Lawrence Keys III was not planning on spending time in Baton Rouge on Tuesday. In fact, even his mother was caught off-guard when she learned that her son was heading up I-10 to LSU for an impromptu unofficial visit.
Keys, a top-220 prospect in the 2018 class and a top-10 recruit in the state of Louisiana, spent the early part of the day alongside LSU wide receivers coach and New Orleans area recruiter Mickey Joseph. It was an afternoon full of football, fried fish and gumbo, which left a very positive taste in Keys’ view of the Tigers.
“Everything went really good,” Keys told SEC Country after the visit. “I spent a lot of time with Coach Joseph. We just talked about some football, got something to eat and then we talked about some more football.”
Much of the football conversation centered around Xs and Os, and how the 4-star wide receiver from McDonogh 35 (La.) High School fits into the offensive plans.
Joseph has courted Keys as a slot receiver in Matt Canada‘s offense. Keys and his mother, LaTanya Manning, saw it firsthand during the LSU spring game, which eventually led the New Orleans standout to name the Tigers as his leading school.
During Tuesday’s visit to campus, Keys watched some film on the new-look offense and got an even better idea of how he’d be utilized if and when he arrives at LSU.
“We were talking about where I’d be placed at LSU,” Keys said. “He [Joseph] showed me some film on the offense and what they’re trying to put in this year and if I come there, where he’ll be putting me and what I’ll be doing. They like me in the slot, which is actually what I want to play in college. He showed how the slot receivers get the ball on jet sweeps, screens and bubbles, and that was actually what I was expecting.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Keys is a top-50 wide receiver in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
His fit in the offense is a critical part of his college decision. So is the relationships he’s forging while going through the recruiting process.
You can check both boxes off when it comes to LSU. Keys is a fan of how Canada uses the slot receivers in his offense — both in the passing game and through gadget plays — and appreciates the approach that Joseph has taken with him since the Tigers extended an offer to the 4-star prospect back in February.
“You know, it’s just him being honest about where I’d be playing at and that’s mainly it … just telling me the truth and being honest with me,” Keys said. “It’s very important because a lot of players can get caught up in certain situations with relationships and with communication, so having a relationship with your wide receivers coach … that’s another father figure, so you have to have a big relationship with him above everyone else.”
Manning was unable to join Keys on his unofficial stop in Baton Rouge for Tuesday, but he’s trying to bring his mother back to campus for a visit sometime in the fall. Keys’ mother is playing a critical role in his college decision, particularly as he comes closer and closer to settling in on one school.
Keys is in the process of trimming his list of top schools down to five and LSU is a surefire bet to make the cut. He recently made stops at both Auburn and Alabama and is hopeful to head out-of-state to schools such as Nebraska, Houston and Notre Dame in the fall.
LSU remains Keys’ leading school, and in the aftermath of Tuesday’s return visit to Baton Rouge the blue-chip Louisiana prospect indicated that the Tigers found another way to appeal to him.
“LSU is still my top school. Not much has changed,” he said. “I saw a lot of potential there and I see a lot at LSU, so they’re still in the same spot among my top schools.”