Louisiana has experienced some of the worst natural disasters in our country’s history, and the most recent flooding in Baton Rouge, La., and other parts of the state has certainly put itself in that conversation.
The latest flooding already has taken several lives, forced numerous others to evacuate their homes and has left others in shelters. While some of Louisiana’s residents already have lost their homes to the flooding and others are hoping to avoid that same fate, there are a few stories with happier endings.
Members and targets of LSU’s 2017, 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes located in and near Baton Rouge spoke to SEC Country on what it’s been like to deal with the chaos of the past few days.
Aaron Moffitt, 2017 LSU DL commit (Baton Rouge, La.)
Moffitt, one of the early pledges in the Tigers’ 2017 class and the son of LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt, was not hit by the flooding. The Moffitt’s home is located on a hill, which helped keep the area safe.
Moffitt’s neighbors were not as lucky, which compelled the 3-star defensive lineman and his father to try and provide aid to those who needed it.
“A lot of (the water) has gone down,” Moffitt said. “I live near LSU, so I was able to stay around campus. My family has also helped. We have a family staying at our house in the meantime.”
The Moffitts have not stopped there. In addition to sheltering a neighbor, Aaron, his father and his brother have used a boat to try and corral household items that may have been displaced by the flooding.
Whatever they can do, they will.
“We went out to the O’Neal area and the Denham (Springs) area and helped save a few families that needed help,” Moffitt said. “My brother has a boat and we were pulling all kinds of luggage and important items that they couldn’t transport themselves.”
While Moffitt and his family are persevering through the adverse circumstances, the LSU coaches also have been in touch. Director of Player Personnel and Assistant Athletic Director Austin Thomas and members of Moffitt’s strength staff have all been in contact with the family and have availed themselves if need be.
“All of the coaches are being very positive and are looking to help in any way,” the younger Moffitt said. “If anyone is in need, (they say) let me know and they will do the best they can to help.”
Patrick Queen, 2017 LSU LB commit (Livonia, La.)
Livonia is located just outside of Baton Rouge in Pointee Coupe Parish. It’s where Queen, a 4-star commit, resides and just where the flooding seemed to miss this past weekend.
Flooding reached parts of the town, but not Queen’s home. The linebacker has heard from nearly every member of the LSU coaching staff, though, including coach Les Miles, and all offered to help out his family if they needed it.
“I’ve been talking to all of the coaches,” Queen said. “Our family is getting through it pretty well. We haven’t had any problems, but I heard it’s bad in Baton Rouge and I wish I could help. The back of our town is flooded like Baton Rouge, so we know what it’s like.
“The whole defensive staff called me. Coach (Dameyune) Craig and Coach Les (Miles), too, were checking on us to see if we were holding up OK and if I need anything to let them know.”
Kardell Thomas, 2019 OL commit (Baton Rouge, La.)
Flooding reached Thomas’ home, but the damage was not as bad as they expected.
Thomas, who committed to LSU last month during the team’s elite prospect camp, had difficulty contacting anybody once his cell phone service went down. He and his family have since taken residence at a hotel and are on the way to spending the next few days with other family members.
The rising sophomore lineman is just happy that his house wasn’t completely destroyed.
“I tried to call Coach (Jeff) Grimes, but my service has been down,” Thomas said. “We left our house (in Baker, La.). God saved it so it’s not bad at all considering we live in the most flooded part (of town). It’s better than what we expected, so we’ll probably be back in a few weeks. We’re just focusing on getting it redone with the flood insurance. We’re not without anything, we just need to fix the house.”
Todd Harris, 2017 safety (Plaquemine, La.)
Plaquemine is located just minutes away from LSU, but 4-star safety Todd Harris and his family have managed to get by just fine.
That has not deterred coaches from numerous SEC teams to reach out to the elite defensive back. That includes phone calls from Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss in recent days.
“They were just making sure me and my family were all safe,” Harris said.
Harris is also LSU’s top choice for a third safety in its star-studded 2017 class.
JaCoby Stevens, 2017 safety (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Tennessee is a long ways away from Baton Rouge, but the majority of Stevens’ family resides in The Boot.
Stevens’ three cousins — three of the primary reasons why he selected LSU over Alabama, Georgia and Auburn earlier this month — live in Baton Rouge, but have since relocated to his hometown of Crowley, La., to make do during the flooding.
“They are fine,” Stevens said with a sigh of relief. “They moved to Crowley to live with my grandma for a while. It’s hard and I’ve been watching it on television.”
Derek Stingley Jr., 2019 LSU DB commit (Baton Rouge, La.)
Like many other families that live in Baton Rouge, the Stingleys were forced to leave their home.
No severe damage was done to their house, but nonetheless, the rising sophomore defensive back has been taken back by what he’s seen these past few days.
“My family and I are doing fine,” Stingley said. “We had to leave our house because of the flood, but it ended up not getting into our house. But for a lot of other people out here, they’re just losing everything. There’s water up to the roofs and they have nowhere to go but the shelters. It’s so bad and nobody really expected any of this.”
Mannie Netherly, 2017 LSU WR commit (Crosby, Texas)
One of the driving forces behind Netherly’s commitment to LSU is the fact that he has family all across Louisiana, including in Baton Rouge. Fortunately enough, the Netherlys were not hit hard by the storm.
The 4-star wide receiver has sympathized with the victims, though, as the Houston area also suffered from flooding in recent months.
“My family is doing well,” Netherly said. “They didn’t get affected by the flooding and I’ve heard about it a lot. I’m pretty sure it’s just like the flooding here in Houston a few months ago, so we know exactly what they are going through. All I can do is keep praying and hope everything will turn out OK for my future home.”
Kelvin Joseph, 2018 DB commit (Baton Rouge, La.)
Joseph lives minutes away from the LSU campus and was not as fortunate as some others. The 5-star cornerback from Scotlandville Magnet High School (Baton Rouge, La.) has not directly seen some of the damage, but knows many who have.
“My family is getting through good, but we lost a couple of homes with our friends and family,” Joseph said.
The standout rising junior has regularly been in touch with LSU offensive coordinator and area recruiter Cam Cameron during the tragic events. Like many of the other coaches reaching out to prospects, the message is clear.
“He was just checking to make sure that I was doing OK,” Joseph said.
Lowell Narcisse, 2017 LSU QB commit (St. James, La.)
One of LSU’s two quarterback commits also survived the flooding relatively unscathed. That didn’t stop the 4-star dual-threat quarterback and some of his high school teammates from lending a hand on Monday.
Narcisse’s coach, Robert Valdez, posted this photo to his Twitter account of the elite passer helping out in relief efforts. Notice Narcisse’s effective — and stylish — rain boots.
— Coach Robert Valdez (@CoachRobertVal) August 15, 2016
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 Tiger Stadium.