Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss the truth regarding Justin Rogers and the LSU spring game, the latest on an increased push from the Tigers and where he stands with just two weeks before a decision.
WEST MONROE, La. — Shhhhh!
For those curious about the “Shhhhh,” please refer to a tweet fired off by Justin Rogers on April 24, less than 48 hours removed from the LSU spring game.
Rogers is a top-100 player nationally and the top-ranked quarterback in Louisiana for 2018, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. But by being quiet, that left others to create their own narratives about his upcoming decision, scheduled for May 31.
A decision yet to be made
Truth be told, Rogers is a little unsure whether he’ll pull the trigger on a college commitment in two weeks. He’s coming off a very intense spring football season, 10 days where he shifted his focus from LSU, TCU and North Carolina onto Parkway (La.) High School and the team’s quest to return to the state championships.
May 31 is the 4-star quarterback’s birthday, and more likely than not, he will announce one of the aforementioned schools.
For now, his mind is still not made up.
“Oh no, no, no, no, no,” Rogers told SEC Country, when asked if he had made a decision yet.
“I’m not a silent commitment or anything like that. When I make my decision, I’ll know for sure and I’ll go public with it. But for now, no, I haven’t made one yet.”
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound dual-threat quarterback has seen and heard from all three of his finalists during the NCAA’s evaluation period. Coaches from LSU, TCU and North Carolina — even Harvard — were in attendance at Ouachita Parish (La.) High School last Friday to see him in action. All three were at Parkway prior to the game, making return visits to check on the quarterback.
LSU sent offensive coordinator Matt Canada and area recruiter Steve Ensminger to the first spring practice on May 1. Ensminger and wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph were back on May 12 as the team wrapped up.
Multiple visits represent serious interest. Rogers can tell how badly LSU wants him to remain in-state.
“All of them [LSU, TCU and North Carolina] have been to the school and were there today [on Friday], sitting together in the office. It was kind of weird,” he admitted. “The thing about those schools is that they’ve made a push recruiting me. UNC, LSU and TCU have been here multiple times. I’ve been to UNC once and been to TCU and LSU multiple times.”
“It mainly shows that they’re true, that they want me there,” Rogers said of LSU’s multiple trips to watch him. “They’re recruiting me and have put a lot of time and effort into recruiting me, and mainly it shows how much they want me.”
LSU’s increased push
Rogers has often referred to the LSU coaching staff’s concerted efforts of late to make up ground. So, what has that entailed?
Rogers and his family have heard from coach Ed Orgeron, Canada and Ensminger nearly every other day. Phone calls, texts and in-person visits — the whole deal.
Of course, TCU and North Carolina have followed suit. However, it’s worth noting that earlier this spring, Rogers told SEC Country that this type of communication is what he wanted from LSU.
So, where does that put the Tigers in the race as we approach the finish line?
“As we reach the 31st, everyone has turned up the heat,” Rogers said. “Multiple coaches have been texting me, they’re showing up at the school. Everyone has kind of dialed it up. For LSU, it’s been mainly the communication with the coaches. I’m talking to Coach O, Coach Ensminger every other day. Either that or they’re talking to my people every other day. They’ve been texting my brother, my mom, my dad, my uncle and even both my grandmothers. They have started to up their recruiting and the recruiting of my family.
“It shows a lot. I respect the school as a whole. LSU has tried to recruit me hard. My mama has been on the phone with them more than I am because of spring ball. All three schools have turned up the heat.”
The elephant in the room
Back to that memorable tweet. “Shhhhh.”
That was 23 days ago, 25 since the LSU spring game. You can’t ignore the 14-day stretch where Rogers took his mind off his recruitment and entrenched himself in high school football.
That was the whole purpose of the tweet, by the way. It did not signal a silent commitment. It was not a subtweet directed at the LSU offense. It was merely a reference that he was taking a big step back from his recruitment to shift his attention to his high school team.
“I tweeted out ‘Shhhhh’ — you know, I’m just keeping quiet right now, but that turned into a big misunderstanding,” Rogers explained. “People said that [I didn’t like the spring game] because I was keeping quiet. There were so many people DMing me and asking about, so I didn’t respond. Me and Coach Canada talked about the offense and showed me what I could do and I saw that when they moved indoors. They were moving the ball around and I liked it, but people kept going out on a limb because I was keeping silent.”
Major misunderstandings aside, Rogers walked away impressed with what the Tigers displayed on offense during the spring game. The motions, the shifts and the emphasis on the passing game left the elite quarterback with something to ponder leading into his decision.
As far as what Canada said to Rogers behind closed doors — that’s nothing to ignore either.
It involved Rogers’ chances of playing early, something that the early enrollee aims to do at whatever program he chooses. That conversation resonated with the Under Armour All-American, and long story short, a very generalized “Shhhhh” tweet did not reflect poorly on anything regarding LSU.
In fact, quite the contrary.
“We talked about what this offense can do,” Rogers said. “”We talked about my possible chances of playing early. You know, the job is up for grabs right now. If Danny Etling gets the job, then the job is up for grabs this time next year, and that really is the main thing.”
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