Tae Provens had three finalists and a scheduled commitment date, and after one phone call, all of said plans were completely scrapped.
Provens, a top-50 athlete in the 2018 class, was set to choose from LSU, Auburn and Tennessee on Aug. 11. The 3-star recruit was favored to wind up On The Plans or in Rocky Top, with LSU seemingly a distant third in the race.
That wasn’t the case — at least for long.
Provens admittedly was leaning toward Auburn and Tennessee at different junctures in his recruitment, but LSU’s recent surge paid dividends. Once the door opened on a potential commitment to LSU, the 6-foot, 190-pound running back jumped in without hesitation.
“You know, the whole time throughout the recruiting process, I jumped around from here and there. I had a top 5 and was visiting those schools, but deep down I knew where I wanted to go. When I talked to [running backs] coach Tommie Robinson and [head coach] Ed Orgeron, it felt good and I couldn’t wait any longer.
“I talked to them over the phone. We have been talking for about a week now nonstop. Coach T-Rob offered me when he was at USC and I was his No. 1 back in the 2018 class. That continued when he was at LSU. I felt good about that and it meant a lot to me.”
Provens did not make it to Baton Rouge for the three-day elite high school camp. His commitment came over the phone on Saturday.
Robinson, who left Southern California to join LSU’s staff in February, has been in daily communication with the Gurley (Ala.) High School product and the latest conversation yielded a boom. As far as the reaction from the coaching staff, Robinson endured chest pains while Orgeron began to discuss notions of national championships.
“We’re really close,” Provens said of his relationship with Robinson. “We talk all day every day. We text constantly. When I committed, he was highly excited. He said his heart was racing so fast. Coach O was really excited, too. We have been getting a lot of commits here lately, so he was really excited for my commitment. Like T-Rob, he has been wanting me for a long time. He said he’s ready to win multiple national championships and ready to get this thing rolling.”
No, Provens did not misspeak. The Alabama native feels there is no reason to be coy. A huge reason behind his decision to join LSU’s 2018 recruiting class was because of the family atmosphere. Moving forward, it seemed impolite to refer to the Tigers’ coaching staff as anything other than “we” or “us.”
“That’s family,” he stated. “Whenever I went down there, I was confident that I liked the campus I liked Coach T-Rob and when we talked in-person, we kicked it. Everyone down there treats you so good that you don’t want to leave. It’s such a beautiful place.
“Tennessee and Auburn were frontrunners, but stuff happened. LSU just made a stronger push. I still have love for Tennessee and Auburn, and those are two good programs that’ll continue to do well in the SEC. But LSU, that’s my jam.”
While Provens’ position has been labeled as an athlete, he has no qualms about where he’ll be spending all of his time when he arrives at LSU.
As a junior, Provens amassed 1,264 yards and 17 touchdowns in 11 games. He plans on bringing that set of skills to the Tigers’ backfield, and that’s what the coaching staff expects, too, from Alabama’s No. 22-ranked prospect.
“I’m going down there to play running back,” Provens stated. “They want me as a running back and there’s no in between. There’s no playing here or there or moving you to defense. It’s none of that. They think I can be just as good as them (Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice), if not better. That’s a big compliment and it’s also big shoes to fill.”