Scooter Hobbs column: Draft proves recruiting isn’t LSU’s problem

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2022

It says something about how LSU’s football luck has been running lately that the Tigers, somewhat unexpectedly, had 10 — count ‘em, 10! — players taken in the most recent NFL draft festivities in Las Vegas.

If only what happens in Vegas really could stay in Vegas.

But, oh, The Hangover. The Tigers may never live it down.

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You’re thinking this should be a good thing, of course, another 10 feathers in the cap for the self-styled NFLSU.

It’s the kind of thing you’d normally parade on the internet, bang the drums, splash across billboards, beat upon chests, flash the bling, taunt your SEC neighbors and smirk all the way to the water cooler.

National champion Georgia dominated the thing with 15 picks, of course, five in the first round.

But LSU had the second most with the 10 spot.

And Bring on Bama — the Tide had only seven.

It no doubt will all be in the Tigers’ next recruiting brochure.

But it’s almost like LSU football needed to avoid eye contact and keep a low profile as one little, two little, three little … 10 little (and a lot of very big) Tigers in all had their names called.

You could almost see the program squirming in its seat as more and more names were called.

Meanwhile, the rest of the SEC — and we’re talking mostly fans here — seems to be having a ball with it, making great sport of LSU as a bit of a laughing stock.

Yeah, they’re rolling in the aisles at the irony of it, shaming a proud program left and right and mostly as the butt of the next joke.

Ten NFL-worthy players — and you went 6-7?

Shame on you.

Cajun Ed got fired for it halfway before the final results were in.

And this, remember, is a mere two years removed from arguably the best college team of all time residing in Tiger Stadium.

By the way, as long as we’re reminiscing, the final tally on that 2019 national championship team was that 19 of the 22 LSU starters were drafted. And you can make it 20 draftees if you count kicker Cade York.

No, kickers don’t normally get formally drafted by the NFL — most teams try to lure one away from bartending or golf hustling and take their chances.

Except at LSU, where innocent bystanders walking across the Quad are susceptible to getting picked by the Jets.

What other school has become a veritable pipe line — via the draft, not found driving for Uber — straight to the NFL riches for … deep snappers? Only at LSU.

Long Snapper U?

It is downright embarrassing.

It almost seems to have become a knee-jerk reaction among NFL executives. Clock running out — grab the next available Tiger.

It could be worse, you’d think.

The University of “We’re Back!” Texas, with the resources for football that Wisconsin has for cheese, had not one single Longhorn drafted.

That’s right, Bishop Sycamore had the same number of football players drafted as the Ey-yikes of Texas did. That was one less than Lenior-Rhyne.

But apparently it’s not nearly as funny as going 6-7 while encumbered with 10 NFL draft picks.

Well, that’s not the real problem here. There is a rebuttal.

If the one-liners ever stop, it’s worth noting that of those 10 latest draftees, only four played in the Texas Bowl side show against Kansas State.

LSU was drawing straws to come up with a quarterback, let alone a secondary.

Various reasons. Injuries, opt-outs, business decisions. The NCAA transfer portal kidnapped a few who will one day be drafted.

Three of the four who showed were offensive linemen — Ed Ingram, Austin Deculus, Chasen Hines — and the other was York, the kicker.

The star of the class, cornerback Derek Stingley, you’ll remember, played in three games all year and wasn’t really himself as nagging injuries in those cameos kept him from looking much like the draft’s No. 3 overall pick.

Defensive lineman Andre Anthony also got in only three games.

The other four could have played. So if there’s a culture change new head coach Brian Kelly needs to make, it’s not recruiting — LSU evidently has no problem getting them there — it’s in keeping them in the purple and gold to, you know, play the games.

If not, what’s next? Pretty soon the Vikings might get bored and draft the Tigers’ drum major, just on a whim.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at