In a quasi-word - we doin' aight.
Let's start this discussion out with some facts.
Fact #1: LSU is coming off two modest seasons. Two good bowl games, but the Tigers were not in contention for SEC or BCS championships in either season. Moreover, the offense has looked bad and there are now questions about the quality of LSU's offensive coordinator and the ability of the quarterbacks in the system to be championship-quality field generals.
Fact #2: This class of LA seniors did not yield quite as many "blue-chip" quality athletes as previous years. When that happens, the fence that LSU has built around Louisiana isn't quite so easy to defend. Not only are there fewer great athletes for LSU to go after in LA, but the neighboring states have fewer "second tier" guys to pick-off. So there's a LOT more competition for the "first tier" guys. And, since LSU is forced to spend more time out-of-state, the in-state prospects spend more time hearing from other schools.
Fact #3: Every 2010 prospect is just a kid. None of them have graduated from high school yet (except for the JC or "academy" kids). So, when a kid from southern California decides to decommit from LSU to attend UCLA, or a kid from north Texas decommits to attend Texas, we shouldn't feel like LSU is second best. Some of this is simply kids being kids. Or when Lache Seastrunk decides that Oregon is the place for him instead of LSU, where RB recruiting has been good and will be even better next year, we have to take a deep breath.
OK. Now, let's look at the Class of 2010 as it stands right now. I'm not going to list all the recruits - if you need a list, go here or here. The numbers next to the names are the (Rivals/Scout) recruiting services ratings. I've listed the prospects in the order that I consider them to be high impact commitments for the program.
BEST OF THE COMMITMENTS
RB Spencer Ware (5/4) Cincinnatti, OH. Ware played QB in high school, but he's listed as a RB and he will be a great prospect for the Tigers. At 5'11" and 215 pounds, Ware is physically ready to play right now. He can make defenders miss, he run them over, and he can pull away from all but the speediest cornerbacks. Ware is the commitment I am most excited about in this class.
S Eric Reid (4/4), Dutchtown HS, LA. Reid has been committed to LSU for so long that almost nobody is talking about him anymore. So it's easy to forget that he's one of the very best DBs in the country and will make a quick impact on the field for LSU, if not in the secondary then more than likely on special teams. Reid is big (6'1", 205), aggressive and fast. If he picks up the defensive schemes fast enough, he may even find himself in nickel and dime back situations. And, who knows - with Chavis' penchant for smallish LBs with speed, Reid very well may find himself in that rotation ala Harry Coleman.
DE Jordan Allen (4/4), West Monroe HS, LA. Allen is a Parade HS All-American and very exciting defensive prospect. Which makes one wonder why there is talk already of whether he will become an offensive lineman...I don't see it. Allen has the meanness, speed, aggressiveness and size to be yet another fantastic LSU defensive lineman. Like Reid, Allen has been committed since the summer, so there's been nothing to talk about with him. And, like Reid, Allen was a standout in the high school all-star games.
FB Brandon Worle (3/3), LaGrange, GA. LSU needs a FB. Quinn Johnson's absence last season was deafening, and no mix of the converted offensive linemen, tight end, or true freshman seemed to work. Brandon Worle may be LSU's future at this position. This kid is a beast. At 6' and 243, Worle runs a 4.65 40 yard dash. I highly encourage you to watch his video on the recruiting sites or, if there is any, on YouTube. I am very excited about this recruit. He can catch, he is a bruising RB, and he is a natural blocker. He hits the hole fast and hard, and he seems to have a nose for the creases. Which means he likely has good vision. Even though he's only a 3 star, I think Worle will be special. And I don't think it's going to take very long.
ATH Tharold Simon (4/4), Eunice HS, LA. Simon is listed as an athlete by one service and a safety by another. I've even heard some folks talk about making Simon into a corner back. A 6'4" cornerback. Yowza. What that speaks to is Simon's freakish athletic ability. At 6'4" and 180lbs, Simon runs a 4.5 40 yard dash. His video tells the story - this kid is wide open in terms of where he might end up. His height and speed make him a cookie-cutter NFL-sized WR. But it's not yet known how well Simon can run routes, how sticky his hands are, and how committed he might be to blocking. But time will tell. Like Morris Claiborne in last year's class, I think Simon (if he has the grades and keeps out of trouble) could be the steal of this class.
The message boards have been full of "NegaTigers" all season long. Now that LSU has dropped the bowl game to Penn State, and Les Miles has not fired Gary Crowton, who it appears is no longer a Wizard but definitely a Scape Goat, some folks seem to be in a near panic about where the program is headed. And those folks look at LSU's inabilty to get Trovon Reed, Lache Seastrunk, Justin Hunter, Mike Davis and Cassius Marsh signed and enrolled as an omen of impending doom.
Over the last decade, LSU has recruited as well as any program in the country. Of all 119 BCS schools, LSU (according to Scout) is #6 in recruiting since 2002. During that time, LSU has won 2 national championships and is one of the Top 10 programs in the country in terms of post-season recognition (polls, final ranking, championships). And LSU's class this season - in a down year for LA recruiting - will end up in the Top 10 again, most likely around #8 or so.
Based on the talent available in the state, and the modest success of the last two seasons, Coach Les Miles and the Tigers' staff have delivered a fantastic recruiting class. Yet again.
Let the fear mongers gnash their teeth and claw at their walls. The roster remains stocked. 2010 and beyond look bright for LSU.
And if you doubt that at all, take a quick peek at the awesome talent already committed to LSU (from inside LA) for 2011.