The Mad Hatter era is over in Baton Rouge after the LSU Tigers fired longtime head coach Les Miles on Sunday, leaving at least a temporary recruiting vacuum into which the Texas Longhorns could step.
With LSU possessing the potential to land a top-flight head coach like Houston’s Tom Herman, Texas may only have a small window of opportunity to take advantage before buzz begins to build for the next staff at the SEC powerhouse.
However, even a small window could be enough to be impactful for the ‘Horns and head coach Charlie Strong.
The top name on the list of prospects the termination of Miles could impact the most is Baton Rouge native Dylan Moses, the nation’s top outside linebacker who is now down at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Moses originally committed to the Tigers early in his recruitment before deciding to open things up again. And while the Longhorns no longer hold the leadership position briefly occupied during the spring, the timing is what’s most key for the nation’s No. 4 prospect overall since he plans to enroll early.
On December 15, the 6’3, 245-pounder will make his second and final decision, at which point LSU will likely be in the midst of bowl game preparation under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, though there’s a possibility the next head coach could be in place at that time.
Given that likely timetable, there’s little to no chance that Moses will have a chance to build a relationship with any of the key coaches in his recruitment by the Tigers unless there is holdover from the Miles era or he’s been recruited by those coaches at other schools.
After Moses, Houston Episcopal defensive tackle Marvin Wilson looms as the other nationally-elite prospect impacted by the termination of Miles.
Since the Notre Dame win, Texas has been trending with the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle, with plenty of buzz that his mother wants him to remain in state. Since Baton Rouge is roughly four hours from Houston, LSU was a possible compromise choice in addition to the program that led for a while early in the process, but the coaching transition could further push Wilson towards Texas.
There are several other LSU commits and targets still on the recruiting radar for Texas, but the third name on the list of key recruits potentially impacted by this news is Tigers cornerback commit Kary Vincent Jr.
The Texas A&M legacy hails from Port Arthur and pledged to LSU over Texas and others this summer, but still plans on making an official visit to Austin to give the ‘Horns a chance to secure a flip from him.
Since Orgeron is a noted recruiter, he should be able to reduce the immediate damage caused by the dismissal of Miles, but it’s difficult to believe that the overall impact of such a move could be a net negative.
Time for Strong and his staff make the most of this opportunity with several key targets in the 2016 class.