PEARL, Miss. — Cam Akers is one of the nation’s most highly sought-after prospects in the Class of 2017, but LSU just recently entered the race.
A five-star running back and the No. 1 prospect from the state of Mississippi, Akers considered LSU an afterthought for the early part of his recruitment.
That was until Jabbar Juluke took over for Frank Wilson as the team’s running backs coach.
Once the torch was passed, Juluke quickly reached out to Akers and his family about bringing 6-foot, 212-pound prospect onto LSU’s campus. Once he landed in Baton Rouge, La., the one-time Alabama commit immediately reversed his opinion of the Tigers.
“Well, the last running backs coach (Wilson) was there, they (LSU) didn’t recruit me that well or hard, and it was almost like whatever. I wasn’t focused on them,” Akers told SEC Country on Wednesday at the Pearl (Miss.) High School satellite camp.
“Coach Juluke convinced me and my family to take a visit, and since then they’ve been hitting me hard. The running backs coach started talking to me about getting me down here. He was on the phone with my parents and she (my mom) told him about the past experienced. He told them he’d change their mind, so we went and he definitely did that.”
Juluke’s straightforward approach not only led Akers to visit LSU, but to name the Tigers as one of his leading schools.
Both Juluke and coach Les Miles delivered simple yet appealing messages to Akers during the five-star prospect’s two visits to campus, which has the country’s No. 2-rated back strongly considering a future in the purple and gold.
“I’m the guy,” a smiling Akers said. “I’m the guy they wanted. They want me to come there bad. Their message was that I’m the guy and they’re going to recruit me hard.”
“He (Miles) said I’m definitely the guy,” he added. “He said he’s got an eye for talent. He recruited (Leonard) Fournette real well. He had an eye for Fournette and he feels the same way about me, that I can definitely come in and work in the two-man rotation. That meant a lot and it gives me something to work toward — to be like him, not just close. I’m trying to be where he’s at.”
The Magnolia State product has made two trips to LSU — for the spring game in April and for the Bayou Picnic last month — and has plans to return to Baton Rouge, La., sometime this summer.
Akers’ family felt comfortable on the LSU campus and with the coaching staff, which is a factor the elite running back has prioritized at this stage in his recruitment.
“Coach Miles, Coach Juluke, the staff and the people in general are very family oriented,” Akers explained. “That’s definitely a big factor because I don’t want to go anywhere that’s all business. The family part comes and plays a part, and so does recruiting my real family. They don’t want to go somewhere that’s all business. They want it to feel like a second home.They made my top 10 and I’ll be taking a closer look at them.
“They don’t want to go somewhere that’s all business. They want it to feel like a second home. They thought the same thing I thought, and it’s a great school and a great situation also. I can see it. They made my top 10 and I’ll be taking a closer look at them.”
As Akers continues to narrow down the field throughout the summer, his future roles on the team will be another factor he’ll consider, and he sees a unique opportunity at LSU.
Fournette may pursue the NFL after this season and backup Derrius Guice would be the only player separating Akers from a starting job.
Akers is intrigued by sharing backfield duties with Guice and eventually taking over as the Tigers’ No. 1 running back.
“Fournette is probably going to leave, and Guice will be there, so if he leaves after his junior year I can come in and step in and take that starting position,” Akers said. “While he’s there, I’ll be in the two-man rotation, which is a good deal. I like the ball in my hands. I definitely like it, and as long as the running back isn’t getting beat up I can’t complain if I’m getting the ball.”