Frank Wilson has coached LSU running backs, including Terrence Magee. (April Buffington)
Frank Wilson enters his sixth season as LSU’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. He’s pulled in top 10 signing classes in five of those six years and has tutored running backs like Jeremy Hill, Stevan Ridley and, now, Leonard Fournette.
He spoke to The Advocate on Tuesday during the LHSAA coaches clinic for a quick Q&A. Read the story version of the interview here.
Q: You have 17 commits and can sign 26 players this year. How do you plan on filling the nine open spots from now until National Signing Day?
Wilson: I think we’ve got some spots still at the defensive line position, more than anything at the defensive end position, we need to fill. A couple of linebackers we got to get in the boat and then, offensively, we’ve got a need at the tailback position and a couple of receivers.
I like where we’re at. I like the pace that we’re on right now, but probably more than anything just need to hold steady. As we all know, it’s just the beginning.
To be able to continue to cultivate that relationship to allow it to withstand the test of time is more important than anything.
Q: Other teams’ coaches trying to woo your commits away?
Wilson: Well, I think it’s on-going. I think it happened some time in spring when they had the one call they can make. As they try to encourage them to come on their campus for an unofficial visit for the summer time. They’ll do it again for their season as well as official visits.
It’s active all of the time. For us, it’s to be able to maintain and continue to recruit the ones that already committed to us and continue to recruit the ones that are not.
Q: You recruit years down the line don’t you?
Wilson: We have a guy (committed) at 2019. We have about eight guys in the class of 2020 from our youth camp that over time they continue to get bigger and faster and stronger and we get in our youth camp and kids come in and run a sub-5, it just catches your eye.
You’re 12 years old and you’re running 4.9, 4.8. That’s crazy. There’s no recruitment with those kids. All that happens at that point is we store their name in our database and we track them. It’s not truly recruiting, more identifying when you talk about the younger guys just entering high school or middle school.
Frank Wilson says he wants to be a head coach one day. (Kyle Encar)
Q: Wait. You’re tracking eight kids for the class of 2020?! They’re entering their eighth grade year.
Wilson: What happens is you watch it happen and as these kids mature they’ll say stuff to you like, ‘I came to your camp when I was in the seventh grade.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh really? Yeah …’ [laugh]
At one point, we never used to keep that data. It was youth camp. Instructional football. Now, when there’s a superlative, we take notice, we document it and we store it. There’s nothing more you can do.
They’re still growing into their bodies, understanding body control. It’s so early, you really don’t know. Some kids peak earlier than others. One of them may be doing something extremely well at this age and max out. The others may look gangly and awkward and develop later. It’s just a start for us.
Q: You came close to a head coaching position this off-season. How much is that a goal for you?
Wilson: It’s not a priority. In due time, when the right opportunity comes, when it’s there for me, it’ll happen. I love my job, love where I’m at. I’m not out soliciting. I’m not willing to take any job that’s out there. Jon Gruden probably said it best: when he came back to football, he’d like to be the running backs coach at LSU.
I’m very fortunate with the plethora of talent that we have in our backfield, assembled around a great offensive line and great defense. I like the job that I do. It’s a goal of mine, but nothing pressing that has to happen any time soon.