MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Ever since LSU walked into Alabama and poached one of the state’s premier defensive linemen, there has been a thought the Tigers could lose him.
That is not the case with Justin Thomas.
The 3-star defensive end from Spanish Fort (Ala.) High officially visited LSU last weekend, but that trip did not lock up his plans to be a Tiger. No, that decision was finalized on Nov. 26 — when Ed Orgeron was named the team’s new head coach.
“It locked me up when Coach O got the job,” Thomas told SEC Country during the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.
“He’s a cool guy and I really like him a lot. I like his personality and his coaching style because he lets his coaches coach.”
Orgeron and area recruiter Dameyune Craig have spearheaded Thomas’ recruitment from the start, culminating in a surprise commitment in August.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pounder, ranked as the No. 20-ranked strong-side end in the Class of 2017, has received increased interest from both Alabama and Tennessee as LSU underwent a coaching transition. Yet, Thomas said those rival schools never really were a threat to LSU’s chances.
“I hear from them (Orgeron and Craig) like every week,” Thomas said. “They tell me to stay with them, but that’s about it. Alabama and Tennessee were talking to me, but I just like coach O a lot.”
Thomas made two trips to Baton Rouge this fall.
First, he attended the LSU-Alabama game, then returned last weekend for his official visit. Thomas was hosted by senior defensive end Lewis Neal and was convinced he was making the right decision.
“I’ve been there before — for the Alabama game,” Thomas recalled. “It was crazy, the stadium was shaking, and that’s something I think about.”
“It went really well,” he added pertaining to the official. “I liked it a lot. I got to talk to all of the coaches and I feel like I’m really important to them.”
The 3-star defensive end graduates from high school next week and will be on LSU’s campus the first week of January.
Thomas has nothing but optimism about his future in Baton Rouge and the recruiting class he’s coming in with.
“I just can’t wait to be out there,” Thomas said. “I can’t wait to be meeting new people and playing with my boys.”
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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