James Cregg making strong impression on 4-star tackle Javonne Shepherd
Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss first-year LSU offensive line coach James Cregg and his search for an offensive tackle. One name to be aware of is 4-star Texas tackle Javonne Shepherd.
James Cregg targeting Javonne Shepherd
KATY, Texas — Javonne Shepherd has an early idea of who his top teams are. For now, LSU is on the outside looking in.
The Tigers sit behind several in-state programs, an SEC rival and some Big 12 power players. That could very well change in the next few weeks, however, as first-year offensive line coach James Cregg begins to make his mark with the top-300 prospect.
“My top schools are Texas A&M, Alabama, Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma,” Shepherd told SEC Country at Nike’s The Opening regional camp in Houston last month.
Shepherd, the No. 32-ranked offensive tackle in the 2019 class, already has made unofficial visits to Texas A&M, Oklahoma and, most recently, Texas. He has plans to visit Alabama and Georgia, though no dates have been set.
LSU, too, is pushing for a visit from the talented Houston product. Cregg is in daily contact with Shepherd, who says a trip to Baton Rouge is likely in the near future.
“He actually texted me this morning,” Shepherd laughed. “He said: ‘Good morning. How you doing? How everything going?’ — things like that. I think I’ll be visiting there very soon.”
LSU kicks off spring football practice on Sunday.
Cregg is beginning his first tour of duty with the Tigers after being tabbed to replace longtime offensive line coach Jeff Grimes this winter. Grimes is the architect behind LSU’s current offensive line that Cregg is inheriting.
In 2018, Grimes helped LSU sign the nation’s top junior college tackle, Badara Traore, who will compete for a starting job opposite Saahdiq Charles beginning this weekend. He also landed junior college guard Damien Lewis and Mississippi All-American center Cole Smith, who also will be participating in spring practice. The fourth signee, Cameron Wire, joins the team for fall camp in June.
As far as who’s next to join the Tigers’ trenchmen, Cregg is making a strong early impression on Shepherd.
“Coach Cregg, the offensive line coach, he’s a very active coach. He hits me up all the time and they have a chance to slip in [to my top group],” the 6-foot-6, 319-pound Shepherd said. “He’s a great coach and he really motivates me. He likes to talk to me and stuff like that. He’ll talk to me about my life and see how I’m doing … it’s just different.”
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