LSU head coach Les Miles has been fired, but by now if you’re a fan of the Bayou Bengals that’s old news.
The firing of Miles will impact the LSU football program from the top down. Some will say it’s for the better and others undoubtedly will disagree with the decision. No matter which side one falls on the spectrum, though, the fact of the matter is that it’s done.
The Tigers are moving forward without the “Mad Hatter”, and they’ll have to deal with the consequences — good or bad — along the way.
Minimizing the negative consequences has to be a main focus for the LSU brass, and especially whoever is pegged to take over the program long-term. Right now it’s defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who was promoted to interim head coach.
Though Orgeron will have to spend much of his time preparing his team for the rest of the SEC slate while at the same time smoothing out the transition, he will still have to dedicate some time to the recruiting trail — or at the very least put a trusted assistant on the case close to full-time.
LSU’s 2017 class is currently ranked No. 4 nationally, only behind Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia. And if the Tigers want to keep their national profile high and remain a SEC and national powerhouse in the post-Miles era, keeping that recruiting ranking as high as possible has to be a priority.
Part of that is keeping the players who already verbally committed to LSU part of the fray. They obviously saw something they liked in LSU as a program and school, and most recruits are smart enough to not commit to a coach and instead commit to a program. The firing of Miles is yet another example of why that’s a wise mindset to take in recruiting.
Keeping those players high on the Tigers is going to be big for the remaining LSU staff and it will be even bigger once an official transition to a new head coach is made. New head coaches often bring new assistants along with them, and the assistant and position coaches are the most important relationships a recruit has with a college football program. LSU would be wise to limit the turnover among assistants if it can, if only to present a level of consistency on the recruiting trail. But, if the Tigers do need to make major changes to the assistant staff, doing so as soon as possible before signing day would help LSU make the best of a bad situation.
The closer to signing day LSU makes changes, the less time the new coaches will have to make impressions and develop relationships with commitments. Those relationships could be vital in determining whether or not LSU’s class stays intact or folds under the pressure of a regime change.
The other thing the Tigers need to consider is recruits who are interested in LSU but have yet to make a commitment. As a national powerhouse, plenty of big-time recruits give LSU a look, but now they’ll have to give the Tigers a second (and even a third) look, because the very identity of LSU football could potentially change depending on what the school decides to do long-term.
A great example of that uncertainty would be the case of five-star outside linebacker Dylan Moses. He’s he No. 4 recruit in America and the top outside linebacker in the 2017 class. The 247Sports Crystal Ball is comfortably predicting that he’ll end up at LSU, and in fact, he previously felt he didn’t even need to take an official visit to LSU because of his comfort level with the program.
According to a report from Steve Wiltfong, that comfort level may have changed since the firing of Miles, though.
“A source speculated told 247Sports that Moses may now see an official to LSU necessary following Sunday’s firing of Les Miles. Up until that point, Moses knew everything he needed to know about the Tigers program and didn’t need to take one of his five allotted officials to the very familiar school. Obviously now there’s been some changes Moses may want to look into,” Wiltfong reported.
Whether or not Moses actually officially visits LSU is not the story here. It’s simply just an example of what LSU needs to really focus on as far as recruiting is concerned in the next few months.
We’re quickly approaching the lead-up to national signing day and classes will be built or broken depending on 1) on-field play and 2) off-field decisions.
Not only does LSU need to present a unified front to both commits and targets alike, but it needs to quickly sort out its identity post-Miles. Of course, it wouldn’t be wise to rush into a decision on a new head coach, but every day LSU waits is another day a prospect like Moses could decide that the uncertainty is too much, thus deciding to go elsewhere.