With a new on-campus stadium scheduled for completion in two years, with the optimism generated by a new energetic coach becoming pervasive, and with an unprecedented response to a new recruiting approach, no wonder sixth-year Tulane recruiting coordinator Doug Lichtenberger bears a smile these days.
Since the hiring of new head coach Curtis Johnson in December, the former New Orleans Saints assistant has pointed the Greenies’ compass in a new direction.
In past seasons, Tulane would usually enter the fall season with early commitments from a handful of promising high school seniors, preferring to rely upon evaluations conducted during the season.
Under Johnson, Tulane has caught on.
As of the first week of August, 17 seniors have made early pledges to the Green Wave, including 14 from the state -- 12 of whom hail from the Greater New Orleans, seven-parish area. That grouping is complemented by three others recruits – one each from California, Arizona and Florida.
At his hiring, Johnson vowed to recruit locally. He has, but with a much earlier urgency than expected.
“Recruiting has changed,” said Lichtenberger of the nationwide trend toward early decision-making. “Tulane has never hired a local guy like him (Johnson). He knows the area so it won’t take him one or two years to learn the lay of the land. Just about every parent who makes an on-campus visit, he knows. And if he doesn’t know them personally, they usually have a mutual friend. It’s like a family reunion.
“And,” Lichtenberger added, “he is a heck of a recruiter.”
Johnson’s new message is obvious: Better to land a prospect from the West Bank instead of West Virginia; better to snare a senior from the East Bank instead of the Eastern seaboard, an areas that to command heavy attention from the Greenies.
Now, Lichtenberger said, Louisiana and Florida will receive the majority of the Green Wave’s efforts.
“We are spending more time in Louisiana than in recent memory and we are in Florida a lot,” Lichtenberger said. “The plus to the early decisions is that players can prepare for their senior year in high school and their first year of college. They know where they stand and the decision takes it (recruiting) off their minds.
“The negative would be there is a lot of time to change someone’s mind and there is the possibility of injury.”
Tulane is not expected to make contact with any of the Penn State players who are eligible to transfer.
Tulane 2013 commitments, by position through 7/31/2012 (17 total)
Pos., Name Ht. Wt. School, Hometown
OL Brandon Godfrey 6-4 270 John Curtis
OG Jason Stewart 6-5 335 Warren Easton
OG Chris Taylor 6-2 305 Zachary
DS Mike Lizanich* 6-1 215 Pinnacle. Phoenix, Ariz.
QB Reginald Bell 6-4 175 Dorsey, Los Angeles, Calif.
QB Tanner Lee 6-3 195 Jesuit
DE Eric Bell 6-3 245 West St. John
DE Lyn Clark 6-2 225 O.P. Walker
DE Corey Smith 6-6 230 O.P. Walker
DE Eldrick Washington 6-2 255 Helen Cox
DT Antonio McGhee 6-0 275 Parkway, Bossier City
LB Quinlan Carroll 6-2 220 Belle Chasse
LB Luke Jackson 6-3 220 St. Charles
LB Nico Marley 5-7 180 Cypress Bay, Weston, Fla.
CB Richard Allen 5-9 175 John Curtis
CB Parry Nickerson 5-10 170 West Jefferson
S Leonard Davis 5-10 180 East St. John
Transfer (Counts Toward 2012 Total)
DS Billy Johnson 6-0 240 (Georgia transfer), Braselton, Ga.
Tulane’s other recruits (Louisiana)
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. High school
RB Sherman Badie 5-9 180 John Curtis
RB Eugene Brazley 5-10 200 Carver
WR Ronald Lewis 5-11 185 West Jeferson
OT Kenneth Santa Marina 6-6 320 McDonogh 35
DT Tanzel Smart 6-2 285 Scotlandville
LB Duke Riley 6-1 210 Curtis
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