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 the latest running back to procure an offer from LSU: Louisiana running back AJ Carter. The 3-star back camped in Baton Rouge last week and flipped from UCLA to LSU on Monday afternoon.
How LSU managed to flip AJ Carter
The rankings do not show that AJ Carter is the top running back in Louisiana’s 2018 class. An offer from LSU proves otherwise.
Carter, a 3-star prospect from Many (La.) High School, camped in Baton Rouge last Friday. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound bruiser clocked a 4.6-second 40-yard dash and impressed the LSU coaching staff with his running style and ability to catch passes out of the backfield.
Before heading back to Sabine Parish, Carter enjoyed lunch with Tigers coach Ed Orgeron. The two toured campus, walked through Tiger Stadium and discussed the future of the LSU backfield. Orgeron personally offered Carter on Friday afternoon, a moment that is still resonating with the one-time UCLA commit.
“Man, it’s like gold to know that a school of this caliber wants you to be a part of their program,” Carter told SEC Country. “It makes me feel special even though I know it involves hard work and dedication to be a part of that program.”
So, how did Carter decide to flip his commitment from UCLA to LSU?
Carter gave a verbal commitment to UCLA during his inaugural visit to Los Angeles this spring. Bruins running backs coach Deshaun Foster was among the first coaches to show interest in the Northern Louisiana product and head coach Jim Mora has made Carter a priority.
LSU may have offered late, but Orgeron, area recruiter Steve Ensminger and running backs coach Tommie Robinson have monitored Carter carefully since February. Both coaches made their way to Many High School in the spring in an attempt to get Carter on campus this summer.
With the offer, LSU put itself in a position to strike. The Tigers caught Carter’s attention and is in the mix to land the running back when he decides to finalize his plans.
“LSU was the only school that can flip me,” Carter admitted. “I was 100-percent committed to UCLA. I really like LSU, and I had to see what was going to have to see what the man upstairs has to say about all of this and what my decision was going to be.”
Carter is still jolted by his time in Baton Rouge. He, his high school football coach and Orgeron spent much of the afternoon in Orgeron’s office, on campus, and inside Tiger Stadium.
In fact, Orgeron handed the keys of the stadium to Carter. Queue
LSU’s head man and Carter discussed his fit in the offense and how he fits into the Tigers’ future blueprint. That conversation left a lasting impression on Carter.
“Man, that guy is like a young boy inside an old boy’s body,” he laughed. “His vibe … it just rubs off on you. He’s cool to be around. Being in Tiger Stadium made me visualize what he was saying about me playing there. He also let me hold the key to Tiger Stadium and let me know that after Derrius [Guice], it’ll be all up to me to run the ball and that I’m their No. 1 running back, that LSU fits me and I need to be a Tiger.”
It has been quite a week for LSU’s pursuit of running backs.
Last week, LSU landed the first running back in its 2018 class in Florida 3-star Chris Curry. Over the weekend, 3-star Alabama athlete Tae Provens gave a commitment to the Tigers. Provens will certainly have a role in the backfield rotation.
The Tigers have maintained their lead with Alabama 4-star running back Harold Joiner, who is scheduled to make a return visit to Baton Rouge in July. However, things became much murkier by the addition of Carter.
“That place can be home one day,” he said.
Originally, Carter was in no rush to make up his mind, though. It seemed as if UCLA and LSU were going to jockey for position throughout the fall.
LSU made the push quicker than anticipated, though. Carter expects to be in Baton Rouge quite a bit this fall, too, along with his family, which is filled with Tigers fans. In fact, his entire community is littered with LSU fans, which made the decision to flip all the more easy to understand.
“Man, the entire Sabine Parish is for LSU. My family is for LSU. They live and they breathe LSU, man, you just don’t know,” Carter said.
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