Latest on LSU’s Roster

As mentioned earlier in the week, Cody Worsham at Dig Magazine has been working on a piece on LSU and oversigning. 

As of press time, LSU is currently committed to 90 scholarship players for the 2011 season, including 24 signees for the incoming recruiting class.

To make matters worse, the Tigers are on a self-imposed two-scholarship reduction resulting from recruiting violations by former assistant coach D.J. McCarthy.

Consequently, LSU must meet marks of 83 and 23, respectively – which means seven players total, including at least two from the 2011 class, must go before fall camp.

Who those seven may be remains a mystery. LSU is keeping quiet on the subject.

“There’s a lot that could change before the team reports to camp and the start of the fall semester,” associate athletics director Michael Bonnette told Dig. “There’s nothing that we can say at this point regarding the number of players on the roster because those numbers are fluid and could change.”


This is one of the more baffling elements to oversigning and roster management in general.  Schools go way out of their way to make sure everyone knows exactly who they sign on national signing day. It's all part of the hype and the fanfare.   Alabama takes it so far as to run a webcam on the fax machine and post the names of the players as their signed LOI's come in and schools around the country hold special press conferences to highlight the players and introduce them to the media, but when asked later in the summer, as the deadline to get to 85 approaches, schools and coaches stonewall and don't want to comment on anything, and that is not just SEC schools, Ohio State did the same thing when we asked them to share their numbers.  Obviously there are certain things they are prohibited from commenting on, but there is nothing to stop them from sharing numbers.

The other troubling part is that LSU's athletic director believes a lot can change between now and the start of fall camp.  Fall camp is only a couple of weeks away, shouldn't rosters be settled by now or at least settled to the point where there is an explanation for the numbers?

Regardless, it's obvious that there are some spots that will need to be cleared up between now and the deadline for LSU to get to their max limit of 83.

On a somewhat positive note, it does appear that LSU tried to improve its communication with the players a little bit.  This is still not enough as most agree that grayshirt offers really need to be explicit, agreed upon on NSD, and shouldn't depend on the enrollment of another recruit falling through or a roster cut to make space.  For example, Ohio State and Cardale Jones agreed to a grayshirt offer when Cardale signed in February and despite 3 slots opening up since that time, Jones is still going to grayshirt.  This is because the main reason behind his grayshirt was to create separation between him and the others at his position, not because Ohio State wanted to sign him and keep him away from other teams while waiting for a slot to open up in the current class.  This was planned grayshirting; LSU is using the grayshirting as a buffer to make sure they don't go over 85.  Nevertheless, it is an improvement over how they treated Elliott Porter.

Still, even subtracting those five, LSU would need to axe two more scholarships in total to reach 83. Who those two will be is anyone’s guess, but LSU is promising they won’t repeat the same mistakes that they did with Porter last year.

“We’ve been very transparent with the kids this year,” Alleva said to Gannett Sports. “Around February, we told a few kids who may be grayshirted, and that’s okay. I think it’s a bad thing if you surprise the kid. It was accidental last year with Les (and Porter), but I didn’t like it.”

Overall Cody did a great job of explaining oversigning and providing a great update on LSU's situation. It would be nice if the NCAA would step in and regulate the grayshirt process so that it is clearly defined on NSD and so there is insurance for the student-athlete that his spot be available next January and also so that recruits that sign on NSD are not asked at the last minute to take a grayshirt because the school doesn't have the numbers.

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  1. Greyshirting is inconsequential. LSU will likely have someone greyshirt and I’d be willing to bet it’s the guy who didn’t play football last year because he was in an alternative school or someone else for a reason along those lines. I do agree that the fact that they can make that decision after possibly getting through the grapevine reports on summer workouts and whatnot it not in line with how I’d like our program run. But I don’t think greyshirting is a big deal unless it’s an Elliot Porter type situation and not communicated. That being said, here’s some info…

    It’s possible we may get a 2 scholarship reprieve through the NCAA.
    It’s possible 2 signees don’t qualify.
    1 signee went to an alternative school and did not play football last year.
    1 signee signed on very late in the process and IMO, should be the first to greyshirt.
    Cameron Fordham has to count towards this class so no more than 22 of the signees can come on campus.

    From what I understand, we’ll get a few back, we’ll tell one or two to wait, and then five people will fail a drug test or quit football or miss momma or any number of things 20 year olds deal with. We’ll end up below the 85 limit like we were most of last year and Elliot Porter, a walk on, will be given the extra scholarship.

    • ?From what I understand, we’ll get a few back, we’ll tell one or two to wait, and then five people will fail a drug test or quit football or miss momma or any number of things 20 year olds deal with. We’ll end up below the 85 limit like we were most of last year and Elliot Porter, a walk on, will be given the extra scholarship.”

      This happens at every school where a kid will leave the team because he misses mama or fail a drug test but most schools dont make up reasons to kick kids out in order to make room for the oversigned kids on their roster.

  2. Since not everyone will click the link and read the entire article:

    One of those cases includes former LSU offensive lineman Max Holmes, a Saban recruit from the Class of 2005.

