Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss how John Emery Jr.‘s unplanned visit to Baton Rouge turned out to have a lasting impression on the Class of 2019 running back and his entire family. Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here.
How 4-star RB John Emery Jr. wound up visiting LSU
DESTREHAN, La. — John Emery Jr. was not supposed to be making any unofficial visits this summer. That was the plan forged by his father, John Emery Sr.
Those plans changed when the junior made a convincing case to his father. A short drive from New Orleans to Baton Rouge for a one-day stop wouldn’t be too far out of the way.
Of course, Emery’s father wants to press pause on the recruiting process ahead of his son’s junior season for good reason. But he made the exception for LSU and — to his surprise — is glad he did.
“My dad wasn’t really excited about the visit because he didn’t want me to take any visits at the moment,” Emery Jr. told SEC Country. “He just felt like it was too early and he doesn’t want to put that much on me.”
Emery made the case to his father on why a short drive up I-10 West to LSU was worth it.
- It’s close to home
- It’s a one-day trip
- It was LSU
Somehow, the 4-star junior tailback got his father to budge. Emery made the short trek to Baton Rouge on July 29 for his first unofficial visit with his entire family, including his mother and father, his sister and his baby niece.
While his father was originally against the trip, he left LSU’s campus singing a different tune.
“Afterward, he said it was worth it and that he liked it,” Emery laughed. “Really, what changed his mind was the academics. He liked the way that they [LSU] handled the educational aspect and the resources that they have. It seems like if you go to LSU, you can’t fail.
“My mom liked it. My dad liked it. Even my little niece liked it,” he added.
How does he know?
A one-day visit to LSU comprised of a tour of campus, a close-up look at the academic facilities followed by 1-on-1 meetings with multiple members of the Tigers coaching staff and an Ed Orgeron-guided tour through the stadium was the subject of conversations all the way home to New Orleans.
John Emery Jr. connects with Tigers staff
Emery enters his junior season at Destrehan High School as a top-100 prospect in the Class of 2019. He is the No. 6 prospect at his position and the No. 6 overall recruit in Louisiana, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
The 6-foot, 195-pound prospect garnered an offer from LSU at the start of the spring, which led to visiting campus on a handful of occasions during spring practices.
Emery’s visit with his entire family was on a whole other level. It included what Emery’s career at LSU could look like. To see his future outlined as specifically as that, even Emery couldn’t overlook at how significant this visit was.
“Man, it was great. A great opportunity, a great experience. I saw a lot of great things, heard a lot of great things and I talked to a lot of great people,” Emery started.
“It was motivation, a lot of motivation,” referring to LSU’s detailed plans for the running back. “I’m self-motivated, but when I saw that, it motivated me.”
It’s one thing to create a four-year plan for the elite in-state prospect; it’s another to hear as much from members of the coaching staff.
Emery had individual meetings with running backs coach Tommie Robinson, area recruiter Mickey Joseph and chatted up LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada. He also spent quality time with strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt, whose energy captivated the rising junior prospect.
The Tigers coaches maintained a straightforward approach with Emery regarding his fit in the LSU offense and how much of a priority he would be for 2019.
“Coach Mickey was letting me know how important I’d be in the offense if I do commit,” Emery said. “Based on that, if I did commit, I would be really important. Coach Rob is one of the realest coaches I’ve ever met. I can’t lie. He’s letting me know he isn’t going to lie to me and he’ll keep it 100. He let me know I was one of the top elite running backs for the next upcoming seasons.
“The LSU coaches, they’re great guys. I feel like I could really connect to them.”
Emery’s one-day unofficial concluded with a guided tour through Tiger Stadium led by Orgeron. For a blue-chip prospect with double-digit SEC and Power 5 offers, it marked a monumental moment.
Yes, Emery touching down on the turf inside LSU’s football stadium marked his first-ever time inside a college football venue. It had him wondering one thing: When was the next time he’d have an opportunity to recapture this feeling?
“That was really a great feeling,” a smiling Emery said. “I caught butterflies because of how big the stadium is. I’d never been to a college football game and I would love to be there for a game at LSU.”
Does LSU hold an early edge for the RB?
Emery is not close to making a decision. As August heats up, his focus is solely on the 2017 Destrehan Wildcats, who again have hopes of a Louisiana Class 5A state championship run.
That was the benefit of squeezing in a one-day unofficial visit to LSU at the end of July ahead of the NCAA’s dead period. Emery’s focus briefly shifted away from his junior season and onto his recruitment.
Admittedly, the LSU coaches and the memorable visit had him thinking about his future.
“You know, I feel like it’s still too early, but the stuff that I had seen and all of the love that I got from LSU, I feel like LSU would have to be one of my top schools,” Emery said.
Emery already possesses an impressive offer sheet. In addition to LSU, he holds offers from Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Michigan, among others.
While the junior tailback returns to thinking solely about prep football, he was asked about his lasting impression from his recent stop at LSU. Taking a page out of the same book as his parents, Emery pointed to the emphasis on academics and his endeavors for life after football.
“What I was thinking about was that if I do go to LSU, then I could be successful not just in football, but in life,” Emery explained. “The education there, the resources that they have at the school … sometimes you got to take your mind off of football and think about life, too. You’ve got to find a way to make money, so that’s what I was thinking about. LSU … it’s home, so that would be a choice.”
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here.