LSU has its work ahead of it not only in the field in the first year under Brian Kelly, but also on the recruitment sidewalk. Looking to the future of the program, there are great needs in several positions, and recruitment coordinator Brian Polian will be one of many who will make these decisions.
According to Polian, part of what the class will look like will be dictated by the NCAA. There are three schools of thought that Polian and Tigre are ready to implement when this decision is finally made.
Will the program go back to 25 initial scholarships or approach 32, as it was in class in 2022, including settling up to seven transfers from the program? Or the NCAA comes up with a decision that says take as many initials as you want, just have 85 scholarships by the start of the season.
“We are ready for all three scenarios. It is unlikely that if the number returns to 25 initials, there will be schools like us who say I can return to a full 85 if I have only 25 initials allowed,” Polian said. “When I try to set up our board, identify our needs, I feel like we’re really in the right place there.”
Polian says the program did not have “pulling cattle” on campus, referring to the huge number of visitors from the 2023 class in the first few weeks of the open season. Instead, the program was very selective for players who came to visit during the last three weeks, with a strong focus on the upper tier players, the targeted players that the program follows.
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“I don’t panic that we only have a handful of commitments so far,” Polian said. “I think it will accelerate here over the next four to six weeks. We have prepared for some summer visits, but I feel we are in pace. The evaluation process has been really thorough and the coaches have been fantastic.”
This will be the class defined by freshmen, especially after 14 transfers during the 2022 recruitment cycle to this point. Building in the future should be a goal for recruiters, as Polian noted that the team could be behind eight balls next year, with several of these transfers likely to move after a year with the program.
“The fight for us is to sign the class before our subclasses sign up for the NFL, and then we still have boys going to the portal,” Polian said. “So how do you really address your needs until you exceed those deadlines?”
In this class, he will focus on the depth along the attack line and the secondary line, especially in the corner. With only two commitments in the 2023 class so far, one tight end and one wide receiver, it will be very necessary to find more impressive players along the o-line and cornerback groups if the program is to return to a consistent victory.
How this 2023 class will eventually come together will depend on many factors, but there are contingency plans for all scenarios for Polian and LSU.
“I think in areas where we felt we were going to take more players, we know we’re going to take at least four offensive players,” Polian said. “It’s always smooth. Academics, the transfer portal, all these things can change the scenarios. We set our priorities quite early and I think they are true at the moment.”