PLAQUEMINE, La. — There is no college campus Todd Harris is more familiar with than that of LSU’s.
Yet, despite frequent visits and consistent communication, there are several roadblocks that stand between LSU’s attempt to nab yet another top-10 safety.
Fear not. Secondary coach Corey Raymond is already checking those off.
In the past month, LSU’s defensive backs guru has stopped by Plaquemine (La.) High School to take in one of Harris’ games. He’s been in touch with Harris ever since and is in the process of luring both the safety and his parents onto campus for a different type of unofficial visit.
“I talked to LSU just last night,” Harris told SEC Country last Tuesday after receiving his Under Armour All-America Game jersey. “Coach Raymond wants to get closer with my mom and dad, so I’ll probably take them over there sometime soon — not on game day — to meet the coaches.
“Coach Raymond came to see me two weeks ago. Our relationship is constantly excelling and I’m looking forward to it continuing to excel and getting to know the whole staff.”
LSU already holds commitments from two safeties in its 2017 class: 5-star recruit JaCoby Stevens and 4-star recruit Grant Delpit. However, Raymond aims to reel in numerous prospects at the position to replenish a defensive backfield that’s set to lose Jamal Adams, Rickey Jefferson, Tre’Davious White and Dwayne Thomas, among others.
Harris holds a relationship with both Stevens and Delpit and remains in touch with both, who will also compete in the All-America Game. More importantly, he is unfazed by the number of safeties LSU is trying to sign.
“It made a big impression,” the 4-star defensive back said of Raymond’s visit. “It shows they’re still behind me, even though they have two safety commits. They’re still recruiting me. Coach Raymond talked to me last night. They still want me and I respect that, so I’ll keep them in my mix of schools.”
Raymond often touches base with Harris to receive updated game stats and check in on his family.
Speaking of which, Raymond is attempting to lure Harris’ mother and father to Baton Rouge. Harris’ father is in tune with the football side of his son’s recruitment, while his mother — a principal in Iberville Parish — is paying closer attention to the academic part.
“It means a lot,” Harris said of his family’s upcoming visit to LSU. “They want me and want to show my family a good time and what the school has to offer. They want to show mama the academic center and my dad the football side. If they develop a good relationship with my parents, that’s all that matters to me. If they have a good relationship with me and my parents, that’s good.”
Another unofficial visit for Harris would be his fourth this fall. The nation’s No. 3 safety has been on hand for the Mississippi State, Missouri and Southern Miss games, in addition to numerous recruiting events dating to the spring.
Between his interest in the program and the relationships he’s forged with some of the current Tigers players, the visits are becoming the norm.
“It’s just home,” Harris stated. “Some of the guys like Drake Davis and Cam Lewis, I’m getting a great relationship with those guys. It’s in my backyard. I don’t have to travel too far to get to a big game. Thank God, I was born in Louisiana. It’s a great football state, a great football program and great fans. Louisiana is just great and I’m glad to have been born in Louisiana.”
Arguably the final domino before Harris’ Jan. 1, 2017, commitment will be learning LSU’s next head coach.
Harris is a fan of interim coach Ed Orgeron and the energy he’s injected into the team. Still, there is some uncertainty hovering over the position that coincides with his decision timeline.
“I want to see what head coach they get,” he said. “Hopefully, they can keep coach O. That would be great news, but if not, I want to see what coach they pull in.”
“I don’t have a bond with either one of those coaches,” Harris said of Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Houston’s Tom Herman. “They recruited me early in the process, but it doesn’t matter because you build relationships with coaches. If (Raymond) were to leave, then I’d have to change things up.”
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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