What Do LSU Football Coaches Look for in Recruits? – Sports Illustrated

Frank Wilson has hit on countless recruits in his career at LSU, all of whom come from different backgrounds and walks of life. 
Just take a minute to think about some of the elite players Wilson has recruited to Baton Rouge. Tyrann Mathieu, Leonard Fournette, Jarvis Landry, Donte Jackson, Ethan Pocic, Devin White, Jeremy Hill, Darrel Williams, Deion Jones  or most recently Harold Perkins just to name a few. Through each and every recruiting battle, Wilson has discovered that there is certainly no template that is universal in discovering a special talent. 
There are different individual goals, family makeup and how they've been raised are all important aspects to connecting with players. That's what Wilson sees his job as first and foremost, connecting with players and their families and then making his pitch as to why the LSU program is the fit for them. 
The most important aspect is to listen to what each recruit and his family want out of the college experience and give them a blueprint on how it can be accomplished.
"This is what you want and this is how we'll help you get it and this is how we've done it so you know we have experience in helping young men's dreams become a reality," Wilson said. "This is the strength of LSU, this is the process and upon your last game and upon graduation, this is how powerful the LSU family is well beyond the fans cheering and patting you on the back. We'll still be there for you."
It's a really broad direction in helping establish a foundation of a relationship, allowing then to get into the nitty gritty of how the player fits positionally with the program. As an elite recruiter of offensive line talent in the country, there are three main aspects that Brad Davis looks for in high schoolers. One of course is the physical or in other words being big, fast and strong and another is a toughness aspect to the player. 
Often during recruiting Davis finds those two aspects to be the easiest to tell upon scouting but it isn't until Davis is in front of a recruit and having a conversation that he learns about the player's third most critical trait, the mental side of the game. Davis knows it's unfair to judge a high school recruit on his knowledge of the o-line because that's not something that many are taught in high school.
So much of getting to college is learning the nuances of each position and the smart ways to gain an edge while in high school it's very much relying on the physical and toughness traits. A player's willingness and work ethic to learn the mental side of the position they play pertains to every position, not just the o-line. It's key to attack that development in college and is arguably the most important trait to hit on with a high school recruit.
"Very few o-linemen receive the o-line education in high school that they do in college. That's from a technical standpoint, it's schematic, learning play styles, understanding the defensive side of the game, effectively communicate," Davis said. "That piece of it is big." 
Another offensive example and one of the most important positions on the field is the quarterback room. Coach Joe Sloan, who is working closely with the quarterbacks, looks for a number of key traits in a high school prospect and much like Davis with the o-line, what the mental and emotional makeup of the player is very important. 
"What type of leadership do they possess? What type of confidence do they possess? How are they gonna overcome adversity?" Sloan said. "It's a natural leadership and vocal position. 
"From a physical trait stand point, accuracy, feet and athleticism, ability to throw the ball from different angles. It's a decision making position and that's the hardest thing to evaluate physically. Those are things you can research as much as possible in what they're being asked to do in their high school offense and evaluate off that."
As LSU moves into a new coaching era, having these recruiters and coaches selling the vision of the Tigers football program in lock unison is the ultimate objective. With elite recruiting classes inside and out of the Louisiana borders, having long term success will have to mean branching out to find the best fits and being able to relate to players with different goals and aspirations.
Glen West has been with LSUCountry for over a year now, covering the Tigers 2019 championship run. Devoted to bringing top notch football, basketball, baseball and recruiting content to all LSU fans.


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