As Derek Stingley Jr. sat in the office of LSU coach Les Miles, he found himself gazing at the vast collection of hardware aligned all over the room.
He knew what was about to happen.
In fact, Stingley, a 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back and a Baton Rouge, La., native had been preparing for this moment his entire life. So when Miles stepped into the office and began speaking to the rising sophomore, there was no hesitation from Stingley.
The offer came and the commitment followed just as quickly.
Stingley, a do-it-all cornerback, wide receiver and return specialist for the Dunham School (Baton Rouge, La.) made his pledge to LSU upon earning an offer from Miles the second practice of the team’s most recent prospect camp. LSU represented Stingley’s first official offer, though it wasn’t exactly groundbreaking.
“When we sat down in Coach Miles’ office, the first thing he said was that I’d be a great fit in this program,” Stingley told SEC Country.
“We were in his office, and to see all of his accomplishments made it seem calm more than anything. When I decided to commit, he was very happy because he knew that he wasn’t wasting anything on me.
“When I first got the offer, I was pretty amazed because all my life I had been dreaming about going to an SEC school to play ball at, and LSU was always at the top of my life. Since I grew up in Baton Rouge, I could always see how big of a deal LSU was to our city and how much everybody loved them, so to get a chance to be a part of that is the best thing I could have ever wished for.”
Stingley’s wish came true, and the local talent entrenched himself as the first member of the Tigers’ 2019 recruiting class
The defensive back commanded the attention of LSU defensive back coach Corey Raymond for the early part of the camp, including both the Thursday afternoon and Friday morning practice sessions. Stingley worked out in Raymond’s select group before impressing Miles during 1-on-1 drills.
Stingley since has taken on an added role as the inaugural commitment of LSU’s 2019 class, which he believes should set a standard for the other prospects that could soon join him as part of an elite collection of talent.
“It’s a pretty good feeling to know that they saw some good things in me this early,” Stingley said, “and to know that I set a good standard for my class boosts my self-confidence to a whole new level.”
The standard that Stingley has set comes as a result of years of hard work and preparation driven by his father.
Derek Stingley Sr. was a two-sport athlete in college that was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. He played baseball for three seasons before switching to football, where he played for the Louisiana Bayou Thunder, a semi-professional team.
His time with the Bayou Thunder opened the door for a chance to compete in the Arena Football League before earning a time on the New York Jets practice squad, Stingley caught on with a handful of other arena teams before moving over to coaching.
Currently the coach of the Shanghai Skywalkers, the elder Stingley has also been training his son for most of his life.
“One thing he always told me was that he’s never going to force me into doing something,” Stingley said. “But he said if I ever get an offer from LSU that I should commit because of the environment and the way that their program works. I never questioned that because he knows what’s best.”
Stingley’s father continues to train the budding cornerback and Dunham School product, amping up the intensity of workouts.
“It gives me an advantage that some other people don’t have, and without him guiding my way through this, I can guarantee you that I would not be in the same position I’m in now,” Stingley said. “Preparing for the camp was really since I was a little boy, day in and day out. I would just do little things to help me succeed and it just transferred naturally at the camp.”
Those are the lessons Stingley learned on the field, but they are only part of the process.
Stingley’s father also has ingrained personal messages into his training to ensure that the LSU’s first 2019 commit continues on his current trajectory.
“Just because I got the offer, that doesn’t mean I can just stop working out; I have to keep doing what got me to that point,” he said. “I also can’t be full of myself and brag and bring down others because I got this offer. Then the last thing was to have fun during the process.”
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.