LSU Football: Brian Kelly proves he’s an elite recruiter

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

One of the most important things that Brian Kelly can do as LSU football‘s head coach is recruit at a high level.

The programs competing for national championships are typically the same programs that finish at the top of the recruiting rankings each year.

Recruiting rankings aren’t infallible, but they’re usually a pretty good indicator of talent.

Fortunately for the Tigers, it appears that Kelly is going to be just fine as a recruiter in the SEC.

In fact, he’s already proved he’s going to be an elite recruiter at LSU.

How new LSU football head coach Brian Kelly proved he’s an elite recruiter

One of the Tigers’ biggest additions during the early signing period in December was linebacker DeMario Tolan, a four-star recruit from Orlando.

Tolan, who is rated in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 21 linebacker in the country, was strongly considering signing with a program other than LSU after the Tigers moved on from Ed Orgeron.

“I definitely was thinking about going in a different direction because I never wanted to go into a college blind with a whole new staff,” said Tolan to 247Sports recently.

Kelly, however, managed to sign Tolan last month, even though LSU didn’t have a defensive coordinator at the time.

At one point in November, it seemed inevitable that Tolan would decommit from the Tigers.

247Sports’ Billy Embody even speculated that Tolan was going to sign with Florida State (Auburn and Tennessee were also going hard after the talented linebacker).

But a conversation with Kelly convinced Tolan that LSU was the right program to sign with.

If Kelly can convince a highly touted linebacker — one that was actively looking to sign elsewhere — to sign with the Tigers after just a couple of weeks on the job (and before many key staffing hires were made), imagine what he can do after he’s been on the job for a full year.

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Kelly is going to have LSU landing elite recruiting classes on an annual basis. Talent isn’t going to be a problem in Baton Rouge.

LSU certainly recruits itself, but Kelly is going to help take Tigers recruiting to another level.