Chavis ready for second phase of recruiting process

John Chavis can stop racking up hotel nights at the end of May.

Over six weeks, the LSU defensive coordinator has taken a circuit ride of Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina during the evaluation period of the recruiting calendar.

Oh, and Chavis has also dropped into the offices of guidance counselors and coaches, and taken in some prospects in Georgia.

“I’ve been all over,” Chavis said before teeing off Monday at the University Club during his charity golf tournament for those suffering from sickle cell anemia.

For a day, at least, the grind halts during a period in which coach Les Miles’ staff can stop churning through 168 days — or 21 if divvied out evenly among eight assistants — allotted by the NCAA to staff members to travel and evaluate talent.

To hear Chavis outline his job, he does as much cross-checking others’ finds as he does unearthing them all.

“I try to see all the defensive players during this period,” said Chavis, who is entering his sixth season at LSU.

“I can’t see them all, but I’ve been all over the south.”

And it helps set up the transition to camps in Baton Rouge, where scores of scholarship offers are doled out and potentially answered with commitments.

The Tigers have already extended 135 offers to members of the 2015 class, according to 247sports.com, and the program currently stands at 11 commitments — a group already solidly in the top 10 of most recruiting services.

“If you looked at the last 10 years of recruiting classes, I’d guess that 85 percent or 95 percent that we offered scholarships to were in our camp,” Miles said.

But the leg work is done now on the road in a year when LSU may be more national in its recruiting scope.

The crop of talent in Louisiana in the Class of 2014 may have been the state’s best in nearly 15 years, but it is expected to ebb this year before another bumper crop is expected in 2016.

Tellingly, LSU’s headliner commitments in this year’s class were provided from the program’s pipelines in Florida (five-star cornerback Kevin Tolliver) and in Texas (mammoth offensive tackle Maea Teuhema) rather than locally.

If anything, the next two months are about seeing how personalities fit, starting with the program’s invitation-only Bayou Picnic on May 31, than about pure ability, Miles said.

“It’s very seldom an evaluation,” Miles said. “What we’re enjoying is getting to know them and how they work with our coaches.”

LSU can also spice up its pitch in phone calls — which are permitted right now, while in-person contact is not — after it churned out nine NFL draft picks.

That tied the school record set barely 12 months ago.

It would fit neatly with the clearly stated goal to get recruits on a three-year plan, but Chavis quashed the idea that it’s the underpinning of LSU’s recruiting strategy.

“Whether we have them for three years, four years or five years, we’ve got to go recruit for our needs,” Chavis said. “That’s been a big part of keeping the program stable.”

And Chavis can point to linebacker Lamin Barrow, a fifth-round choice by Denver after arriving in Baton Rouge as a three-star prospect, as evidence.

“You’ve got to be recruiting the right guys,” Chavis said. “Not all of them were five-star players. We do a great job once they get here developing them.”

And no time to be wary of the road.

Follow Matthew Harris on Twitter: MHarrisAdvocate. For more coverage of LSU football visit our Tiger Tracks blog at blogs.theadvocate.com/tigertracks/.