BERWICK, La. — When Kenan Jones was first recruited by LSU, he didn’t know what was going on. At all.
Jones was just a freshman at Berwick High School, which at the time was stuck in a two-decade rut of football mediocrity or worse. So when he was called out of the room during a Saturday film session, he assumed the worst.
“I’m thinking I got caught doing something in the hallway and got in trouble or something,” Jones said. “But it turned out to be good.”
It was LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, the New Iberia native whose recruiting territory covered South Louisiana. Not that it made a difference to Jones.
“I can’t even lie,” Jones said. “I didn’t know who Corey Raymond was.”
That was through no fault of Raymond’s. Jones was more into reading sci-fi novels like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Sports were something he did, not something he watched.
Jones’ recruitment took quite a few twists and turns in the three years that followed his first meeting with an LSU coach, but he stuck with the Tigers — despite a brief de-commitment — and comes to campus this summer as part of a stacked four-man receiver class.
Jones recently sat down with SEC Country and revisited his recruitment process.
Kenan Jones recruiting rewind
SEC Country: So why did you de-commit in February 2017?
Jones: I was in my feelings at that whole point in time. I just got tired of everybody talking. One day I came home from Sunday school and de-committed without thinking.
Why that day in particular?
Jones: I got in trouble for something at school, I think it was English class. Somehow the conversation got from that to what you want to do later in life other than football. My coach asked me if LSU was where I really want to go. I just thought about it, so I went home and reopened my commitment without thinking.
How quickly did other schools jump in when that happened?
Once I posted that I de-committed, so many schools hit me up on the spot. Within like a three-day period I got five or six offers right off the bat.
The first one was like 30 minutes after. I think that was Tennessee. No, it was the [UTSA] Roadrunners.
What got you back on board with LSU?
I just went back to LSU and cleared my head. Once I went back up there again, I was back on board. [I like] the way they treat everybody like family. The competitive nature of everybody. Once I re-committed I just turned my phone off.
Did you visit anywhere else?
I went on unofficial visits to Arkansas and Kansas.
What’s the deal with Kansas? They’ve been having a lot of success recruiting in Louisiana lately.
It’s Coach [Tony] Hull. He’s got the connections in New Orleans.
Did Coach Hull impress you?
He came and said a lot of stuff. When you’ve got a program like that, I looked at it like, alright, my freshman year I’m getting playing time no matter what.
Your high school program struggled for years, including when you were a freshman. Then the team got good. Did that taste of winning make it harder for Kansas?
I really did think about ‘Alright, y’all win like 2 games a season, so that’s what my high school was like. Do I really want to walk back into that situation and have a team that’s just rebuilding everything?’
It helps to know I’m always going to compete in postseason at LSU.
What’s your relationship like with LSU receivers coach Mickey Joseph?
Coach Mickey, we hit it off from the start. It’s weird. You go to a camp, you don’t expect a coach to dig into your ass as soon as you get to the camp. Y’all are just building a relationship. He wants the best out of you as a player and individual.
Why did he ‘dig into your ass?’
I beat somebody on a route and I stopped and turned around and talked. Just small stuff.
Are you a big talker?
At camps I talk because I don’t have pads on. I can’t prove my physical nature to you.
What do you think of passing game coordinator Jerry Sullivan?
He’s one of the old cats that know the game. He knows a lot about the game. He’s ready to work with all of us coming in.
Did you know what was going down with Matt Canada before he was fired?
It all caught me by surprise. When I was at school, the baseball coach was like ‘What you hear about Coach Canada?’ I was like ‘Whatcha mean?’ He was like, ‘He said he’s leaving.’ I was like, ‘Oh. He didn’t tell me nothing about that.’
How do you feel about new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger’s scheme? That coaching change happened after you signed.
I love it. Pass-first. Pass to run. I study my playbook every night. Looking at the plays and formations we have, it should be fun. It should be a sight to watch LSU.