Dig Baton Rouge

The Next Step: LSU football replaces Frank Wilson with home run hires

When Frank Wilson decided that he was going to test his hand at being a college football head coach, a lot of folks in the Tiger Nation panicked.

Yours truly was one of those people.

Wilson’s contributions to the LSU football program were immeasurable. He was the guy responsible for getting tons of the Blue Chip players that the Tigers have enjoyed in the past – the biggest reason for LSU’s reputation as a school that stockpiles elite talent.

But now that we’ve had some time to settle the dust on the entire situation and survey things from a big-picture perspective, it’s become obvious that things just might be fine for LSU on the recruiting front.

Insert new assistant coaches Jabbar Juluke and Dameyune Craig.

This past week, LSU coach Les Miles announced that he had hired the two new coaches – moves that are expected to round out the Tigers offensive staff for 2016. Juluke will be the team’s running backs coach – Wilson’s old job – and Craig will coach the LSU receivers.

Both coaches have rich pedigrees of success, and they’re both widely heralded as solid recruiters – a huge plus with Wilson walking out the door.

Juluke is the real deal.

The former head coach at Edna Karr in New Orleans, those around Juluke tout his tireless work ethic and love for recruiting – especially in the Big Easy.

New Orleans was Wilson’s recruiting territory in the past, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that it will now be the land that Juluke will roam. While at Louisiana Tech (his prior stop before LSU), Juluke routinely went into the city and scored prized recruits for the Bulldogs – a core that allowed the team to prosper in 2015’s New Orleans Bowl season.

Juluke knows Louisiana high school football. He has relationships with just about everyone that he needs to have a relationship with.

If Wilson had to move on to the next challenge, Juluke was a no-brainer as the guy to jump into the mix and keep the pipeline flowing.

As for Craig? He was lagniappe – a shot through the heart of a conference rival, and another feather into the cap of the Tigers’ recruiting staff. For as hot as people like to make out Les Miles’ seat to be, how bad must things be getting in Auburn?

For Craig to leave the Plains for LSU shows how fragile things currently are for Gus Malzahn and an Auburn program, which struggled mightily in 2015.

Like Juluke, Craig is a tireless recruiter – a guy who collects signed National Letters of Intent from the players he woos. Before coaching at Auburn, Craig was the recruiting coordinator at Florida State – a place where he earned the reputation as being one of the best in the country in his field.

Craig is also a former quarterback, which Miles noted in an introductory press conference. He will be another experienced mind in the Tigers’ offensive film room as the team attempts to improve its struggling offense.

And for conspiracy theorists out there, Craig is reportedly still pretty close to Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher. If LSU struggles again in 2016, the Fisher to LSU rumors just may swirl again now that the coach’s longtime recruiting man is now in Baton Rouge, too.

But with this staff, it will be tough to struggle.

Les Miles lost a slugger when Wilson left, there’s no doubt.

The two coaches he’s added this past week can hit a home run or two when called upon to do so.

For now, Tiger Nation can relax a little and perhaps be more at ease with the future direction of the LSU football program.

Photo courtesy LSU Sports Information

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