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 where LSU stands with the nation’s No. 1-ranked cornerback, Patrick Surtain Jr., who has had the Tigers as his top school for a year and a half. Should that trend continue for another month, it’ll lead to a National Signing Day commitment to LSU.
Patrick Surtain Jr. has been close to a decision
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The nation’s top-ranked 2018 cornerback won’t reveal his college decision until National Signing Day, but of course, that’s been something weighing heavily on Patrick Surtain Jr. for some time now.
Surtain, a 5-star cornerback from Plantation, Fla., named LSU as his leading school 18 months ago. That trend has continued into January ahead of two critical official visits to Baton Rouge (on Jan. 12) and Alabama (on Jan. 19).
The U.S. Army All-American has not been shy about where the Tigers have stood in his recruitment throughout. In fact, Surtain admitted that he has even been close to committing to LSU in recent months as he examines all of his options.
“I’ve been close to making that decision before,” Surtain told SEC Country at the U.S. Army All-American Game this weekend. “But it’s a tough race now. It’s just about what school fits best for me at this point.”
LSU’s lead is a product of a staunch approach from defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, who has been courting Surtain for several years already.
Surtain sees opportunity to compete for playing time immediately on the Tigers’ depth chart. Then again, it’s a similar situation at Alabama, too. So why has Raymond’s push made a more significant impact on the 5-star cornerback?
“He’s been doing a great job,” Surtain said of Raymond. “We communicate a lot, talk on the phone a lot. Just seeing what he does with his defensive backs, the way he produces them, develops them. … It shows how great of a coach he is. We communicate and talk a lot about what he sees me [as] and what I can be at LSU. That’s what we talk about. …
“We also talk about the life aspect of football. We talk about what I can be off the field at LSU and what type of person I can be. That means a lot. Knowing that he doesn’t care all about football and cares about the situations off the field, having that competitive nature off the field like you do on the field.”
Raymond’s personal touch has allowed LSU to remain in the top spot for Surtain for a year and a half, but will it translate to a commitment and signed letter of intent on Feb. 7?
That remains to be seen.
One other X-factor in the 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect’s recruitment is his family. His father, Patrick Surtain, originally hails from New Orleans and still has family there and in Baton Rouge. His mother, Michelle Surtain, has family in Baton Rouge and right outside the city in Donaldsonville, La.
Surtain admitted that it’s certainly difficult for him to ignore that aspect of his decision, but realizes his college selection has to be one centered around him and not those he’s closest to.
“I’ve been looking at the family part, about keeping family close so that they can watch my games,” he said. “I’ve been talking to my parents about it, but they tell me to do what’s best for me and to not worry about the family part and being able to see my games. If I go to any school, they can come to my games no matter what. They told me to think about what’s best for me.”
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