While the head coach at Ole Miss a decade ago, Ed Orgeron once said he planned to build a fence — recruitingwise — around the city of Memphis, Tennessee.
Will this recruiting guru build a fence around Louisiana?
“I learned my lesson about building fences,” a smiling Orgeron said last month upon his hiring.
Orgeron was fired from that Ole Miss job, so he’s not promising to build any fences around the bayou state.
He doesn’t need to. For the most part, the recruiting fences LSU has planted around Louisiana are as strong as ever.
The Tigers head into national signing day Wednesday having commitments from six of the state’s top 10 players and three of the top five players, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
LSU could get signatures from two uncommitted top-10 Louisiana prospects on Wednesday, too. Signing eight of Louisiana’s top 10 guys would be a record number in coach Les Miles’ tenure in Baton Rouge.
“When they don’t sign the top recruits (in Louisiana), it’s more big news,” said Scott Kenned, national recruiting analyst for Scout.com. “When you lose Cam Robinson, that’s more news. Or (Landon Collins) to Alabama. It’s more news when they don’t sign them. You expect LSU to get nine out of (the top) 10.”
This is, somewhat, of a bounce back year for a squad that had its worst in-state recruiting haul in the Miles era last season — and still finished with the No. 2 signing class in the nation.
LSU signed five of the top 10 and just two of the top five of a 2014 in-state class that ranked as one of the best groups Louisiana has ever produced. More top-10 players (five) left the state than any year under Miles.
Five left in 2007, too, but LSU didn’t offer scholarships to two of the state’s top 10 guys.
The Tigers offered all 10 this year. LSU has six of the top 10 in-state recruits committed: running backs Derrius Guice (No. 2) and Nick Brossette (9), receiver Tyron Johnson (1), athlete Donte Jackson (3), cornerback Xavier Lewis (8) and fullback David Ducre (10).
LSU could get a signature Wednesday from Florida commit Derrick Dillon, an athlete expected to play defensive back who’s ranked as the sixth-best player in the state. Many believe the Franklinton native will flip from the Gators to the Tigers.
There’s Daylon Charlot, too. The Patterson receiver and fourth-best prospect in the state is leaning to Alabama, according to multiple recruiting analysts, but LSU remains in the mix.
“I think they get Dillon,” said Sonny Shpp, local recruiting reporter for 247Sports.
“I think they have a shot at Charlot. They could possibly end up at eight in the top 10. Realistically, seven.”
The two goners this year: Offensive tackle Jerry Tillery has already enrolled at Notre Dame, and all-purpose back Kirk Merritt is leaning toward Oregon.
The talent in the state is part of the reason LSU has managed to keep the other big dogs out of the state, said Shipp. Louisiana’s 2015 crop isn’t the lofty group of last year and isn’t expected to near another highly rated class of 2016.
For instance, that 2014 Louisiana haul had four players ranked in the top 17 in the nation. This year’s crop has zero in the top 25.
“It would be hard for any class to measure up to what 2014 produced, but where 2015 paled in comparison was on the defensive front seven,” said Hunter Paniagua, a local recruiting reporter for Scout.com. “LSU only offered one in-state recruit, and that’s why they had to scramble late to address those needs at defensive end and linebacker.”
Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, Miami, Arkansas and Texas have all signed at least one top 10 prospect from Louisiana over the previous three years. Bama has signed six during that span.
The Tide may get just one of the top 10 this year. Alabama got three of Louisiana’s top-10 players last year and two in 2012 and 2009.
“I think they’ll be back next year,” said Shea Dixon, a local recruiting reporter for 247Sports.
Orgeron will be there now, too.
“I know that Louisiana young men basically want to go to LSU, they want come play football here, their families love LSU, and that’s what I’m looking forward to,” Orgeron said last month. “Obviously we’ve lost some young men to other schools, and hopefully we can prevent some of that happening. We’re going to do the best we can to keep our young men home.”
Louisiana Top 10
LSU has commits from six of the top 10 players in Louisiana. Here are the top 10, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, with their school commitments, positions and national position ranks:
1, Tyron Johnson, LSU, No. 5 wide receiver
2, Derrius Guice, LSU, No. 5 running back
3, Donte Jackson, LSU, No. 3 athlete
4, Daylon Charlot, not committed, No. 9 wide receiver
5, Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame, No. 11 offensive lineman
6, Derrick Dillon, Florida, listed as athlete, ranked No. 21 receiver
7, Kirk Merritt, not committed, listed as running back, wide receiver, ranked No. 5 all-purpose back
8, Xavier Lewis, LSU, No. 22 cornerback
9, Nick Brossette, LSU, No. 16 running back
10, David Ducre, LSU, No. 1 fullback
Getting the top 10
We break down how LSU has faired when it comes to signing the top 10 and top five players in the state each year under Les Miles. The Tigers currently have six of the top 10 in the state committed and three of the top five. Here are the number of players LSU signed in Louisiana’s Top 10 and top five, and other schools that signed players in the state’s top 10:
2006— 7 in top 10 (didn’t offer to one of top 10), 5 in top 5; Others: Alabama (1), Ole Miss (1), AIC (1)
2007— 5 in top 10 (didn’t offer to two of top 10), 3 in top 5; Others: Tennessee (2), Alabama (1), USC (1), DNS (1)
2008— 7 in top 10 (didn’t offer to two of top 10), 4 in top 5 (didn’t offer to one in top 5); Others: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Penn State (1)
2009— 6 in top 10 (didn’t offer to two of top 10), 4 in top 5; Others: Alabama (2), Mississippi State (1), UT (1)
2010— 7 in top 10 (didn’t offer to two of top 10), 4 in top 5; Others: Texas A&M (1), TCU (1), Auburn (1)
2011— 7 in top 10, 4 in top 5; Others: Alabama (1), Auburn (1), DNS (1)
2012— 6 in top 10 (didn’t offer to one of top 10), 2 in top 5; Others: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Texas (1)
2013— 7 in top 10, 4 in top 5; Others: Alabama (1), Miami (1), DNS (1)
2014— 5 in top 10, 2 in top 5; Others: Alabama (3), Texas A&M (1), Florida (1)
2015— 6 commitments in top 10, 3 in top 5; Others: Florida (1), Notre Dame (1), Uncommitted (2)
Used 247Sports’ composite rankings
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.