There have been others of note, of
course. Their names dot pro rosters all over, from Kevin Faulk to Marie
Ferdinand to Stromile Swift. There have been Olympians and other stars in their
Until last week, just two, however,
had created quite the stir in those two decades that we saw emanating from a
place called East St.
More recently, the most attention
went to Seimone Augustus, the product of Capitol High
School in Baton
Rouge whom LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said at the
time was the most important recruit in school history. I'm not making that
Augustus is really good. LSU now
has the best women's basketball team in the land. And the Lady Tigers play at
home in front of the biggest crowds the school has ever seen for their sport.
Bertman, obviously, was right, with an asterisk.
Before Augustus came Josh Booty,
the product of Evangel Christian in Shreveport who turned down LSU to play baseball
for the Florida Marlins. But the curve ball was a big problem and Booty
ultimately chose to give college football a shot. When the quarterback did, LSU
actually staged a news conference for him when he showed up on
There was something oddly eerie
about that day, much like Booty's career at LSU.
Anyway, fast forward to the past
few months, when a young man from Reserve named Ryan Perrilloux announced that
his commitment to the University of Texas was no longer a hard commitment but
a soft commitment and that he would make visits to other schools, not the least
of which was LSU.
Somewhere during that time a couple
of things happened. Most significant, evidently, was that former LSU assistant
coach Mike Haywood, then recruiting coordinator at Texas, bolted for his
alma mater, Notre Dame, where he is now offensive coordinator.
Haywood was, apparently, the main
link for Perrilloux to Texas, not its great
academic status, nor wonderful Austin environment, nor head coach Mack Brown,
nor its longstanding football tradition.
So Perrilloux basically said "game
on" and bring it on and LSU did. Especially after Nick Saban left for the Miami Dolphins. New coach Les Miles made Perrilloux Chore 1. He went to see him right
away and courted him right up to the time his signed fax arrived at LSU on
And Miles made no secret of how
excited he was.
He praised Perrilloux's on-field
abilities and recognized that he was important in helping LSU sign other
Miles felt great for a few reasons,
not the least of which was he signed an important big-name player who helped
round out what earlier in the week looked as if might be an average class at
best. And he beat out Texas' Brown for a big-name recruit, which is
no easy thing. Texas usually gets what
That's why his detractors, usually Texas fans, call Brown "Coach February," since
he's such a recruiting master. If only he could beat Oklahoma.
Now that Miles is at LSU and not at
Oklahoma State, he doesn't have to worry about UT or Oklahoma anymore except
This whole recruiting thing has
changed so much. Twenty years ago, it was rare that a kid held a news conference
to announce his college choice. Sure, they had signings at school and still do,
but it wasn't big news except in rare cases. Now, with the recruiting frenzy
that has spawned websites and recruiting gurus and Bayou Bashes, it's a science
of its own.
Of course, it's an inexact science.
Schools are wrong about some kids, more right than they realized on some others,
and rarely does a recruiting class show in reality five years later what it was
predicted to do on the day the kids signed.
The joke in the South used to be
that there were two sports, football and spring football. Heck, LSU isn't even
having a spring game this year, so it must football, recruiting and, I guess
women's basketball. After all, Bertman never said Perrilloux was the most
important recruit in LSU history.
Feinswog is the author of "Tales From The LSU Sidelines," a
sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225)
926-3256 or email@example.com.