While the LSU coaching staff is in the final leg of filling its highly ranked 2013 class, 2014 promises to be a banner year in football recruiting with the stockpile of Louisiana talent. The nation’s top running back prospect Leonard Fournette plays right down the road in New Orleans, and much of the talk on message boards revolves around whether it will be LSU or Alabama that will land the 5-star recruit.
This is one reason why Saturday’s news was such a surprise.
Kain Daub, considered by 24/7 recruiting service the No. 1 middle linebacker prospect in the country, surprised even Coach Miles himself when he committed to playing football for the Tigers.
Daub is LSU’s first commitment of the 2014 class.
“Wow, you just made my day,” Daub said of Miles’ response.
The 6’3, 245-pound linebacker is ranked the No. 1 overall prospect in the talent-rich state of Florida, No. 6 overall in the country. Despite his prototype middle-linebacker build, Daub is not yet satisfied with his body.
“I would like to lose maybe 15 pounds so I can play the will (line) backer spot,” Daub said.
It is always difficult to trust any young person’s word nowadays in recruiting, with high school players changing verbal commitments and the fact that other coaches do not stop recruiting players just because they give their pledge to someone else. Just last week this year’s top linebacker Reuben Foster switched his commitment from Alabama to cross-state rival Auburn and didn’t seem the least guilty about it.
This is the aspect of recruiting that has gotten out of hand and makes it difficult on sportswriters to have to report this as news.
But with Daub, you watch him speak of his commitment and you see a young kid as you should. You don’t see a pre-Madonna just looking to latch on early to some team, any team, “just in case” something better doesn’t materialize down the road.
You actually see, dare I say it, a bit of humility.
“It just shows that there’s top athletes from all around,” said Daub when asked about how it feels to be playing on the Bootlegger All-Star team in Baton Rouge. “No matter what city you live in or what state, there’s always going to be top athletes around. It was just a pleasure to come out here and play with kids I didn’t even know and we still connected so good.”
Daub was being recruited by all the top schools in the country, including Alabama and Florida. But there was something special about the atmosphere at LSU, and he knew it right away.
“I just came here on a last note, and I just loved it, how they treated me. I called them in the morning and they just made a way and made sure I was going to be taken care of when I got here. I just felt like home and like it was family when I got here.”
“I just love it and it’s something I want to be a part of.”
It is a quality of Les Miles and the expectations he brings to his coaching staff that more and more top flight recruits are falling in love with the “family-type atmosphere” of the LSU program. Corey Raymond, Daub’s chief recruiter, and Frank Wilson, LSU’s recruiting coordinator, also deserve credit for buying into Miles’ approach and landing such a talent this early in the recruiting game. “Family atmosphere” is not something you hear as a reason for recruits choosing a certain school down the road in Tuscaloosa.
“Every day I wake up with what college I want to go to, what coach is telling me this, what coach is lying to me, what coach keeps it real with me. Now I don’t have to go through that process anymore. I can just call my (LSU) coaches now and talk to them every day instead of having to worry about having to talk to so many coaches every day.”
Sounds like a kid who tries to filter what he hears from college coaches. Hopefully this is a quality that he holds strong to in the next year and a half, and if he does, he just might turn out to be one of those special players that come around only every so often. Don’t think that good coaches like Saban don’t know this, and don’t think that just because Daub is happy about not having to talk to anyone else that the chase for his official commitment has stopped.
I feel sorry for a kid like Daub who thinks that it has.