While much of the college recruiting universe continues to revolve around what the current crop of senior high school football players will decide between now and national signing day, LSU is basking in the afterglow of landing lauded class of 2017 athlete Dylan Moses. The 15-year-old is barely a month into his freshman year at University High (Baton Rouge, La.), but he managed to command national attention on Sunday when he verbally committed to the Tigers, per NOLA.com.
LSU may have landed Moses during the weekend, but the program must maintain that verbal pact for more than three years. It's a unique task for the Tigers, who will surely still contend with a crowded field of suitors who would love nothing more than to pry him away from his home in the Bayou.
Moses, a prodigious 6'0", 215-pound prospect who projects as a potential elite player at several positions, announced his decision on Twitter just four games into his high school football career. It's a startling development in a story that stole headlines before the football phenom had a chance to make the transition from middle school.
He appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine in July, as the focus of a story on the new era of recruiting in college athletics. The commentary focused on his heavy recruitment and the outpouring of attention he received from coaching staffs across the country despite an extremely limited track record.
While talented senior players are scraping and clawing for scholarship opportunities, Moses was met with several options well ahead of his first high school snap. Aside from LSU, he currently holds offers from Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Texas and UCLA, according to 247Sports.
Although he can smile a little wider today, Tigers coach Les Mile certainly understands reality. There's a long road to travel between here and national signing day 2017.
In an age when college coaching commitments seemingly apply only on a year-to-year basis, it's fair to wonder if Miles will stick around long enough to see this recruiting process through. Even if he remains in Baton Rouge, other coaches aren't likely to delete Moses' number from their phones just yet.
Whether they'll admit it or not, the pursuit of top prospects continues for coaches until letters of intent are signed, sealed and delivered to campus. Coaches like Nick Saban, Brian Kelly and Jim Mora aren't typically content to call off the hunt when a junior commits early elsewhere.
In the strange and intriguing situation of a freshman declaring his intentions, all bets are off.
Despite the obstacles ahead, this is LSU's fight to lose. Too many intangibles are in the Tigers' favor for a foreign team to change Moses' mind overnight.
Moses grew up sharing his town with the LSU football program, a team he greatly admired.
"I've always wanted to play for LSU since I was a kid," Moses told ESPN.com when he received an offer from Miles in the summer of 2012. "Now it's coming true in front of my eyes."
Aside from sentimental affection, he also has a personal connection to the program.
He plays alongside Miles' son on the football field, and current teammates Garrett Brumfield (senior guard) and Nick Brossette (junior running back) are both committed to play for the Tigers. Those factors can't be overlooked, but time should test their weight.
His family will also play a sizable role in the coming years. It's easy for the most coveted recruits in he country to get caught up in the media hype and social media frenzy, but they're still just kids at home.
Moses' mother had an interesting reaction to his commitment, which she voiced to Baton Rouge sports television reporter Matt Boudreaux.
Clearly, the early announcement shocked her as well. This isn't a slight on LSU, just a reminder that this process remains in its infantile stages.
Teams will approach Moses with myriad recruiting methods in an effort to sway his decision. While he already receives an enormous amount of attention, those recruiting efforts won't reach a fevered pitch for quite a while.
Other programs understand they may be entering the battle as underdogs, but three years is a war of attrition that hinges on stability at LSU and steadfastness from Moses.
People are fickle, especially teenagers. You never know what could ultimately throw his commitment in doubt.
For now, the Tigers should be ecstatic. Miles and company look like winners in this situation.
Still, we have no idea how they'll emerge 1,233 days from now when Moses puts pen to paper and seals a decision that will be half a decade in the making.