Dylan Moses’ tweet a few weeks ago made it official: Louisiana lost its top-ranked college prospect for the 2017 class.
“Just touchdown in Florida!!!” the Jan. 16 message read.
The former University High star and ex-LSU commitment had arrived at his new home: IMG Academy, a boarding school specializing in the academic tutoring and athletic training of college-bound stars.
That move has put a damper on the Bayou State’s 2017 recruiting class.
“If Dylan Moses is still at U-High,” said Sonny Shipp, Louisiana recruiting analyst for 247Sports, “people aren’t saying Louisiana is weak in 2017.”
Moses’ departure — and earlier decommitment from LSU — throws the Tigers’ 2017 recruiting class into some murky waters. The talent pool in the state isn’t as deep as 2016, and it’s not as top-heavy as the loaded 2014 group.
Losing recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson only makes things more uncertain.
“That’s a big loss for LSU,” Landry-Walker coach Emanuel Powell said of Wilson, who left in January for the head coaching job at Texas-San Antonio.
The state lost Moses, its top-ranked recruit, and Wilson, LSU’s six-year recruiting guru, in a span of less than 24 hours.
But can one prospect change a state’s recruiting landscape? Moses isn’t your normal player. He’s a 6-foot-2, 220-pound, chiseled outside linebacker ranked the nation’s No. 1 prospect. Imagine if Leonard Fournette, the nation’s No. 1 2014 prospect, had transferred from St. Augustine to an out-of-state school before his senior season.
His absence is a blow to a class that already falls short of its predecessor, a record-breaking 2016 crew.
“There’s going to be a little bit of a dropoff,” Shipp said.
The proof is in the numbers. LSU has one player committed for the 2017 class — four fewer than the program had at this time last year for the 2015 class and this time two years ago for 2014.
The Tigers have offered 12 scholarships to Louisiana players in the 2017 class, six short of the offer count to 2016 Louisiana recruits at this time last year. They’ve offered more Texans for 2017.
“I think there’s several guys you could look at picking up LSU offers. I could see that number being 17 to 20,” Shipp said. “Seventeen would be lower than the last few years. I look at the 2017 class and I kind of look at it along the lines of 2015.
“You had (receiver) Tyron Johnson and (running back) Derrius Guice, but you don’t ... have four of the top 15 players in the country like 2014.”
What does it mean for the Tigers? Head out of the state.
That has never been a problem for LSU. Nearly half — 47 percent — of the players from LSU’s previous 10 signing classes under coach Les Miles have come from outside Louisiana. In fact, LSU signed more out-of-state guys than Louisiana players in three of those 10 years.
“(Bradley Dale) Peveto is a very good recruiter in Texas. Corey Raymond is a very good recruiting in Florida,” Shipp said.
First, though, Scarborough said, LSU must secure its lone commitment in the 2017 class: five-star defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin. He had played for Northside High School in Lafayette but is set to play at Notre Dame of Crowley as a senior.
“You’ve got to hold onto him,” Scarborough said.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.