COLUMN: The Road to Acceptance

It might be hard to accept, but LSU's 2013 class might not finish the way most fans would like. Though some recruit's decisions will be hard to digest over the next couple weeks, take some pride in what LSU has already assembled.

LSU fans may face a harsh realization in the next couple weeks.

It's possible the Tigers don't add another commitment in the 2013 class. While some elite prospects remain available, LSU could potentially miss on each of their uncommitted targets, leaving the current 25-member class as the final product.

It's not an easy idea to grasp, but acceptance is the first step to recovery.

That could be tested as early as tomorrow, when five-star cornerback Priest Willis announces his college decision. Sure, LSU has a chance. The Tigers are considered one of the finalists along with UCLA and Arizona State.

But overcoming the Bruins would be quite the surprise, and despite the staff's best efforts, it just may not have been meant to be. The quicker you realize that, the easier it will be to move forward.

More names could fall by the wayside in the coming weeks. Robert Nkemdiche could opt to play with family at Ole Miss. Reuben Foster may return to Alabama. Tahaan Goodman might stay close to home with UCLA.

Unfortunately for LSU fans, most experts consider these the likelier outcomes. There's still some hope with guys like Tashawn Bower and Eddie Jackson high on LSU with official visits on the docket this week.

Those trips often prove more beneficial than not. But even a great time in Baton Rouge may not be enough — just ask Willis — and landing Bower or Jackson remains anything but a foregone conclusion.

But as LSU fans potentially drift into grief from these potential misses, I assure you there's plenty to hang your hat on.

The class already ranks in the top-five. The staff addressed a desperate need for tall wide receivers adding Avery Johnson, Quantavius Leslie and Kevin Spears. LSU found two elite quarterback prospects that actually have people optimistic about a position that has plagued the offense for years.

Don't forget the group of defensive linemen assembled, a haul that rivals that of the linebackers a year ago. And perhaps most importantly, LSU kept all of its top in-state talent (Tim Williams aside) within Louisiana's borders.

Saying that isn't good enough is like trashing a Ferrari because you wanted a Maserati. Sounds a bit greedy doesn't it?

There is always the chance for a surprise or two. It's naïve to believe the staff can't pull off an upset and get a signature from one of those longshot prospects mentioned before.

But if they don't, it's all going to be OK. It doesn't mean Les Miles has lost his edge in the recruiting game. It doesn't mean the staff is lazy or mismanaged. It doesn't mean LSU has fallen out of the ranks of elite programs.

Sometimes teenagers just want to go somewhere else.

It won't be easy to watch prospects on national television throw a purple and gold hat on the floor and don one of Crimson or Blue or Orange. You may have to mute your sound system when prospects start talking about the greatness of Nick Saban or the promise of Ole Miss.

But after those initial moments of rage, sadness, frustration or all of the above, look for the silver lining. There's certainly one there.

It might just be harder to find.


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