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.