If you were a recruit in the southeastern part of the country, chances are you were at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa for the game built up to be the biggest of the century.
There were over 100 official and unofficial visitors taking in Alabama-LSU Saturday and just about all of them used a synonym of the word "awesome" to describe the atmosphere. No doubt the defensive recruits were a little more impressed at the level and style of play than the offensive recruits but no matter who it was, there were nothing but positive vibes from the experience.
"It was a great game," cornerback and Alabama commit Geno Smith told TideSports.com. "It was a great atmosphere, and I enjoyed the game a lot even though it was a tough loss. It was a fun game."
Smith was one of several Tide commitments in attendance as an unoffiical visitor. With several five-star recruits in on their official visits, such as tackle Arik Armstead and defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, recruiting others to join Alabama's class of 2012 was going on by several commits despite the raucous atmosphere.
"It was so hard to talk to people," linebacker Reggie Ragland said. "It was that loud on the field, so I had to get up in people's faces just to talk to them. I know once the game got started, it was hard for the guys playing the game to even hear."
Yes Alabama lost a close game in overtime but there were plenty of positives to take away for those in attendance. Winning is the most important thing in recruiting but a loss to a team like LSU, in that atmosphere, with that head coach, means the Tide won't suffer on the recruiting trail. Come Signing Day, there will be plenty of players who forgot the outcome but remembered what it felt like being in the stadium and on the Crimson Tide sideline.
The biggest effect could be felt in the class of 2013. Five-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche was among the double-digit number of underclassmen prospects in attendance and someone several coaches came over to talk to.
“Everything is still pretty much the same - Alabama and LSU are my top two," he told 247sports. "I liked the game and both teams have very good defenses. I haven’t been down to LSU yet. I really like Alabama, though.”It wasn't the game of the century but it was Nick Saban's off the field given the quality and quantity of recruits looking on. It's some what early to truly digest if what happened in Tuscaloosa will have a lasting impact with some but we have plenty of time between now and February to figure it out.
Missouri moves to the SEC
The other big news over the weekend was Missouri's move to the SEC (finally, officially). It's important to note that the Tigers will be placed in the Eastern division and will have a game every year against West division "rival" Texas A&M. If you're on the MU coaching staff nothing could make you happier.
Without question, the move is a step up in competition but that doesn't mean Missouri can't compete. They'll still be able to go into Texas, which they have successfully under Gary Pinkel, just as often as they have. They'll also be able to make in-roads in talent rich states like Georgia and Florida with trips every other year. Like most schools, they're not going to be consistently recruiting five-star type players but playing in the SEC is something plenty of players value and will be a selling point.
One player the move could help with is top-ranked Dorial Green-Beckham. Though the talented wide receiver has kept pretty mum on his recruiting, he has talked glowingly about playing in the SEC and proximity to home is a huge factor for him. Though many consider Oklahoma and Arkansas the front-runners for his signature, the move certainly doesn't hurt the Tigers pursuit.
More than anything, winning some games next year will go a long way in the class of 2013.
Penn State issues already having an effect
As big as Alabama-LSU was this weekend, it paled in comparison to the story out of Penn State. We're at an early stage in all of this but no doubt that recruits are beginning to take notice of what is going on in State College.
The Nittany Lions currently have 16 commitments for the class of 2012 and many are taking a wait and see approach right now. As we've seen at other schools dealing with a big scandal, it will take some time to see what will happen with many of the players recruited by the staff at Penn State. Some players choose a school because of academics, location and what not - those will likely stick with their pledge. Others headed to school for a particular coach or Joe Paterno in particular, might find themselves taking additional visits and contacting other schools in order to have options on Signing Day.
Five-star and top defensive end Noah Spence appeared to be dropping PSU, tweeting that the school might not be for him Monday afternoon. It still too early to tell what's going to happen with Penn State's recruiting going forward but it's hard to say things will be ok given the news coming out of the area recently.
Video of the week
This week's spotlight is on running back Keith Marshall, who had quite the game on Senior Night with five touchdowns.