When you look at Larry Porter’s time at LSU, the list of big-time pulls is impressive.
In his first full season on the recruiting trail in Baton Rouge, Porter was credited with landing both Charles Scott and Keiland Williams – local talents tabbed as two of the best backs in the country.
In 2007, Porter missed out on five-star Joe McKnight, but his snags of in-state five-stars Chad Jones and Terrance Tolliver – both ranked as the No. 1 player at their respective position.
The next year, Porter was the driving force behind eight of LSU’s commitments - including quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
In 2009, Porter brought another banner year.
There was Craig Loston, the nation’s No. 1 safety, as well as cousin Russell Shepard, the nation’s No. 2 quarterback.
Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who most felt would be a Tiger, delayed his announcement hours upon end last February before finally going public with his decision to join the Tide.
Richardson said it was the toughest decision of his life, and the desire to come to play in Death Valley was all through the work of Porter.
This season, Porter’s only running back target is Hahnville’s Alfred Blue – who remains uncommitted, though his list has been narrowed to LSU and Ole Miss.
On Sunday, five-star running back prospect Lache Seastrunk said that he was unsure where LSU stood without Porter on staff.
“To be honest, I can’t answer that right now,” he said. “He was one of the reasons I liked LSU, because I would have liked to play for him.”
For the 2011 class, most Tiger fans have had their eye on a pair of in-state backs that have blossomed into two of the elite runners in the nation: Patterson High’s Kenny Hilliard and Redemptorist High’s Jeremy Hill.
Hill committed to LSU after receiving an offer in September.
On Sunday, Hill said that he was shocked by the news, but he would await the hire of a replacement before moving away from his commitment.
After the news settled in for Hilliard on Sunday night, the four-star Louisiana native said that he remained in disbelief.
“It is really crazy for me, because coach Porter was becoming like family,” he said.
Without Porter on staff, where do the Tigers stand?
“LSU is still right up top for me, but this happened pretty suddenly, so I need to sit back and think everything out for a good while,” Hilliard said. “When Jeremy [Hill] and I were talking last week, we felt like everything was just rumors. When we heard that he was really gone, it was a low moment.”
The next step for Hilliard mirrors that of Hill.
“I am going to just lay low and wait for the LSU staff to call me and let me know what is happening,” Hilliard said. “Jeremy and I talked about how the big thing is who the team hires to replace coach Porter, because those are big shoes to fill.
“He is a really good dude, and a big reason why I liked LSU so much this early.”
With offers from Tennessee, Miami, and others, there remains uncertainty as to whether LSU will maintain the lead in the race for Hilliard’s signature – which won’t come until February of 2011.
What is certain is that without Porter, the Tigers have some big recruiting shoes to fill.