BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The honeymoons for major college football coaches are getting shorter and for newly hired LSU defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, there really is none at all.
With recruiting reopening Thursday and LSU just No. 17 in the latest rankings by Rivals.com, the tandem needs to quickly excel at their strength, which is bringing talented players to a powerhouse program.
"I don't recruit against anybody, never have," Steele said. "I recruit for LSU."
Steele coached two recent stints under Nick Saban at Alabama (2007-2008, 2013-2014) and was pivotal in the Crimson Tide stockpiling talent in Tuscaloosa. With LSU finishing 8-5 this season and unranked for the first time since 2008, it would be nice for Steele to continue such efforts in Baton Rouge.
"There's a difference in a staff meeting talking recruiting and then talking the internet talking recruiting. In terms of, the rankings and this guy is this and this guy is that, it's totally different in the staff room in that you're evaluating film and trying to find the best fit for what you do. Obviously, I don't think any video I've watched on a recruit and remember seeing any stars pop up and saying, 'I don't think we can take this guy. He's a two-star,'" Steele added.
The stocky and robust Orgeron landed a plethora of future NFL players at programs like USC, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Miami. It's been said the coach isn't afraid to go anywhere to get anybody.
"Well, you got to go in there with confidence and you have to believe in what you're representing," the gruff Orgeron said. "And, I believe in LSU. And, I believe in the great system they have here. I'm excited. And, it comes from the heart. You know, I'm not a big text guy or social media guy, but I go in there, find out who's the decision maker. Get to know them and represent LSU. And, being a good listener. I think being a good recruiter is being a good listener. If you listen long enough, they're going to tell you what they want and you deliver that."
But along with that, landing players in only half of the battle.
"I've had the chance to recruit several great defensive lineman. Not one has stepped off the bus, torn his shirt off and had an 'S' on his chest and started playing. It just doesn't happen that way. So, I'm looking forward to developing these great players," Orgeron explained.
Shea Dixon of LSU.247sports.com believes the Tigers can make a rally before signing day in early February. LSU is currently ranked No. 13 in his website's recruiting rankings.
"The best thing for LSU is all the schools ranked ahead of them, all 12, have more than 20 commitments," Dixon said. "LSU only has 16. So, as the numbers game shakes out, LSU is going to move up. I see another top 10 class for sure. And, depending on what kind of splash they make down the stretch, especially now with a guy like Orgeron on staff, I think it could be another top 5 class."
The Alabama Crimson Tide are still ranked No. 1 in most of the recruiting rankings. But, the Crimson Tide's loss to Ohio State in the CFP semifinals and then assistant coaches like Steele and Lance Thompson leaving for other jobs perhaps presents opportunity for LSU.
"LSU is at a point now where they've got their full staff in place for these next three weeks, while Alabama is still searching for coaches. LSU can immediately hit the ground running with a full staff and get into homes. It was huge that LSU got this deal done before this weekend," Dixon continued.
National Signing Day is February 4.