It is becoming common practice for some fans to complain about the lack of 5-star recruits in the LSU football classes. It’s a habit that must go away.
For the second time in as many weeks, an LSU football fan complained that the Tigers “need more 5-star [recruits]” in response to a Death Valley Voice article. The most recent instance followed our reaction to Brian Kelly landing receiver Jelani Watkins’ commitment.
Watkins is a 4-star football and track recruit and one of the fastest humans in Houston, Texas. LSU football fans have every reason to get excited for Watkins’ future in Baton Rouge. However, the recruiting news Karen’s could not keep to themselves.
the star rating system is extremely subjective and does not guarantee national championships
I feel compelled to remind my fellow LSU football fans that the star rating system is extremely subjective and does not guarantee national championships. As such, we must stop worrying about how many stars the Tigers’ are picking up on the football recruiting trail.
The star rating system was bred from the need to rack and stack high school recruits nationwide. Recruiting was simple in previous eras of sports as colleges picked up the top players within their home and neighboring states. However, recruiting at the national level requires a starting point.
Indeed, it is impossible for programs to scout every player in the United States. Thus, operations like LSU football rely on recruiting news outlets to often point their coaches in the right direction.
The star rating system developed by recruiting news outlets (e.g., Rivals, 247, and On3) has proven successful at identifying many the nation’s top players. However, the method relies on scouts and writers realizing a player exists.
For example, Jaxson Dart was largely unnoticed as a high school quarterback in Draper, Utah. It wasn’t until he threw for 279 yards, rushed for 132 yards, and threw six touchdown passes in a televised game that people caught on. Moreover, the Corner Canyon HS prospect did not appear in recruiting composite rankings until ten games into his senior season.
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Things turned out for Dart, who will see LSU football again on September 30th.
Another flaw of the recruiting star-rating system is that it fails to account for player growth and improvement. There is no greater example of such than Justin Jefferson.
Jefferson was a 2-star recruit when he committed to the Tigers in August 2007. He was awarded a 3rd star following his senior season at Destrehan (La.) and eventually developed into an NFL superstar. Regardless, the recruiting news Karen’s would not have been happy with what appeared to be a lowly in-state recruit.
Ultimately, LSU football fans must put their trust in the program regarding recruiting. Kelly and his staff seek players who address positional needs, are a cultural fit, and demonstrate potential.
What matters is the players LSU’s recruits become after arriving in Death Valley rather than what they appear to be in high school.
Indeed, a recruit’s star ratings don’t matter when they wear a Tigers’ helmet and start their first college camp.