    Saban initially signed Holmes as a part of LSU’s 2004 signing class, but beforehand offered Holmes the option to grayshirt, mentioning the benefits an additional year of eligibility might offer him.

    Holmes willingly accepted, and though the initial year on a grayshirt was challenging, he called the process “a blessing.” The extra year of eligibility allowed him essentially six years of college football, and it was in that sixth year that Holmes – who transferred to Stephen F. Austin after Saban left LSU – won the Southland Conference title and earned All-Conference and Student-Athlete of the Year honors.

    Holmes said, by not forcing him into the grayshirt or springing it on him at the last second, Saban made the process a positive one.

    “Done correctly, grayshirting can be a good tool,” he said. “I love LSU, so I said I’d choose to come to LSU and still sit out a year, and that was right for me.”

    “If it’s done in an unethical manner, it’s not good for the kids or coaches. But if it’s done right, it can be an efficient tool for both parties,” he said.

    • vesper,
      It is apparent that Saban has brainwashed him. Everyone… PLEASE THINK OF THE KIDS!

    • Greyshirting worked for one person. CLEARLY, it will work for all people. Elliot Porter was just a fool. The key there being WILLINGLY ACCEPTED.

      • Strawman arguements. No where did I say that it would work for all people, that Porter was a fool, or that greyshirts should be forced on someone unwillingly.

        • I’m just pointing out the uselessness of your post. I don’t think anyone has a problem with this point

          “Holmes said, by not forcing him into the grayshirt or springing it on him at the last second, Saban made the process a positive one”

          The point of reigning in oversigning is to prevent situations like Elliot Porter’s from ever happening. Its not to prevent any greyshirting whatsoever. But you would seemingly equate the two.

          • How did I equate the two?

            I quoted that section of the article as an FYI for anyone who might be interested. If it doesn’t interest you, then so be it.

          • Luke,
            I did not find the post useless. It also adds another positive data point to Saban’s record.

            Also, I’m not sure that everyone appreciates you speaking for them. I don’t think that everyone agrees with you on the greyshirting issue.

  3. And since you mentioned coaches having NSD press conferences, I’ll throw this out there.

    Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson had this to say at his PC:

    We sat down and saw what we needed to do and what we needed to get in a class. We felt like we could sign 14, we ended up signing 12. There are still a couple out there that we’re looking at as time goes on in different areas


    Arizona State wound up signing 21 according to their official web page:

    So add Arizona State to the list of teams that have oversigned in the last few years. A list that includes Washington, Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Rutgers, South Florida, Virginia, Florida State, Miami, Clemson, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, and let’s not forget Ohio State in football and basketball.

    Like you said in the article, oversigning is largely an SEC problem.

    • I will post this on twitter and see if I can get some ASU writers that follow them closely to comment and follow up. Good find.

    • I assume you mean not just largely an SEC problem. Didn’t see that in this article.

      • no, he is just reiterating that Josh tries to make a point that oversigning is largely an SEC problem, and that it doesnt hardly happen outside of the SEC. which anyone can see is obviously not true.

      • Quote attributed to Josh in the article: “Oversigning is largely an SEC problem”

        I was using sarcasm to counter that claim.

        Keep challenging everything I post though; you’re bound to be right eventually.

        • That quote does not appear in this article. SEC is only mentioned once in this article, in reference to OSU. Please to back and read it. That quote that you had did not come from this article. I’m sorry I don’t feel any need to keep score like you do, but hey, if you think you’re winning, good for you!

          • I’m talking about the linked article that this blog entire blog entry is based on: http://digbatonrouge.com/article/gray-areas-2426/

            This is taken from about half way down the article:

            Joshua found little surprising about the Miles-Porter fiasco, geographically speaking.

            “Oversigning is largely an SEC problem,” he said.

          • Vesper never said anything about keeping score, he just pointed out that you seem to dispute everything he posts. If one were to keep score, however, vesper would be winning and it wouldn’t even be close…

  4. Hey guys, Dig writer here. A few comments:

    1) Thanks to Joshua for his time. Unfortunately, due to space issues, I had to cut a lot of our interview down. To clarify on the SEC issue, Joshua had also said that, while largely an SEC problem, oversigning occurred elsewhere, too. I simply chose the part of the quote that best fit our readers (we are based in Baton Rouge).

    2) Max provided a key insight I think we can all agree on. Greyshirting in and of itself is not an evil. It was a blessing for Max. Done right, it can be very effective. But it must be regulated so that it cannot be sprung on kids unwillingly.

    Any other questions, let me know. Again, thanks to Joshua, and sorry that we had to use so little of the fantastic feedback you provided. Even that which was not quoted drew largely from the knowledge and insight your answers provided.

  5. Bottom line LSU has to find spots for the additional recruits who they dont have spots for, that in itself should prove oversigning is an evil.

    • Yeah… and drunk driving sometimes causes death… which proves that cars are evil. Thanks, BetterRED, for your stunning addition to the field of logic.

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