LSU head coach Ed Orgeron wants to keep Louisiana prospects either at LSU or Louisiana’s other universities. How he’s going about that has caught the attention of schools as big as Texas and as small as Division III Belhaven University.
“We want to keep Louisiana in Louisiana,” Orgeron told SB Nation Wednesday.
LSU is exhorting other Louisiana schools to keep programs like Texas and Michigan from on-campus camps. In turn, LSU is camping with every Louisiana school it can, from old rival Tulane to FCS programs like Nicholls State.
“When we do our camps in Louisiana, we have a representation of 10 other colleges in Louisiana,” he said. “And it’s affordable so that every young man in the state of Louisiana who wants to come can, to come and get offered a scholarship. Ten schools ... that’s 250 scholarships that could been offered there. There’s a lot of young men who come to our camp with offers from smaller schools who get offers from that camp.”
Satellite camps have long been a hot-button issue.
On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel reported the camp that would feature LSU and Texas — hosted by Belhaven in Baton Rouge and then later in Hammond, La. — was cancelled.
The reasoning? Belhaven coach Hal Mumme said “political pressure” from LSU.
Belhaven’s camp—originally slated for BREC Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge—appeared to be in danger early this week, as political pressure on a local high school coach threatened the stadium agreement. Belhaven coaches had linked up with Memorial Stadium officials, Mumme said, and agreed to pay them $500 for the use of the stadium to host the camp. But Louisiana political forces managed to end that planned camp.
“We're in LSU's backyard,” Madison Prep head coach Mike Roach said via Sports Illustrated. “Louisiana home cooking may have played a part in it.”
There have been some other Louisiana camp cancellations and un-invites.
Two other camps, at Southeastern Louisiana and Louisiana College, broke ties with Power 5 schools from out of state. Tulane is set to host one on June 16 ...
... and Michigan was originally invited, but Jim Harbaugh’s staff was replaced with LSU. Harbaugh said that was the result of “football factories” trying to prevent competitors on their turf.
Wednesday, coaches from TCU and Texas Tech, including head coach Kliff Kingsbury, attended a camp at HBCU Southern University in Baton Rouge. A source at LSU confirmed that Southern head coach Dawson Odums had told Orgeron that the event had been arranged prior to Orgeron becoming the full-time head coach.
Orgeron said he’d claim the state of Louisiana.
As And The Valley Shook wrote, recruiting is all about defending your turf.
All of this is to say that Orgeron knows well how to play the game. He mastered that long ago. Do I think Orgeron played a role in keeping Michigan and Texas out of Louisiana? Of course I do. This is a man that will seek to gain every possible recruiting advantage possible. Applying a little local pressure to the benefit of LSU hardly moves the needle.
On Wednesday, LSU conveniently released this video, promoting its upcoming camp.
The other side of the coin, from Burnt Orange Nation:
While the satellite camp would have allowed Texas access to top talent in Louisiana, there’s also an element of public service to those appearances.
Louisiana, in particular, is one of the poorest states in the country with a poverty rate hovering near 20 percent, so many prospects, most of whom would never have the opportunity to attend a Texas camp, would have received a chance to be coached by Herman that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
Of course, it would be foolish to claim complete altruism on the part of the Longhorns head coach, but equally foolish to completely deny it — Herman wasn’t planning on showing up and only providing instruction to the several prospects in whom he might have an interest.
Why do some coaches not like satellite camps again?
Essentially, it’s a chance to take your camp on the road. Coaches from less-talented areas get to see kids compete, and vice versa; kids get to connect with coaches that aren’t nearby. Some schools in hotbed regions, mostly SEC ones, have complained.
"We don't think that satellite camps are healthy in college football recruiting, and they are about recruiting," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said last May. "I am concerned and I think this conference remains concerned about what happens around those camps throughout this summer."
Some head coaches believe satellite camps are great for the sport.
In May 2015, eventual Oregon head coach Willie Taggart said camps are a positive thing for players.
"It allows coaches to share information and network. We're getting kids on our campus, which is huge. That's the most important thing for us."
Taggart has a broader perspective than most coaches. As a former all-state high school quarterback in Bradenton, Fla., he went through the national recruiting process in 1993. He bristles at the idea of fairness between schools and conferences.
"I think the wrong message has been put out. No one's really talking about how good it is for the kids. If you really think about it, this is the right thing to do. Kids are going to camps all over the country, spending all this money to try and get the most amount of exposure, when it's the schools that have all the money.
"The schools should be moving around so the players can get a larger variety of teams."
One of the biggest critics was Alabama’s Nick Saban, who said last year that camps were “bad for college football” and weren’t well-regulated. Well, guess who showed up at a USF camp over the weekend?
Nick Saban arrives to his first satellite camp pic.twitter.com/fX4GtrprYA— Josh Newberg (@joshnewberg247) June 10, 2017
Everybody — Texas, LSU, Michigan, Alabama, mid-majors, and Division III schools — is doing whatever they believe will ultimately help them win football games.