Q&A: Frank Wilson

LSU assistant Frank Wilson discusses recruiting for the future, combatting rivals for Louisiana talent and how much pressure's on Leonard Fournette in this Q&A.

LSU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson was one of three Tiger football assistants participating in the Tiger Tour fundraiser stop Wednesday in Baton Rouge. That afforded TSD an opportunity to catch up with the man in charge of building LSU's recruiting classes, which includes the nation's second-ranked class in 2014.

Wilson discusses how the evaluation period has gone thus far, how to combat out-of-state rivals from invading Louisiana, and how much pressure is on Leonard Fournette and the rest of the incoming freshmen to contribute immediately.

Q: How has the evaluation period gone thus far?

WILSON: "The first two weeks went really well. We got a chance to see some of our national guys, and we were also able to hit every school in the state of Louisiana. We came back in to regroup, and now we're off into the final two weeks to finish up as we attend jamborees and spring games."

Q: A lot's made of schools like Alabama and Texas A&M taking players from Louisiana. Has that affected your recruiting blueprint and how do you combat that?

WILSON: "[Our footprint's] still expanding. We're going to do what we do. We start inside with the state of Louisiana, and then we expand our brand outward. We are a national brand now, and we welcome that. We don't shy away from going after the best players in the state of Louisiana, and if a kid from Louisiana has a desire to go out of state, we'll fight for him, but if not, we'll move outside the state and get guys like Patrick Peterson."

Q: What are your expectations for Leonard Fournette this season?

WILSON: "I expect him to transition. This summer's going to be huge for him. He'll come in and learn the system. He'll work hard and I expect him to come in and do the things in the weight room to put himself in position to compete for a starting job. We have two quality backs here that have experience, Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee, and we expect Leonard to compete with those guys, nothing more, nothing less."

Q: Is there too much pressure on guys like Fournette and some of these other incoming freshmen to have an immediate impact?

WILSON: "Not from my perspective. We want pressure on them because they're not asked to carry the team. They're asked to come in, embrace our philosophy and the things we're doing from a schematic standpoint and transition into being a college student. Attrition with the NFL and graduation come into effect, so some of them are asked to play, but no more than would have been asked to play in the past. We've had guys play young in Coach Miles' entire tenure, and they'll continue to play roles and some of them will step up and be starters. But we have quality people on this team, 85 scholarship players and they won't have to do it by themselves."

Q: LSU has obviously come to be known for playing freshmen. When did that reputation start to develop and how much does it help when it comes to recruiting?

WILSON: "With Patrick Peterson and the following year with Morris Claiborne, then in the Class of 2010 it really hit because we had three guys in the secondary because so many spread defenses came and we played a lot of nickel and dime. Tyrann Mathieu, Tharold Simon and Eric Reid all took the field, so probably in that class it hit a high point from that point on. These guys have relished in it and look forward to the opportunity to contribute as freshmen, and we like it."

Q: Those speedy pass rushers is also something that's become common at LSU, and it's really become a trend in all of college football. Is that type of defensive end something you recruit for?

WILSON: "We've always asked for that type of guy, whether it was Keke [Mingo] or Danielle Hunter. We've always wanted a guy that had a burst about him in his pass rushing ability, that was tall with long levers that can create problems for offensive tackles. We have a prototype at each position group, and we try to stay by that standard."


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