PLANTATION, Fla. — The nation’s top cornerback in 2018 continues to take a patient approach with his recruitment, yet one constant theme has prevailed.
Patrick Surtain Jr., a 5-star cornerback and son of 11-year NFL pro Pat Surtain, has maintained LSU as his leading school at this juncture in his recruitment.
That movement began in July when Surtain was one of just a handful of junior prospects to earn an invitation to Nike’s “The Opening” Finals in Beaverton, Ore. The Tigers had jumped out to an early lead then. That has continued even after so much change took place within the LSU program.
“LSU is still out in front,” Surtain told SEC Country. “I’ve talked to all the coaches, Coach (Corey) Raymond and Coach (Ed) Orgeron, and they still keep in touch with me and see how I’m doing.”
In fact, one of Orgeron’s and Raymond’s first phone calls were made to Surtain after Les Miles was fired after the last-second road loss to Auburn.
Already, Surtain has turned into a big fan of Coach O’s style and the energy he has injected into the program. Understanding that Orgeron might eventually be promoted or have to brace for yet another change, Surtain doesn’t believe that will hurt LSU’s position.
“I talked to him as soon as he got the job,” Surtain said. “He said how excited he was to be the head coach of LSU and was telling me how much change there would be after he was made the head coach. I’m sort of waiting it out, but LSU is going to be at the top of my list no matter who the head coach is.”
The Tigers are 3-0 under Orgeron and have ascended to No. 15 in the AP Top 25. LSU managed to earn a signature victory at home against previously No. 23 Ole Miss, which drew the attention of Surtain.
The next time LSU takes the field on Saturday, Surtain and his family expect to be on the sidelines.
“Les Miles was a great coach, and not to put anything on him, but LSU has been balling lately,” Surtain said. “They just beat Ole Miss and they’re on a three-game win streak. They’ve been playing great so far.”
The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has ties to Louisiana — with family in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and nearby Gonzales — which makes the transition from South Florida to The Boot even easier.
Surtain’s recruitment has been spearheaded by Raymond, LSU’s esteemed defensive backs coach. The message has remained the same, but has been received well by the team’s top target in next year’s class.
“He’s a great coach. He gets his defensive backs right every year and he produces all of these guys. He’s just a great defensive backs coach,” Surtain said of Raymond. “I talk to him like he’s my father. To have a guy like that talk to you as a coach, it really stands out in your recruiting process. They’re letting me know I’m their top guy and to take the recruiting process patiently. They let me know that LSU will still be with me.”
Surtain expects to finalize his college decision around this time next year during his senior season. However, as mentioned earlier, patience is the theme.
Perhaps the overarching factors are ensuring he winds up at a college with a strong engineering program, where he was a great relationship with the coaching staff and if he can compete for a starting job right away. LSU checks off all three of those boxes, for now, but could easily meet both criteria whenever a head coaching decision is made.
“Of course, it’s academics,” Surtain said. “I’m trying to get the right grades and the right coaches, and if I can start a true freshman.”
Deculus clears the air on commitment
Earlier this week, a source told SEC Country that top LSU tackle commit Austin Deculus was wavering on his commitment.
That very well may be true, but as pointed out in the story, if he would’ve de-committed, wouldn’t he have done it already?
The 4-star Texas offensive lineman received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey on Wednesday and is one of nine future Tigers to participate in the All-Star game in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 1, 2017.
Deculus also cleared the air on where he stands with LSU at the moment.
“LSU has been my dream school since I was little. LSU always had that edge, the game day atmosphere no matter what was going on,” he told USA Today Sports. “It’s always been different and the coaching staff will always treat you like family.”
Deculus was a true fan of former LSU coach Les Miles and will be keeping close tabs on what transpires next with his successor, but despite some concerns he has remained loyal to his commitment.
The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder is a priority commit in the 2017 haul as the team prepares to load up on offensive linemen. And for now, his pledge continues to be safe.
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