Patrick Surtain Jr. is less than 48 hours away from announcing his college decision. Truth be told, he remains a bit unclear about his announcement.
There will be LSU, Alabama, Clemson and Miami hats on the table Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. CT, but it’s believed to be a battle between the Tigers and the Tide. The 5-star cornerback has publicly named LSU as his leader for almost two years and is nearing a decision as the deadline rapidly approaches.
“I’ve got an idea,” Surtain said on Monday, “but I’ve still got to sit down and make it [the decision]. It’s kind of stressful right now, but it’s decision time so it will come.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound U.S. Army All-American has been a priority for LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond for several years. At times, Surtain has admitted he’s been close to committing.
He didn’t, of course, because he didn’t want to have to de-commit at any point in his recruitment. With Signing Day looming, Surtain gives LSU an edge over the competition because of its campus environment and how the coaching staff has made him feel wanted, not to mention his family’s ties New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Donaldsonville, La.
“The environment … I felt the atmosphere and I felt comfortable with it,” he explained. “I’ve got a great relationship with the coaches and I’ve got a lot of family there, so that’s one other reason. Because of my relationship [with the staff] and my Louisiana ties with my family being there … Coach Raymond and I have a great relationship and I feel like I can ball and have a great influence in Louisiana, too.”
Raymond and Ed Orgeron were some of the Tigers coaches to go in-home with the Surtain Family on Thursday before he made his fourth and final official visit to Miami.
In what has become a common theme, the staff intimated the need for Surtain in the 2018 recruiting class as LSU looks to replace two of its top three cornerbacks from last season.
“Basically, they [the LSU staff] is telling me how much of an asset I am to the team,” he said. “They want me to hopefully commit to them.”
Where Alabama sits with Patrick Surtain Jr.
Alabama, Miami and Clemson will join LSU with hats on the table at American Heritage (Fla.) High School on Wednesday morning. The Tide are perceived as the biggest threat for the 5-star corner.
Here is what Surtain had to say about Alabama’s recent push:
Q: Why might it be Alabama?
A: Just the culture, the winning culture, and I feel like I could ball there as well
Q: What has Alabama done to close the gap?
A: Nothing much, just talking to th coaches more and getting a great relationship with the whole program
Q: Do depth charts matter much?
A: Not really. I’m just going in and competing
Q: Does Alabama offer anything that LSU doesn’t?
A: Obviously, one program wins more. That’s probably the biggest, but that’s really it.
What you didn’t see was a final question about what LSU offers Surtain that Alabama doesn’t. Surtain’s answer: family in Louisiana.
That is a major reason for LSU’s longtime edge over the competition. His mother is from Baton Rouge and has family there and right outside the city in Donaldsonville, La. His father, Patrick Surtain Sr., hails from New Orleans and has family both there and in Baton Rouge.
Surtain regularly returns to Louisiana for family affairs and has a deeper connection to the state than most outsiders recognize. He also understands if he chooses Alabama, Clemson or elsewhere, his immediate family will travel to see him play. At LSU, however, his entire family has that ability.
This interview adds to my confidence level that the 5-star cornerback selects the Tigers on Wednesday. He continues to circle back to his relationship with Raymond and admission that he’s considered committing to LSU in the past.
Alabama’s best bets were to capitalize on the depth chart and national championships, but neither seem to carry significant weight in this decision. LSU has a starting job available, too, but the No. 1-ranked cornerback in the country will have that opportunity available at almost any college he chooses. Alabama can also point out that it’s annually in the College Football Playoff; LSU can emphasize it’s ability to churn out NFL-caliber defensive backs.
At this stage, I remain strongly confident that Surtain picks LSU. The Tigers have made both Surtain and Kelvin Joseph priorities in this 2018 recruiting class as plug-and-play prospects. My gut suggests it will play out as the LSU staff expects it to on Signing Day.