METAIRIE, La. — Momentum is a real thing.
That, of course, is according to LSU coach Ed Orgeron, who watched firsthand as his 2019 recruiting class picked up seven commitments in a 15-day span and rose to No. 3 in the 247Sports composite team rankings. Only Alabama and Texas A&M stand in the way of the Tigers from the highly coveted No. 1 spot.
This wild stretch in the middle of June coincided with newly implemented summer official visits and the annual elite high school prospect camp. Texas cornerback Marcus Banks jump-started the month when he committed on June 10. Ten days later, 5-star Baton Rouge cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. followed suit.
Some of those commitments, admittedly, Orgeron expected. When camp got underway, LSU’s coach anticipated making some more noise. But seven commits in a two-week span and vaulting toward the top of the national rankings — those were welcomed surprises in the building.
“Obviously, certain guys start the momentum,” Orgeron said Thursday at the Tigers Tour at Walk-Ons in Metairie. “One thing that’s impressed me is that we have some players in the state of Louisiana recruiting for LSU. That’s big when recruits recruit each other. Also, our coaches buy into our plan. It’s not one person or two people; we recruit as a team.
“Camp is always a good time, but I didn’t know it would happen like it did. I knew a couple of commitments were coming. I knew we had some guys coming to camp, and if we offered, they would come. But there were a couple of surprises, but they were good surprises.”
Those good surprises arrived last Friday after Orgeron offered 4-star Alabama quarterback Peter Parrish, who committed over the phone. LSU did not offer the dual-threat prospect following his performance at the elite camp last Thursday, but did so before the Parrish family arrived to camp at Tennessee the following morning.
Orgeron did not want to wait to see if the Vols swooped in on Parrish. He and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger re-evaluated the quarterback’s film. Clearly, the staff saw all of the on-the-field qualities and intangibles to take the reins of the LSU offense.
“The No. 1 thing I look for in a quarterback is accuracy,” Ensminger explained. “We have all these camps in June, and in every camp, there’s big, strong-armed guys that can throw out of sight, throw deep. But in this league, it’s about completing a pass. I’m looking for accuracy.
“No. 2, can you lead this football team?” he continued. “No. 3, are you a football junkie? Do you want to learn at all or do you know it all? No. 4 is toughness. If you want to lead this team, be a tough kid and take your shots … you’ve got to be able to bring this team together.”
Parrish was the first commitment during the camp season stretch. He was followed by junior college tight end TK McClendon, junior college defensive back Dreshun Miller, a flip of one-time Auburn commit Cordale Flott before Kendall McCallum followed suit on Monday. That puts LSU at 18 total commits as the dead period arrives.
There are reserved spots for seven more pieces in the Tigers’ 2019 recruiting class, many of whom reside in the Bayou. Notable targets include John Emery Jr., Donte’ Starks, Noah Cain, Ishmael Sopsher, Trey Palmer, Devonta Lee, Devin Bush, Christian Harris, Chester Kimbrough and Ray Parker, among others.
Spots may be limited, but Orgeron has a calculated approach. He’s searching for future Tigers who want to compete, that want to stay the course and be productive at LSU.
Recruiting does not resume in July — it continues. When August arrives, Orgeron and his coaching staff will push forward into his second fall camp as the coach at LSU and devote plenty of time toward rounding out this talented 2019 class — one that may or may not push for the No. 1 spot in the country, but one that’ll remind the fan base of previously great hauls.
“We have 18 commitments and we’re very proud,” he said. “Once we have a young man in the building, that’s when recruiting really starts. We have seven more [spots] to give. There’s a lot of great players, especially in the state of Louisiana … We have a very good class that has filled needs at a position and we want to continue to do that. I believe if we continue on, we’ll have a highly ranked class that LSU is used to having.
“The thing that matters most to me,” he added, “is that we find guys with great character, guys that’ll last at LSU and have productive careers at LSU. That’s what matters to me.”