LSU Football: Did Brian Kelly reveal a coaching staff decision on Wednesday?

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

LSU Football managed to hang on to four-star linebacker DeMario Tolan on Wednesday during the first day of the early signing period.

Tolan, 6-foot-2/205 lbs from Orlando, FL (Dr. Phillips High School), is ranked in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 21 linebacker in the country and the No. 23 player in Florida. He’s also rated as the No. 201 overall recruit in the 2022 class.

Several programs — including Auburn, Georgia, and Tennessee — made a hard push for Tolan after the Tigers announced that Ed Orgeron wouldn’t return as the program’s head coach in 2022.

At one point, it looked like Tolan was destined to flip.

New LSU head coach Brian Kelly, however, was able to ease Tolan’s concerns and sign the talented linebacker this week.

“I felt highly of (Kelly’s hiring)…I know he can expand the program as being a greater LSU,” said Tolan to 247Sports recently.

Did signing DeMario Tolan reveal a coaching staff decision by Brian Kelly?

One of the reasons that it felt like Tolan would sign with another program was because of his relationship with Tigers linebackers coach Blake Baker.

Baker, who served as Miami’s defensive coordinator in 2019 and 2020, was Tolan’s lead recruiter.

Tolan must feel confident that Kelly is going to retain Baker. Otherwise, I think we could’ve seen Tolan wait until February to sign — just to see where Baker landed.

I don’t think Kelly would lie to Tolan and tell him that Baker is staying and then not retain him. That would be a really quick way to lose trust on the recruiting trail. Kelly is a savvy veteran coach — he knows moves like that don’t work.

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I certainly think Tolan’s decision to sign with LSU on Wednesday could indicate that Baker will be the Tigers’ linebackers coach in 2022. If that’s the move, perhaps it also means that Daronte Jones will be back as LSU’s defensive coordinator. I think that would be the smartest move Kelly could make at this point.