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 how LSU’s new offense appeals to Louisiana’s top-ranked quarterback.
NEW ORLEANS — Elite Louisiana quarterback Justin Rogers released his top seven schools at the beginning of March, but already he has trimmed the list to three.
LSU, North Carolina and TCU have separated themselves in Rogers’ mind, with the in-state Tigers gaining serious momentum with less than three months until the 4-star dual-threat prospect plans to make a decision.
Sure, LSU had ground to make up after some blips on the radar involving communication with the coaching staff and wrong phone numbers, but offensive coordinator Matt Canada has quickly made amends. Both sides are in touch on a daily basis, but perhaps more importantly, his stamp on the new-look Tigers offense has left the state’s top quarterback especially intrigued.
“It was a live atmosphere,” Rogers told SEC Country at Nike’s “The Opening” regional in New Orleans this weekend, where he punched his ticket as the sixth quarterback to advance to the Elite 11 competition.
“It was crazy at practice. Coach Canada, Coach E (Steve Ensminger) and Coach O (Ed Orgeron) were all into practice and enthusiastic. They were breaking the huddle and going out with four wide receivers, and that was a big thing. I thought I was going to see the same old, same old, but they were doing a lot of motion shifts and everything, so the offense was very different.”
Shifts, motion and four-wide receiver sets? Rogers had to make sure he was in Baton Rouge.
TCU holds a slight edge over LSU because he already has seen what the Horned Frogs can do on offense, but the Tigers made up ground rather quickly with what they displayed during Saturday’s scrimmage. Rogers will be a close spectator again for the LSU spring game on April 22 and can envision himself playing in Canada’s system.
“That made a big impact because I’ve always thought that they’d just do the same thing,” he explained. “Seeing them throw it around with four wide receivers, with shifts and motions and everything, that was a big deal.”
Canada and the other coaches on LSU’s staff still have work to do.
In order for the in-state power to separate from North Carolina and surpass TCU, Rogers wants to continue developing his relationship with Canada and maintain the same level of contact with Orgeron and Ensminger, his area recruiter. Not only that, but he’d like the LSU coaches to hold similar bonds with his mother and father.
The Tigers took one step in the right direction earlier this month when every member of the coaching staff sent a text to both Rogers and his mother. Even Rogers was surprised to receive a message from LSU’s defensive backs coach Corey Raymond.
“That was crazy,” Rogers smiled. “Coach Raymond doesn’t usually text me because I’m not a defensive guy, so to see them text me, it was nice.”
“They’re top three,” he continued. “We just have to probably build a better relationship with Coach Canada and Coach O and my family. They have to text and talk to my family, my mom and my dad some more.”
One of Canada’s main pitches to Rogers is the importance for Louisiana’s top quarterback to continue his career in-state.
That message has been well-received, and it’s certainly something that Rogers — who, by the way, holds offers from Ivy League powers Yale and Harvard — can understand.
Because he understands the importance of staying in The Boot, he has toyed with the notion of going to LSU along with the other elite recruits from Louisiana. That, of course, includes his 5-star teammate Terrace Marshall Jr. and other Shreveport, La.-area recruits such as Ar’Darius Washington, Davin Cotton and Micah Baskerville, among others.
With a June commitment in the plans, Rogers will finalize his plans in three months, then graduate in December before enrolling at his university of choice the following month. The next month will be quite important as he makes stops at both LSU and TCU to compare and contrast offenses and depth charts.
“I’m getting kind of nervous,” Rogers admitted. “I’m not one to want to de-commit or change schools, so I won’t commit in the spring because I want to see everyone play this spring first and check out the depth chart before I make my decision. But you know, every Louisiana kid growing up wants to play for LSU, so if all the 2018 guys could corral and go to LSU, that would just be crazy.”
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