LSU football missed on one of their top 2022 recruiting targets on Wednesday when four-star defensive back Jacoby Mathews elected to sign with the Texas A&M Aggies.
Mathews, a Ponchatoula, LA native, was ranked in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 2 safety in the country and the No. 3 player in Louisiana.
Going into National Signing Day, there was some optimism that Mathews, a former LSU commit, would sign with the Tigers.
Mathews had talked about a Louisiana vibe being important to him. That’s one of the reasons that Florida was viewed as a potential destination for Mathews (thanks to the presence of former Tigers assistant Corey Raymond).
Instead, Mathews spurned LSU (and Florida) for Texas A&M.
And one reporter who covers the Tigers has a theory on why it happened.
LSU Football reporter has a theory on why Jacoby Mathews signed with Texas A&M
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but there’s some speculation that Mathews is signing with the Aggies thanks to NIL (name, image, and likeness) money.
Here’s what 247Sports’ Sonny Shipp said about the Mathews signing day drama:
"Well-connected sources tell me LSU felt it had reason to feel optimistic early on Wednesday morning, then the next thing they knew, it was over, and Mathews signed on the dotted line this morning, per multiple sources.Something tipped the scales in A&M’s favor, making the allure of playing in College Station greater than staying close to home, presumably something related to an NIL deal."
There’s been a lot of talk over the last month about the amount of cash that Texas A&M has committed to paying recruits. Nothing has been confirmed, but there sure seems to be a lot of smoke around those rumors — lots of well-connected reporters have casually mentioned that it could be a thing.
What’s interesting is that Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher furiously denied those claims on Wednesday.
"“To have coaches in our league and across this league to say it, clown acts,” Fisher said. “Irresponsible as hell. Multiple coaches in our league. And the guys griping about NIL and transfer portal are using it the most and bragging about it the most. That’s the ironic part. … It’s a joke. It does piss me off.”"
College football recruiting right now is the Wild Wild West. And I’m not sure what to believe. But it certainly seems like there are a lot of “deals” being made behind the scenes.
I imagine we’ll see some “regulations” put in place in the not-so-distant future.