Signing day often yields disappointing results

daniels    As national signing day approaches (Feb. 6), do yourself a favor.
    Don’t get too wrapped up in the hype.
    Four years ago, LSU’s recruiting class of 2009 consisted of four so called “five-star” recruits.
    Safety Craig Loston was top-ranked at his position in the country. After an assortment of injuries and false starts, Loston started 12 games in 2012. He will return for 2013.
    Wide receiver Russell Shepard began his college career as the No. 1 quarterback in his class. When he stepped out for his first practice, a host of reporters and TV cameras greeted him for what was to be the start of a stellar career.
    Shepard ended his time at LSU as a reserve. He will be best remembered for the grace and humility he showed during his senior season.
    Defensive lineman Chris Davenport was moved to offense. In 2012, he took 13 snaps. When starting left tackle Chris Faulk was lost to a season-ending knee injury, LSU instead plugged in guard Josh Dworacyzk at his spot. Davenport will finish his college football life at Tulane as a graduate student.
    Of all the five stars, wide receiver Rueben Randle came closest to fulfilling his enormous potential.
    Randle suffered from inconsistent quarterback play throughout his LSU career. But in 2011, he was a first-team All-SEC performer. Months later, Randle was a second-round selection of the New York Giants.
    Meantime, several of LSU’s three-star commitments from the class of 2009 have fared much better.
    On signing day four years ago, then John Ehret head coach Billy North weighed in on linebacker Lamin Barrow to LSU. “He’s going to be a very good player there,” North told a reporter. “Just watch.”
    In 2012, Barrow started all 13 games. He was LSU’s second-leading tackler. He also forced a fumble, recovered two fumbles, had five pass break ups, and five passes defended.
    Three-star recruit defensive tackle Benny Logan became an anchor on the Tiger line. Logan had 5.5 tackles for losses and blocked two kicks in 2012. He also wore the prestigious No. 18 jersey.
    The tradition of No. 18 started with quarterback Matt Mauck. The jersey number goes to the player who best represents the team, on and off the field.
    The best of the three stars was a player who was unsure of his position when he signed his national letter. His high school coach in Shreveport spoke glowingly of this player’s athletic ability and character.
    “He’s the last of the Mohicans,” said his coach.
    Three years later, this player was named a first-team All-America. In the BCS championship game, Alabama didn’t throw one pass his way.
    Several months later, cornerback Morris Claiborne was the sixth selection in the NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
    One of his coaches at Fair Park High School said Claiborne was always self-reliant.
    “Some kids waited for a ride to school,” said the coach. “Not Morris. He walked. He wanted to get to work.”
    “I always flew under radar,” said Claiborne.
    So much for those three stars.
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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