The LSU recruiting class took a major hit on Monday when 4-star quarterback Lowell Narcisse decided to reopen his recruitment just days before he graduates from high school and weeks away from enrolling at his next college.
Narcisse is Louisiana’s top-rated quarterback and has been for some time, though he’s often forgotten about because of his injury history and other prospects at his position grabbing headlines.
Narcisse was firmly entrenched in LSU’s 2017 class for seven months and was the priority target before then. He fell into the Tigers’ lap abruptly — when he de-committed from Auburn, when adversity struck within his personal life and within just days after LSU landed a much lesser-known commodity, at the time, in Myles Brennan this spring.
When Narcisse de-committed from LSU on Monday, his significance to this recruiting class was finally realized.
Now, it’s on LSU and its staff to find a way to lure him back in a finite amount of time.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect is the ideal fit in whatever offense is implemented in Baton Rouge this offseason. Narcisse has proven that early on in his high school football career and at times last spring and summer as he was bracing for a breakout senior season.
After tearing his ACL the first time in May 2015, Narcisse demonstrated a work ethic most people could not see from the outside looking in. He changed offenses, learned not to rely on just his God-given abilities and developed into a pocket passer who could also slash opposing defenses with his 4.7 speed and even more impressive toughness.
In covering Narcisse for more than four years, I’ve watched him progress from a raw athlete who can play quarterback into one of the better dual-threat prospects who was robbed of his junior and senior seasons due to multiple injuries. But when he’s been on the field and healthy, Narcisse has proven to a game changer.
That’s been evident by the 4,500 passing yards and 1,600 rushing yards he amassed in his first two seasons. Narcisse compiled 600 yards and 10 touchdowns — in three playoff games — to lead St. James (La.) High to the Class 3A state championship in 2015 on a bum knee.
Narcisse is capable of delivering pinpoint passes on the run. He can not only run, but run past, over and through opposing defenders. His competitive fire has never stopped burning, but setbacks have caused it to burn even more at this stage in his career.
When LSU coach Ed Orgeron went into detail about the quarterback he seeks to run his offense, he described Narcisse.
At the time of Orgeron’s introductory press conference, LSU had both Narcisse and Brennan firmly cemented in the recruiting class. It was a foreign position for the program to be in — with two blue-chip quarterbacks already in position to be Tigers in a short period of time.
Fast forward to now: Narcisse has de-committed and is weighing LSU, Auburn and Memphis as a decision nears at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 1. Narcisse is giving LSU an opportunity to bring him back in the class, too.
The timing is not ideal either. Monday marked the start of the NCAA’s dead period. That precludes coaches from in-person contact with Narcisse but will allow them to communicate electronically.
Narcisse boasts a fantastic relationship with assistants Jabbar Juluke and Dameyune Craig, but even more important is LSU’s next offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. That could be made at any point in the next few days or hours, whether it is reported candidates such as Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Canada or former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich.
Canada is reportedly the favorite. It’s unclear how Narcisse feels about him, but he will certainly be intrigued by Canada’s résumé, which includes stints at Wisconsin, N.C. State and Pitt, among others, where his offenses have been prolific and have centered around dual-threat quarterbacks.
Whoever is tabbed as LSU’s next offensive coordinator, Narcisse has to be the top priority. He was months ago — before all of the changes that ensued in Baton Rouge involving former coach Les Miles and former quarterbacks coach Cam Cameron — and certainly needs to be again as the team begins to put together an offensive blueprint for the future.
Narcisse lives just down the road from LSU, which gives the Tigers a unique edge in this situation. At one point, he was committed to Auburn, and those Tigers have certainly asserted themselves as a threat yet again.
With time running out, and quickly, LSU must find a new offensive coordinator and make sure whoever is tabbed for the position wastes little time getting in touch with Narcisse. He is a can’t-miss prospect and the best quarterback in Louisiana; allowing him to leave would be a major oversight by LSU.
There are so many priority targets on LSU’s board. That list includes household names and 5-star talents such as Cam Akers, Marvin Wilson and DeVonta Smith.
However, it is undeniable that quarterback is LSU’s Achilles’ heel each and every fall, and the most polarizing topic every other month of the year. Narcisse could very well be the player that answers those questions … if LSU can find a way to land his commitment one last time.
That’s the question and the challenge for Orgeron and his staff. If they cannot draw him back, it will spell the beginning of trouble to come in Baton Rouge. Not surprisingly, it will be on the offensive side of the ball.
On the contrary, a second commitment to LSU could be a sign of good things to come for this LSU coaching staff. Whether Orgeron, Juluke, Craig and the team’s next play-caller can move the needle one last time is certainly going to be an obstacle.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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