LSU’s 2019 recruiting class surged into the top 5 nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings earlier this week. The rise in ranking came after the Tigers landed a commitment from running back John Emery to give them a verbal pledge from three 5-star recruits in the class.
The strength of this class lies within the borders of Louisiana. Each of the Tigers’ three 5-star commitments is from The Boot and LSU currently has four of the top five in-state prospects committed. The Tigers are the projected to favorite to get all five with the experts expecting them to beat out Alabama for 5-star defensive lineman Ishmael Sopsher.
They also already have the No. 8 (LB Donte Starks) and No. 10 (OL Ray Parker) in-state players committed with projections favoring them to get the No. 7 (ATH Devonta Lee) prospect as well. That would give LSU an impressive eight of the top 10 Louisiana recruits in the class.
The success within the state in the 2019 recruiting cycle is shaping up to be a major victory coach Ed Orgeron. The Tigers were able to sign just five of the top 10 in-state recruits in 2018 and three of the top 10 in 2017 — Orgeron’s first two recruiting cycles leading the program.
The failure to secure an impressive number of in-state signees in recent classes raised questions about Orgeron’s prowess as a recruiter, which had been viewed as a strength throughout his career. Obviously, those questions are now dying down with Orgeron, a Louisiana native, building a very impressive 2019 class around some of the best local talents.
Though Orgeron can’t comment on specific recruits before they are signed, he did say he was “fired up” about recruiting efforts a day after Emery’s pledge. That was no easy battle to win, either. Emery had previously been committed to Georgia and strongly considered Tennessee, where his father played linebacker.
“Our focus is always going to be on the state of Louisiana, keeping the top prospects in the state of Louisiana home,” said Orgeron according to The Advocate. “It’s a battle. We’re happy where we’re at in recruiting right now. Obviously, we have to finish strong.”
So how is Orgeron now making LSU the place to be for the top Louisiana talent? He’s apparently selling this generation of recruits on the chance to turn LSU back into what it was once. More specifically, back into the program that won at least 10 games eight times from 2003 to 2013. That’s the program these prospects grew up watching and admiring.
“The biggest selling point for Coach O and company is the opportunity to stay home and bring Louisiana a national championship,” LSU recruiting expert Sam Spiegelman of TigerDetails told CST. “Obviously, this isn’t rocket science, but it’s appealing to the in-state recruits who grew up watching LSU on TV and have realized that the program is not at its height anymore. Orgeron has instilled that sense of staying home with the best prospects in the state and changing the trajectory of the program and, thus far, it’s worked. This staff urges that [Louisiana] players who will elevate the Tigers’ status in college football.”