How Gus Malzahn at UCF could impact LSU Football

Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn was hired by UCF on Monday and it’s a move that could have an indirect impact on LSU football.

Malzahn was hired at Auburn in late 2012 to replace Gene Chizik (who went 3-9 just two seasons after winning a national championship with Cam Newton).

Auburn immediately fared better with Malzahn at the helm, going 12-2 in 2013 and reaching the national championship game.

Unfortunately for Auburn, that was the last time Malzahn would get Auburn to the national championship game. Malzahn never had a losing season at Auburn, but he only reached double-digit wins twice during his eight seasons as AU’s head coach.

Malzahn was fired in December after leading Auburn to a 6-4 season.

LSU Football may not be done worrying about Gus Malzahn

Malzahn, who will replace Josh Heupel at UCF (Heupel is the new head coach at Tennessee), had decent success against LSU during his time at Auburn.

Auburn was 3-5 against LSU during the Malzahn era. Not great, but not bad considering LSU is routinely near the top of the SEC West.

Malzahn also had decent success against Alabama and Nick Saban (Malzahn was also 3-5 against Bama), so I think it’s safe to say that the SEC West is happy to see Malzahn go.

But just because Malzahn is gone from the SEC, doesn’t mean LSU is done dealing with him.

Ed Orgeron and his staff are going to have to deal with Malzahn in recruiting — specifically in Florida, where LSU targets plenty of talent (LSU signed three players from Florida in the 2021 class and three players in the 2020 class).

Malzahn made it clear on Monday that he plans to recruit the state of Florida “like nobody else”.

“We’re going to recruit Florida like nobody else,” said Malzahn (via 247Sports). “We’re going to recruit like our hair is on fire. We’re going to go after the best players in America and we’re not backing down to anybody. We have got a lot to offer here.”

It’s easy to discount this as nothing to worry about, but I wouldn’t be so quick to do that. UCF has created a nice brand for itself in Florida. And I think Malzahn will end up landing some really nice recruits there.

Is it possible that UCF lands an elite Florida native over LSU?

I wouldn’t rule it out. Malzahn has been recruiting in the SEC for a long time, he knows how to make an impact on the recruiting trail.

Next. LSU a legit contender for 5-star DL. dark

LSU fans shouldn’t be panicking or anything — that would be silly — but Malzahn landing at UCF will definitely make Coach O’s work on the recruiting trail a little tougher.