Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss 3-star Baton Rouge defensive back Bertrand Carrell, who named the Tigers as his top school days after picking up an offer.
LSU grabs the lead for Bertrand Carrell
BATON ROUGE, La. — First-year LSU safeties coach Bill Busch has been in daily contact with 3-star defensive back Bertrand Carrell since landing the new gig, but even Carrell wasn’t expecting an offer to come through as quickly as it did.
Last Thursday, Busch extended an offer to Carrell after watching the physical safety compete at practice. Emotions are still running high, which led the Baton Rouge native to declare the Tigers as his early leader heading into camp season.
“Right now, it’s wide open, but I’ve got LSU up there a tad bit more than other schools,” Carrell told SEC Country. “Missouri and Texas A&M are making a push. They’ve been on me hard. After I got the LSU offer, other schools started to push the situation on me. I want to find whatever is best for me, what feels like a second home between the coaching staff and the education. LSU, though, is already up there a bit more than the other schools.”
At 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds, Carrell ranks as a top-100 safety and a top-40 prospect in-state for the Class of 2019. He joins the elite company of 5-star cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and 4-star cornerback Devin Bush as the only Louisiana defensive backs with LSU offers to date.
It turns out that Busch had been eyeing Carrell for the team’s lone safety spot in this recruiting cycle since his first day on the job. Busch couldn’t resist offering after an eye-popping performance last week.
“Coach Busch and I have a good relationship,” Carrell explained. “We always talk to each other. He came to watch me at practice, then gave me the good news that I had an offer. I’m blessed and grateful for the offer.”
“When he first took the job at LSU, I didn’t know how he got my number, but he texted my phone,” he added. “I didn’t expect it really, but he’s been texting me and keeping in touch since then. When I went to a spring practice, I talked to him. He came to watch me and offered me, and I’m thankful for everything. He said I’ve gotten better with my hips and I should come to camp to show off in front of the full staff. I want to show my talent off and show my work off, and I’ll be at the LSU camp this summer.”
All eyes will be on Carrell come June when he attends one of LSU’s prospect camps. Busch plans to insert the versatile defensive back into the nickel, which is currently where he lines up for Madison Prep Academy (La.).
A big body in the slot, the Tigers’ staff wants to see how he fares in press-man coverage and likely will test him out all across the secondary.
“He doesn’t sugarcoat things,” Carrell said of Busch. “He tells me what I need to work on and he gives it to me straight. I like him as a coach and how he’s recruiting me. He wants me playing nickel safety depending on the coverage or the package we’re in. Anywhere they put me on the field, I’ll make plays. I’m versatile, so it doesn’t matter what position I play as long as I’m on the field making plays. LSU is really ‘DBU.’ — They’re always aggressive, dogs and savages, and I think I fit into it.”
A pioneer at Madison Prep
Madison Prep Academy has churned out its fair share of Division I football players over the years. Most recently, defensive ends Malcolm Roach and Bryan Jones were prospects that initially were believed to be bound for LSU.
That was not the case. Roach instead landed at Texas. Jones, who drew the attention of Ed Orgeron when he was Les Miles’ defensive line coach, signed with Houston in 2017.
No Madison Prep Academy football prospect had ever garnered an offer from the hometown Tigers — that is until Thursday when Carrell made history at the Baton Rouge high school and drew the attention of the entire student body during morning announcements on Monday.
“They made me stand up because I’m the first person from Madison Prep to get an LSU offer. They wanted to show me that the school is behind me, so that’s a sign,” Carrell admitted. “LSU is right here at home.”
Prospects like Roach who were unable to earn an offer from the Tigers reached out to Carrell to congratulate him. As did his cousin, 4-star 2019 running back commitment Tyrion Davis, as well as other notable area prospects such as 5-star guard Kardell Thomas of Southern Lab (La.) and 2018 LSU signee Kelvin Joseph, who played locally at Scotlandville (La.) High School.
The outpour of support from alumni, classmates and three prospects who are on their way to LSU certainly resonated with Carrell.
“Kelvin reached out and told me to do big things by going to LSU and doing something with the offer and my opportunity,” he said. “I took that to heart. Tyrion told me to pick what’s best for me, but he said it would be like when we were little if we all went to LSU. They really gave me support and it surprised me. Family and friends were all behind it and that was exciting.
“It was a sign from God for me and wherever I best fit or wherever I feel like is a second family is where I’ll go.”
Timeline for decision
Days after reeling in an offer from LSU, Carrell is poised to trim his double-digit offer sheet down to eight. Expect him to release it soon after Madison Prep wraps up its spring season on Friday.
This summer, Carrell will camp at LSU as well as Alabama, Mississippi State, Missouri and Texas A&M. The camp in Baton Rouge should set the tone for the remainder of the fall.
“They want to see me come in and play press coverage against some receivers because that’s where I’d play if I went there,” Carrell said of LSU camp. “They want to see me come down on some slots and they want to see my aggressiveness and press technique. I’ll be ready for it.”
After camp season, Carrell will begin scheduling official visits throughout the fall and aims to settle on a decision in November or December. That allows him to sign his national letter of intent during the early signing period.
For now, LSU remains the leader in the clubhouse and the recent offer has given him plenty of mull over through Signing Day.
“It’s ‘DBU,’ and when you come there, you’ve got a good chance of going to the NFL,” Carrell mentioned. “That’s a childhood dream for me — to take care of my family — and my whole life could change if I go to LSU.”
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