LSU Football is in the midst of a transitional period as Brian Kelly prepares to enter his first year as the Tigers’ front man. When the former Notre Dame head coach arrived in Baton Rouge, he had just a couple of weeks to fix the recruiting ruins left behind by Ed Orgeron. The former coach recruited some stars to the university, but it was ultimately his departure that left his successor in a worse position. For this reason, Kelly struggled out of the gate.
The new regime strung together the best recruiting class it could given the little time it had to work before National Signing Day. Even though it wasn’t a huge success, Kelly managed to flip some hugely important individuals. Yet, he was still clowned by college football fans across the country due to the fact that the Fighting Irish finished ahead of his new school. “Kelly can’t recruit” was the battle cry around the nation. Those chants have now diminished to murmurs as the LSU head coach continues to build up his strong 2023 recruiting class.
LSU Football coach Brian Kelly continues to recruit well for the Tigers
The Tigers have signed a number of highly touted recruits over the last few weeks. LSU is now up to No. 6 on 247Sports’ 2023 recruiting rankings. Kelly’s team has moved up three spots over the last couple of weeks after securing commitments from three of the nation’s top players.
This run of positive recruiting news began toward the end of last month when the Tigers were able to earn a commitment from four-star OL Tyree Adams. Adams is considered one of the top 10 offensive lineman in the country. LSU beat out some pretty hefty competitors for his commitment, such as SEC foes Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss, who were all vying for the St. Augustine star. In the end, Kelly was able to keep Adams in the state of Louisiana.
The 60-year-old emphasized the importance of winning on the recruiting trail in the Tigers’ home state when he took the job. Louisiana has long been one of the country’s top recruiting hotbeds and LSU has begun to lose its edge as programs like Alabama and Texas A&M have come for the state’s biggest stars. This is why Adams’ commitment was such a huge deal for the Tigers.
Kelly continued his strong in-state recruiting showing when Baton Rouge native Shelton Sampson Jr. gave LSU his word on August 6. The five-star receiver opted to stay home amid interest from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State and many others. The wide receiver is currently the Tigers’ only five-star recruit in the 2023 class. Sampson Jr. joins Jalen Brown as LSU’s second wide receiver commit in the nation’s top seven positional rankings.
Despite losing Mickey Joseph—who was instrumental to the team’s success when recruiting—to Nebraska, the Tigers seem to be in great hands with former Georgia receivers coach Cortez Hankton. He and running backs coach Frank Wilson have done a superb job of recruiting within “the Boot” since joining Kelly’s staff at LSU.
Most recently, the Tigers picked up another huge commitment from within its own stomping grounds in four-star quarterback Rickie Collins. Collins, formerly a Purdue pledge, de-committed from the Boilermakers recently before opting to remain in Baton Rouge with LSU. The Elite 11 finalist had this to say upon making his decision public:
"“I was feeling [LSU] out and being there, seeing how the staff operates, feeling the vibes from everyone from the players and the coaches. Ultimately, it came down to feeling myself and being coached by Coach Sloan and Coach Brian Kelly.”"
All of these commitments are massive for the future of the LSU program. While the Tigers may have lost their way for a bit, Kelly has stayed true to his promise of keeping the state’s best talent at home. LSU’s trio of recent commitments are not only massive gets for Coach Kelly and his staff, but they also plant a seed for the future. The Tigers are beginning to lock down the state of Louisiana once again. Let this be an early warning to rivals: the Bayou Bengals are coming.