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Losing an ace recruiter to LSU is a bad look for Gus Malzahn

Welcome to The Crootletter (sign up to get this in your inbox every morning!). I'm Bud Elliott, SB Nation's National Recruiting Analyst, and in this space I'll be sharing news, rumors and musings on the world of college football recruiting.

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The big commitment of the weekend wasn't a recruit, but rather a coach.

LSU stole a great recruiter from division rival Auburn in Dameyune Craig, who will now coach receivers. Craig is a Mobile, Ala. native and will be an ace in that area. He also has experience recruiting Florida, another key area for the Tigers.

My initial thought is that perhaps Craig is leaving for a more stable job, but while LSU did have a much better season than Auburn, both staffs are on warm seats. After all, LSU's boosters did try to lead a coup to fire Les Miles last year.

I wonder if the co-OC title Craig held at Auburn was a title in name only, without any path to becoming a playcaller, or if Craig's relationship with the staff at his alma mater was rocky? The chatter is that there was nothing "co" about the split between Craig and Gus Malzahn protege Rhett Lashlee.

Perhaps it has to do with the style of offenses the schools run? Running the spread option, Auburn doesn't exactly do much in the passing game. For a former QB coaching receivers, even the run-first LSU offense is a step up in terms of coaching those two positions, whether he has input in the offense or not.

From the outside looking in, this appears to be a lateral move, and one that probably will not play well for head coach Gus Malzahn's image.

I do feel for the players who picked Auburn two weeks ago because of Craig, but I don't see a great solution to this problem. Coaches and parents need to pound the message to pick a school and not just a relationship with a coach.

Plus, LSU hosted its annual "Boys from the Boot" weekend. The Tigers do a great job keeping elite recruits in the state, and ATVS has a rundown of the top recruits in attendance, including two commitments for 2017 and two for 2018.


Clemson picked up a four-star receiver from Tennessee in Amari Rodgers. I think the Tigers' receiving class might be the nation's best in 2017.

Five-star linebacker Baron Browning's commitment to Baylor lasted about seven months.

I expect UTSA's recruiting will get a lot better under Frank Wilson, who was an ace on the trail for LSU.

Five-star cornerback Shaun Wade, of Jacksonville (Fla.) says he is solid in his commitment to Ohio State, but schools like Florida and Florida State are recruiting him like he's uncommitted.

Let's read some scouting reports on top Michigan targets like QB Dylan McCaffrey (the younger brother of Christian) and athlete Greg Johnson.


If you're a recent signup or missed a day, that's okay. I link my previous Crootletters in this section.

This read on the challenges of recruiting at Penn State and how James Franklin and his staff are trying to overcome is well worth your time.

I discussed how winning early in a head coaching tenure can hurt recruiting due to perception of trajectory.

2016's running back recruit crop was not very good. 2017's is very promising.