It's been a long time coming since the quality of LSU football may finally start matching the level of enthusiasm LSU fans bring to the table each week during football season. I don't ever remember a recruiting year where a LSU head coach was able to so completely able to lock up in-state talent. Saban mentioned at the Bash he wasn't able to land 4 Louisiana kids he was recruiting, and he mentioned that their not choosing LSU was "their loss." But otherwise, Saban landed every player he targeted. I've never seen Carnell Stewart play, but he's been the kind of LSU recruit loses to the FSU's and Miami's every year. A kid who shows nearly no interest in LSU during the entire recruiting process. Yet Stewart had to have taken notice of the recruiting explosion LSU experienced in January. And Stewart, and others, had to have noticed what Saban was able to do this year out-of-state. Saban wasn't just landing out-of-state-players. He was landing some of the best out-of-state players in the country. Tim Washington. Shawn Jordan. Dwayne Bowe. Amp Hill. Sean Merrill. Barrington Edwards. JaMarcus Russell. If Saban was going to lose in-state players, he was doing his best to replace them with out-of-state players as good as, if not better, than the players he was losing. And recruits took notice, and this year's class is the end result of that, where their was a mad scramble for a LSU scholarship in the days leading up to signing day. Out-of-players want to play for LSU for a variety of reasons. One of them's certainly Saban and his staff. Another is how often LSU gets to play on TV. LSU's seemingly strenthened its strong brand name from coast to coast with all its TV exposure. But the constant that ALL recruits are mentioning is the enthusiasm of LSU's fans. Saban said EVERY SINGLE RECRUIT and EVERY SINGLE FAMILY mentioned this to him during Saban & his staff's in-home visits. LSU fans, in the past couple of years, have really taken ownership in their part of the process, in supporting the team unconditionally. In 2002, I don't ever remember a year where LSU was supported so well, even as there were the kinds of disappointments that would usually cause many more LSU fans to get negative much more quickly. As has been the trend for years. But now, my sense is LSU fans as a whole truly believe Nick Saban has the program's best interest at heart at all times, has the competance needed to lead a big time program, and because of this there's been a faith placed in him that I can't remember any other coach having the same faith placed in them. Not even Arnsparger. Not even McClendon (although I can't speak for Mac's place with Tiger fans in the 60's, my memory comes from the 70's, when Mac had his fair share of critics). After this year's Arkansas game, as upset as LSU fans privately became, it's fair to say the consensus realizes no single person was more upset & disappointed with that loss than Saban, and that he'd work even harder to make the team better. And look how Saban's responded, with the best recruiting class in LSU history. Aruguably, of course. Now it's time for LSU to win where it counts, on the field. A note about JaMarcus Russell. When he got on national TV and chose a LSU cap over a FSU hat, that was a big deal. He got LSU more publicity than he could have possibly realized. He helped insure LSU will land even more out-of-state players in the future. And he also helped GUARANTEE that the best in-state players, assuming they have an interest in attending LSU, will not wait to commit. They will commit early, or they may find that they won't have a scholarship waiting for them, because someone else will want it. And that may be the biggest development from last week's signing day. And IMO, that's the way Saban's planned it all along. To turn a LSU scholarship into something that's valued, that's wanted badly. And he's doing it.