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 LSU’s priority 2018 quarterback target, James Foster, who is coming off an official visit to Baton Rouge. The 4-star prospect says the bar has been set — and high — ahead of a Signing Day decision.
4-star QB James Foster recaps LSU official visit
James Foster had never been to LSU, not even to Baton Rouge.
The 4-star quarterback’s visit this past weekend marked his first. It was an official visit, the first of four that the Elite 11 finalist has in store ahead of a National Signing Day decision.
Before making his way to the Bayou, Foster claimed all four of his top schools — LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M and Florida State — were on an even playing field. That’s no longer the case. The Tigers’ priority quarterback target has a whole new perception after a memorable first trip to LSU.
“The bar has really been set for LSU,” Foster told SEC Country. “Before I went on my official visit, every school was equal. No school had an edge on another school, but after the LSU official visit, the bar has been set by them. The others schools I’m going to visit, I know that they’re going to bring their A game. I’m ready to see where it goes.”
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Alabama native will head to Alabama this weekend before a visit to Texas A&M and Florida State right before Signing Day.
Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Willie Taggart will have to contend with the red-carpet treatment that coach Ed Orgeron planned for Foster and his parents, which centered around the Tigers’ need — not want —for the blue-chip quarterback.
“It was definitely a great experience,” Foster detailed. “The people out there were great. Everything about the school was great. It was fantastic. I enjoyed it so much and it was so much more than what I expected it to be. They welcomed me with open arms. They stressed the whole weekend how they need a quarterback. The whole time, the players were telling me that. The coaches were telling me that — that I can come in and compete for the job.”
“The best part of the visit,” he added, “was everything. I enjoyed the whole visit.”
Really Enjoyed The Boot 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/VQXHEN6Klo
— James Foster II (@YungSimba4) January 14, 2018
Steve Ensminger makes his pitch
Orgeron tabbed Steve Ensminger as LSU’s next offensive coordinator 24 hours before Foster arrived in Baton Rouge for his official visit. The timing was no coincidence.
LSU had been planning to promote Ensminer into the new role well ahead of Jan. 12 weekend. That was quite clear when the newly minted coordinator broke down tape with Foster in the film room as the Tigers’ quarterbacks coach made an impression on the team’s top target at the position.
“We talked a lot about how the offense is going up-tempo and will include a lot of no-huddle. Basically, they’re doing the same thing as my offense in high school,” Foster said. “We sat down, broke down film; we broke down my film and some of their film. Some of the plays that they run are similar to what I ran in high school. It’s some of the same stuff with tempo, a lot of RPO game.
“With Coach E, I feel like the offense fits me perfectly. The RPOs, the no-huddle. I feel like it would fit me perfectly.”
Foster completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,912 yards, throwing 31 touchdowns compared to 3 interceptions during his senior season at Sidney Lanier (Ala.) High School.
Ensminger believes that Foster would be an ideal fit at LSU, pushing the new-look offense, incoming passing attack and the quarterback depth during the meeting. The difference between want and need certainly caught his attention.
“They stressed [the depth chart] to me a lot,” Foster recalled. “They said other schools want you, but we literally need you. I know what opportunities I have and at LSU, they really stressed it to me. I told them that I wanted to see what other schools have to offer me during my official visits at those schools. They respected that, but they hope that they get me. They need a quarterback and I’m the only quarterback on their board … and they want me bad.”
The Terrace Marshall Jr. factor
Foster met 5-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. in Los Angeles back in June during the Elite 11 event. Foster was a finalist in the nation’s top quarterback competition, while Marshall was the invited guest of now-TCU quarterback Justin Rogers.
The two bonded then and reconnected over the weekend. This time, however, Marshall was enrolled at LSU and got in Foster’s ear about teaming up.
“Me and Terrace … we met this past summer at the Elite 11,” Foster explained. “We already had a great bond. He told me that he needs me up there in The Boot, to be his quarterback. He told me that they [LSU] are going to throw a lot, which definitely means a lot.
“I know the type of wide receiver he is and having that type guy as a receiver to go to … I love it. I know he’s a great kid and a great wide receiver, and I can see us playing together for the next three to four years.”
Marshall made his pitch to Foster. As did Orgeron.
On the final day of the three-day official visit, LSU’s coach sat down with Foster and his family to give him some food for thought before he returned to Montgomery, Ala. Orgeron made Foster’s spot on the Tigers’ wish list exceedingly clear, but more importantly, provided a unique cap to the trip.
“It was a rare feeling, just like crazy because this is such a dream come true,” Foster said. “Honestly, to see myself talking to Coach O, being the head target for them, it’s a dream come true. It’s a surreal feeling that I never thought in a million years would be happening. It gave me chills just thinking about it.”
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