LSU running backs coach Jabbar Juluke made the short trek to Jennings (La.) High School last week to see one of the state’s most electric running backs prospect in the Class of 2017.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Midway through the week, three-star running back Travis Etienne released his top 10 schools, which included five SEC powers — Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
In addition to the list of schools, he offered one subtle warning, too.
“Able to change with new offers!” the 5-foot-11, 199-pounder wrote.
One offer that could be on its way in is from LSU, his hometown school that has maintained a close eye on the budding respect throughout the spring.
Juluke’s presence at Etienne’s practice was a sign that the interest in the running back is real.
“It was nice to see him,” Etienne told SEC Country. “I’m glad to know that they (LSU) had some kind of interest in me.”
But with the interest comes a twist.
Etienne has informed SEC Country that LSU is considering extending an offer to the prospect from Southwestern Louisiana, but not as a running back.
Instead, the Tigers coaches view Etienne as a candidate to play safety, a position the three-star running back doesn’t want to go play.
“I’m not sure why at all,” Etienne said, “but I’m just happy that I’m getting recruited by them to play football at their school.”
The 10 schools that Etienne included in his top 10 all view him as a potential backfield stud, which was one of the criterium he used to devise his list.
He also only featured schools that have offered him, which is why LSU did not make the cut.
“I picked the schools where I could get the best education, with a good atmosphere and where I could have a big impact on the team,” Etienne explained. “And I only picked schools that have all offered me, so wherever I may end up going, I’ll just have to show them (LSU) what they missed out on.”
Etienne maintains a unique relationship with his in-state school for now, as he currently awaits an offer and a more definitive idea of where on the field the coaches envision him playing.
The Jennings, La., native is focused on playing running back, but remains open to the idea of being courted by LSU — for reasons that have to do with life on and away from the field.
He conceded that if LSU did in fact offer, the Tigers would immediately hold a spot inside of his top 10.
“They’re only an hour and 30 minutes away, so I would be close to my home and my parents would be able to make all of my home games,” Etienne said. “Plus, they always send players to the NFL, so I would get a shot at the NFL.”
“They rotate their running backs in and out of the game, so I wouldn’t get too much mileage on my own body,” he added, indicating he’s open to being part of a backfield by committee, “as long as I get my fair share of playing time.”
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.