To my way of thinking, college football's early national signing period has served its purpose.

As it regards the public health and well being, it's addition by division, splitting the hysteria outbreaks into two separate but on balance less pressing and stressful periods to restock the various varsities.

The December head start isn't the most convenient timing, not with the way it gets in the way of all the bowl excitement. But it has served to render the traditional February Signing Day — today, I believe it is — into somewhat less of a national emergency.

In most cases, it could be judged as fairly anticlimactic.

And that can't be anything but good for the USA.

Still, it can't be ignored, as it's still true that recruiting, no matter how many levels in which it fails as a spectator sport, is and always will be the lifeblood of any program.

No players, no playoffs.

But my feelings haven't really changed — the sausage making is best left up to the true professionals, the staff and coaches who specialize in the inexact science of reading the whims and potential of 17-year-old know-it-alls.

Take LSU's Ed Orgeron, for instance, who famously leaves room for at least one more cup of grandma's gumbo for each recruiting visit.

He was still wallowing in confetti from the national championship when he mentioned that he couldn't wait to get back out on that recruiting trail.

There was still work to do, and Orgeron was known as a great recruiter long before overnight he became a great coach who nobody is chuckling at anymore.

Like most, LSU got the bulk of the recruiting haul done in December, even while preparing to run Oklahoma and Clemson out of separate domes en route to the big prize.

Best we can figure, LSU signed 19 in the early period, leaving six spots available to be spoken for today.

This year's class, as is, was rated No. 4 in the country by every online service I could Google. The pecking order seems to have the Tigers right behind Georgia, Clemson or Alabama and just ahead of Ohio State, which isn't bad company to be keeping if you're trying to prove this year's College Football Playoff run wasn't a fluke. LSU beat all three ranked ahead of it this year, so perhaps just staying the neighborhood is reward enough.

But if you're really into the minutiae between, say, No. 4 and No. 2 ­— and you really shouldn't sweat it — apparently it's close enough for some upward mobility today.

LSU has five commitments for those six spots today, but it could get complicated with two other huge fish the Tigers still have their eyes on.

It tends to work itself out. Given the intrigue and drama of the day, there's no guarantee that all of the five non-binding commitments will sign.

"We're after two of the top defensive linemen in the country right now," Orgeron said in an interview with a New Orleans radio station Monday night.

The most intriguing is five-star defensive end Jordan Burch out of Columbia, South Carolina, who was supposed to sign with South Carolina in December but didn't ­— and apparently hasn't ruled out the Tigers.

The other is four-star defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson out of Lucedale, Mississippi, who is expected to sign with Alabama — "strong lean," is the working phrase.

If Orgeron was to land both, one of the five presumed to be signing might be left out of the musical chairs game — four-star defensive back Dwight McGlothern of Klein Oak, Texas; three-star defensive tackle CamRon Jackson of Haynesville; three-star wide receiver Alex Adams of Magnolia, Mississippi, four-star defensive back Lorando Johnson of Lancaster, Texas; four-star running back Kevontre Bradford, a teammate of Johnson's in the Dallas suburb.

Plus, the prudent thing these days is to keep a spot open for an unsuspecting graduate transfer, just in case there's a Joe Burrow out there in June threatening to fall into your lap.

That's not likely to happen again.

But you can't judge too quickly or get too caught up in the "stars."

Three years ago, the last player signed by the Tigers (only because LSU lost out on somebody else at the last minute) was a wide receiver named Justin Jefferson, who turned out pretty well. There were internet grumblings that he was only signed because he was legacy, with two older brothers preceding him. Now he has a chance to be a first-round NFL draft pick after three years of seasoning.

The year before that the afterthought was Lloyd Cushenberry, the glue of an offensive line that was voted the best in the country. He was the junior this year who the coaching staff was desperately hoping (unsuccessfully) they could lure back for his senior season.

The year before?

Tight end Foster Moreau was last man in for the 2015 class. He recently finished an encouraging rookie season with the Oakland Raiders despite toiling at LSU before the Tigers' new offense discovered the tight end.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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