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 Louisiana’s top-ranked running back, John Emery Jr., who after visiting each school on his top-8 list is inching closer to a commitment. The LSU target recaps his most recent stop in Baton Rouge and when he could make a decision.
John Emery Jr. has a commitment timeline in mind
DESTREHAN, La. — At the start of spring football practice, Louisiana’s No. 1 running back was beginning to lean in one direction in his recruitment. It’s funny what can change in a matter of weeks.
John Emery Jr., the No. 5-ranked tailback in the country, played only a handful of snaps Wednesday night in Destrehan High School’s spring game, which lured college coaches from all over to Wildcats Stadium.
The LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Southern California staffs were represented, including a pair from LSU and Georgia to see Emery live in action.
Emery released a top-8 list at the start of the spring and is slowly chipping away at that group in the hopes of making a decision as early as June. Whether it’s June or July, Emery is aiming for a summertime decision, a process that a month ago seemed somewhat easy but is now growing more difficult with each day, each conversation and each visit.
“It’s still close,” Emery told SEC Country. “I’m still waiting, trying to take some more visits and still scheduling things out, but I plan on committing in June. It’s nothing specific, just sometime in that month.”
Emery made an unofficial visit to Georgia over the weekend, bringing along his mother for the return trip for the weekend scavenger hunt. The visit followed an appearance from running backs coach Dell McGee and area recruiter Cortez Hankton at the 4-star running back’s spring game.
The 6-foot, 200-pound back’s return to Athens, Ga., followed a significant visit to LSU in late April in which Emery sat down with running backs coach Tommie Robinson about his potential fit in the Tigers offense.
“It was great,” Emery said of the visit to LSU. “I had a great time with coach Mickey Joseph and T-Rob. It felt like home. I actually chilled with a couple of guys from Destrehan like Justin Jefferson. I had a great time. I always have a good time when I go to LSU. It’s just like home.”
Before the visit to LSU, Emery admitted that he had a school in mind. That thought process was quickly altered in Baton Rouge.
The conversation with Robinson provided Emery with an in-depth look at his specific role in the offense. The Tigers will lose senior Nick Brossette following the 2018 season and are in dire need of quality backs to replenish the depth in the backfield. Emery was all ears in the meeting room.
“It was positive. We have never sat down to talk about how he could utilize me in the offense and I saw myself doing things there in the future,” he said. “It pushed it. It was amazing, but it’s going to be a hard decision. It made me realize the schools I’ve got on my mind right now — and LSU is one of them — it’s going to be hard going back up there.
“This time when I went up there and sat down with Coach T-Rob, we talked about me in the offense and that’s what made it different. That’s what made it hard for me. Thinking in the future, it’s going to be hard for me to pick a school, weigh out the different schools because the schools in my top [group] right now are all great.”
Tentatively, Emery wants to put a bow on his recruitment in about a month’s time. A return visit to Georgia and a two-coach presence at the spring game is a likely sign that the Bulldogs are LSU’s biggest threat for the elite running back. More visits are expected, and that includes LSU before Emery finalizes his plans.
When asked how close the schools at the top are at this moment, Emery offered this response: “It’s still close. It does [make things hard]. LSU is home and the connections I could have there … it’s going to be a hard decision for me.”
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