trail.”
One NFL scout, even, told 247Sports that LSU’s staff “has to be the best recruiting staff in the country.”
Rivals.com ranked Orgeron as the second-best recruiter of the previous 10 years in 2011, and he helped lead Southern California to No. 1-ranked classes in 2003 and 2004.
Orgeron is known for his rah-rah recruiting ways.
He sold Powe on Ole Miss, yanking him away from other suitors like LSU, Tennessee, Nebraska and Auburn.
“He’s a guy that’s going to put everything into recruiting,” said Powe, who now plays for the Houston Texans. “He’s a guy that’s going to sell the program and do a good job of pushing guys on and off the field. He’s a father figure to the guys.”
And one more thing, Powe said: “A lot of hollering and screaming.”
Orgeron is known for his thick Louisiana accent and a fiery personality.
In Orgeron’s first meeting with Ole Miss’ football team, he tore off his shirt and, bare-chested, challenged Rebels players to a wrestling match. By the end of the meeting, the entire room was fired up, said Powe, who wasn’t at the meeting but heard stories from players.
“When he comes in the room, he’s going to let you know he’s running the room,” Powe said.
Steele was considered one of the top recruiters in the nation while at Florida State from 2003-06. He was named 247Sports’ national recruiter of the year in 2005 when he helped the Seminoles secure the No. 2 class in the country.
But how do Steele and Orgeron help LSU immediately?
National Signing Day is Feb. 4, exactly three weeks away. The recruiting dead period ends at midnight, beginning a three-week stretch where coaches make last-ditch efforts to secure commitments from the nation’s high school stars.
The Tigers have 16 commitments, nine shy of the maximum of 25 who can sign.
Sonny Shipp, a local recruiting reporter who covers LSU for 247Sports, calls the addition of Steele and Orgeron “a perfect storm” for the current class. LSU has zero linebackers committed, Steele’s position group, and has just one defensive lineman committed, Orgeron’s specialty.
“It’s almost like the perfect storm to energize and find those guys for the 2015 class,” Shipp said.
Steele has previous relationships with prospects he recruited at Alabama, including Mississippi linebacker Leo Lewis, the No. 1-ranked inside linebacker in the nation. Lewis is an Ole Miss commit who used to be committed to Bama.
Orgeron is expected to spotlight some defensive linemen, including Daylon Mack, a five star defensive tackle from Texas who de-committed from Texas A&M in December.
“He’s going to make him a pet project,” Shipp said.
Already, Orgeron had his sights to Thursday. Many of LSU’s coaches hopped on planes Wednesday night to visit some of the biggest high school stars around the nation.
“We’re going to go after every top player in the country, and I don’t care if they’re committed to somewhere or not. We’re going to take our shot. I’m going to go in there and try to bring back the best players at LSU.”
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.