Cheyenne Labruzza was a regular presence at LSU’s campus throughout the spring and during the team’s spring practices, but had not returned to Baton Rouge, La., since he committed to rival Tennessee.
That changed over the weekend, when the 3-star cornerback was back at LSU and reunited with the entire Tigers coaching staff for the first time since April.
Labruzza, who was on hand for LSU’s “Boys From The Boot” event when he procured his offer, and made two more stops in March, received the red-carpet treatment from the coaching staff from the moment he stepped foot on campus. That began with a greeting from area recruiter Ed Orgeron and continued with a private meeting in Les Miles’ office.
At different times, almost every single LSU assistant coach had face time with the prized cornerback. Not surprisingly, they were prepared for Labruzza’s visit and were transparent with their plea.
“If I had to sum everything up into one message from them, it would be that Tennessee is not a bad choice but LSU still wants Cheyenne Labruzza,” he told SEC Country. “That’s summed up and abbreviated, but that’s the overall message.
“Coach O greeted me as I arrived. We talked, and then he brought me upstairs to meet with Coach Miles before the event started. Also, I met with (defensive backs) Coach (Corey) Raymond at the time. Once the tournament started, I talked with Coach (Bradley Dale) Peveto, Coach (Jabbar) Juluke and (Director of Player Personnel) Austin Thomas in between games.”
The 6-foot, 185-pound defensive back has been in touch with members of the LSU coaching staff since committing. Orgeron has been Labruzza’s primary recruiter, visiting the elite in-state talent in the days following his pledge to the Vols and trying to lure him to camp right before the dead period set in last month.
Now face to face with those familiar faces, Labruzza provided an update on where the Tigers stood.
The standout cornerback believes that the LSU coaches were pleased, especially as it came from a prospect committed to another school in the SEC.
“I kept everything true and honest, and I told them that if I were to go to college tomorrow, Tennessee is where I would be going,” Labruzza said. “But to know LSU is still interested in signing me is such a blessing. I have no clue of what tomorrow’s endeavors are, and I believe they took it and ran with it and used it as progress.
“Those are two of the schools that are on me the hardest, but as far as my decision, Tennessee is a clear winner. But since there is so much time left before us 2017 recruits sign, there are so many factors that can completely change the recruiting process around. As long as one feels they have a shot and some time, then they can get the job done.”
Labruzza’s visit to LSU will be followed by a trip to Knoxville, Tenn., for the Vols’ prospect camp, and a likely return trip to Baton Rouge, La., for the Tigers’ elite prospect camp on Saturday, July 21.
Potentially, the Albany (La.) High School product could be making his second visit to LSU this month and his fifth since earning his offer back in February. It should come as no surprise that Labruzza feels comfortable when he’s on the LSU campus considering his longstanding relationships with numerous members of the coaching staff and the fact that he’s been there so frequently.
“It was a great visit,” he said. “It was nice because I knew everyone on campus and I knew my ways around, the place so I didn’t feel out of place there. I did feel like a lot of eyes were on me, but I just had to compete. I felt really comfortable considering I’ve played a great deal of football on LSU’s fields, so everything just felt natural.”
It’s an encouraging sign for the LSU coaches, who have made Labruzza a clear-cut target sitting atop of their cornerback big board for the 2017 class.
If Labruzza does in fact make a return trip to LSU this weekend, it should solidify the in-state’s stance as his No. 2 school. It would also put him in a position to compete against some of the team’s current wide receiver commits such as Stephen Guidry, Jhamon Ausbon and Mannie Netherly, among others, and allow the recruits to do some of the recruiting themselves.
Nonetheless, the fact that LSU remains in the race for Labruzza is a signal that the door is not yet completely closed. He may be favoring Tennessee at the moment, but the LSU coaches have prioritized him so much that it’s been difficult not to pay attention.
“It’s a blessing and it makes me work harder because that shows me that not everyone has that opportunity so I try to work even harder so I can make the most of the opportunity given because at the end of the day all I can ask for is an opportunity,” Labruzza said.
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.