For the past month, LSU’s recruiting outlook was mostly doom and gloom.
Three recruits decommitted as questions about coach Les Miles’ job security swirled, causing the Tigers’ 2016 class to lose its status as No. 1 nationally. The most crushing loss was that of four-star quarterback Feleipe Franks, who had been committed for 18 months and constituted the only signal-caller in LSU’s recruiting class.
But as Miles sees it, the situation isn’t as dire as once believed.
“Recruiting went relatively well,” he said Monday during a news conference. “We probably lost a guy, maybe. But we’re really in position to have a great recruiting class.”
Miles and his staff have been on the recruiting trail since the Tigers capped the regular season with a win against Texas A&M on Nov. 28. But something they have no control over — the team’s bowl destination — will likely benefit recruiting efforts moving forward.
LSU (8-3) will face Texas Tech (7-5) in the Texas Bowl at 8 p.m. Dec. 29 in Houston. The city sports the largest LSU alumni contingent outside of Louisiana, and Miles annually plucks recruits from the talent-rich state of Texas.
“Being in Houston gives us great visibility for the state of Texas,” the coach said. “I think Houston is regional news in Texas. ...Frankly, this bowl spot kind of elevates our recruiting in that area.”
Miles spent time recruiting in Houston last week following a joint Texas Bowl news conference with Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury. The recruiting cycle entered a dead period last Sunday, and coaches will be allowed to resume face-to-face contact with prospects from Jan. 13 to Jan. 30, four days before National Signing Day on Feb. 3.
LSU picked up a commitment from St. Thomas More punter Bailey Raborn last Friday, but the lack of a quarterback in the 2016 class still remains a concern. Despite doubt surrounding his future with the Tigers, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron spoke with Franks last week in hopes to sway the quarterback away from Florida.
The Florida native has made several visits with the Gators in recent weeks. Though LSU is now scrambling to fill the massive void Franks’ decommitment left in its recruiting class, Miles is confident he can land another talented quarterback.
“The whole position to consider there, in terms of a quarterback spot and how to strategically play it, I don’t want to necessarily go into that,” he said. “But I think that there’s some quality plays there, you bet.”
Eight Tigers were voted to various All-America and All-Southeastern Conference teams during the past week, but at least two of them didn’t pay much attention to the recognition they received.
Center Ethan Pocic and cornerback Tre’Davious White, both juniors, said Tuesday they don’t look into such post-season accolades. The league’s coaches selected Pocic to the Second Team All-SEC, while the coaches and Associated Press placed White on their respective second teams.
“It was definitely a great honor, but I really don’t pay much attention to that kind of stuff,” Pocic said. “It’s really cool, though, but it’s something to build off of.”
White didn’t record an interception this season and posted only six pass breakups, but opposing teams rarely threw his way. CBSSports.com currently projects White as a first-to-second-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“I’m confident in what I can do. I know I’m up there with the best of them,” White said. “...They don’t take into consideration me moving around the field with the best receiver and limiting his big plays.”
Texas Bowl festivities
Country music artist Cody Johnson will headline the Texas Bowl’s pregame activities. Budweiser Plaza, located at the south end of NRG Stadium, will host the official pregame party beginning at 4 p.m. Dec. 29.
Fans with tickets to the Texas Bowl will be admitted into the pregame party.