Recruiting Impact of losing John Chavis

John Chavis has now officially decided to leave LSU for Texas A&M. How will this affect the Tigers' recruiting efforts on the defensive side of the ball?

It’s impossible to ignore the impact losing John Chavis to Texas A&M will have on the recruiting front.

LSU became the one of the nation’s premier defensive programs due in large part to his leadership. His reputation appeals to recruits nationwide, and their interest in LSU oftentimes stems from the possibility of playing for him.

If there is a silver lining though, it’s that Chavis wasn’t as hands-on with recruits as most of the other assistants on the staff. Chavis was the lead recruiter for only a handful of recruits in the 2015 class, most of them coming from the state of Tennessee. His loss should have a direct impact though on a pair of defensive linemen.

Kyle Phillips will announce his commitment on Saturday, and LSU was considered the favorite as recently as 24 hours ago. Chavis played a large part in his recruitment, and you can expect Phillips to reconsider his options now that Chavis has left. Though Brick Haley does appear to be staying, Phillips will have a hard time selecting a school without a defensive coordinator as he’s set to enroll in just a couple weeks.

Phillips’ mother was expected to join him in San Antonio on Wednesday, and they will undoubtedly have a lot to discuss when it comes to LSU. Tennessee will probably now take the lead and figures to be the team he selects on Saturday.

That may have an effect on his close friend, Ugo Amadi, who just committed to the Tigers on Tuesday. Though Amadi has said Chavis played a large part in his decision to commit to LSU, he may not be as quick to drop the Tigers. His position coach, Corey Raymond, remains in Baton Rouge. But Amadi may decide to follow Phillips to Tennessee if that’s how it plays out. Amadi had said they were seriously considering playing for the same college, so fans will need to keep a close eye on the strength of his commitment.

Daylon Mack will be the other that should be impacted by Chavis’ decision. Though Steve Ensminger and Brick Haley lead the recruitment for him, not having a defensive coordinator will make him rethink things. Especially when you consider where Chavis is going.

A large factor in why Mack dropped his commitment to A&M was because the Aggies didn’t have a defensive coordinator. He loved LSU because of its defensive reputation, and you can imagine Chavis will help build the Aggies back up in his eyes.

One other recruit that Chavis did directly recruit was former Tennessee commit Dylan Jackson. Though he did have a strong relationship with the Jackson family, so does LSU director of player personnel Austin Thomas. That connection will still be there, and should help keep the Tigers in the mix, especially if Phillips does commit to Tennessee. The Vols’ recruitment of other DEs was considered a big reason why Jackson dropped his commitment in the first place.

You might expect LSU to take a hit in its recruitment of linebackers as well. The Tigers don’t have any commitments at that position, and Ole Miss commit Leo Lewis tops the list of targets. Frank Wilson has mostly led his recruitment though, so he shouldn’t be too affected by Chavis’ decision, but he will certainly be keeping a close eye on who his new position would be if he opted to go with LSU.

It is worth noting though that all three schools in contention for him — LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State — have lost their linebackers coaches, so they're all still on relatively equal footing.

Now some of these concerns on the recruiting front can be helped if LSU moves quickly in its search for a replacement. Though it’s nearly impossible for LSU to make a move before Phillips announces this weekend, the Tigers can have someone in place by the time the dead period ends.

The Tigers are set to have a big weekend of official visits on Jan. 16, with several defensive linemen and linebackers expected to be in town. A big hire, especially one with a strong background in recruiting, can help salvage LSU’s chances with its top targets and bring in some playmakers at key positions of need.

Premium members can head to the TSD Message Board at the link below to provide their opinions on how Chavis' departure will affect LSU on the recruiting front.

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