Isaiah Buggs spent Thursday at LSU’s high school prospect camp, but the elite talent’s visit lasted only one day.
That’s OK, he’s been to LSU a number of times over the past two years, including a handful of visits throughout the spring and into the summer.
Buggs, rated as the nation’s top defensive end in the junior college ranks, has a strong connection to LSU, but it’s for reasons different than you might suspect. The Ruston, La., native understands LSU may be his hometown team, but it’s the other factors that have helped the Tigers appeal to him.
“I don’t want people to think that just because I’m from Louisiana, that’s where I’m going to play,” Buggs told SEC Country. “It’s about everything, enjoying the coaches and the players and building relationships. They (LSU) bring a lot to the table, and knowing that I can come home and play is a blessing.”
The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder currently starring at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College did not participate in workouts on Thursday. Instead, the four-star strong-side defensive end spent time with one of his closest allies.
Buggs spent the majority of the day speaking with current LSU defensive lineman Davon Godchaux.
A fellow Louisiana native, Godchaux — a member of LSU’s 2014 recruiting class — made the pitch to Buggs himself. It was an advertisement only a longtime friend could make.
“We just basically talked about life and football and being good people on and off the field,” Buggs said. “It feels good knowing that I have a chance to play back at home with some good friends of mine.”
LSU is back in the thick of the race for Buggs after a minor hurdle in the recruitment process earlier on in the spring.
Buggs indicated there was “a lack of communication” between the school and the weak-side defensive end, which was corrected quite swiftly.
After Buggs excluded LSU from his top 10 in April, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron visited the former Ruston (La.) High School product in Mississippi. That led to Buggs attending LSU’s spring game a few weeks later and attending the Bayou Picnic last month.
A third visit to LSU for the high school camp solidifed that the Tigers are back in the mix and have successfully made amends for their previous setback.
“Things are changing,” Buggs said. “They (the LSU coaches) told me to make sure I keep up the good work and come out and finish strong. He (Orgeron) was just happy to see me and was hoping he could coach me. He always is talking about Tiger Stadium and how it’s rocking on Saturdays. He’s a good coach.”
Buggs’ visit to Baton Rouge, La., came days removed from stops at SEC rivals Auburn and Alabama, which, along with LSU, were both included in his most recently released top eight.
After touring through Alabama and making stops to both of the SEC powers in the state, Buggs admitted he was happy to return to The Boot.
While he may not want to be linked to LSU solely because he’s from Louisiana, Buggs conceded that the Tigers’ coaches have sold him on the hometown vibe, which has had a serious impact on his recruitment.
“I had a great time at both of those places. Everyone has nice programs, and I’m just enjoying all of them,” he said. “It just felt great to be at home for a little while. I have been knowing these coaches for a long time, and they are great coaches.”
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.