LSU bolstered its 2017 recruiting class in a monumental way over the weekend, beginning with a commitment from 4-star wide receiver Mannie Netherly late on Friday night.
Netherly committed on June 24, but had his mind made up about LSU closer to May 5.
That’s when the nation’s No. 29-rated receiver de-committed from SEC West rival Texas A&M and reopened his recruitment.
Most people are well aware of the Twitter scuffle between Aggies wide receiver coach Aaron Moorehead and Netherly following Tate Martell’s de-commitment from Texas A&M. What most people don’t realize is that the entire Texas A&M coaching staff had fallen out of favor with the elite Texas prospect for weeks leading up to Netherly’s decision while the LSU coaches continued to court him.
“When I de-committed from Texas A&M, the A&M coaching staff fell off a bit,” Netherly revealed to SEC Country.
“But LSU kept in contact with me almost every single day. Coach (Bradley Dale) Peveto and Coach (Dameyune) Craig called me or told me to call them, and we just kept a really good relationship. When I de-committed, I already knew where I wanted to go, but I enjoyed the process. But I made my decision.”
The 6-foot-2, 183-pound wideout originally intended on finalizing his decision in the fall, but after touring through SEC Country with a visit to College Station, Texas, and then Alabama, he realized there was no reason to wait.
Netherly met with the LSU coaches during the team’s satellite camp at North Shore High School in Houston, where he spoke with coach Les Miles and Peveto behind closed doors, then spent much of the afternoon in the ear of Craig.
The 4-star prospect already had seen LSU’s campus in the spring and knew what was waiting for him in Baton Rouge, La., which made the decision to commit easier than expected.
“It was really LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M, and the difference with LSU is that there was a better opportunity at LSU than all those other schools I put in my top six,” Netherly said, referring to Auburn, Florida and Texas.
“Academics-wise, football-wise and it’s not that far because coming home is only a four-hour trip. I know myself — I need someone to stay on my behind about school because I get lazy at times. LSU is going to stay on me about my grades, and that stood out the most. Coach Peveto and me, and Coach Craig and me, have good relationships. In the recruiting process, it made it an easy decision to talk about the new offense. I feel like I can come in and help LSU.”
Netherly informed Peveto of his decision first. Then, he spoke to Miles and Craig, who subsequently let the Twitterverse know good news was on the horizon with his newly coined phrase “purple reign.”
Like Peveto and Miles, Craig was pleasantly surprised to hear that he would soon be coaching the Crosby (Texas) High School product. The relationship the coach and prospect had been building had reached a point where both were anxious for the opportunity.
“Craig played a big role in it,” Netherly said. “The last time I went down there, we talked about football, but also about himself and what he’s like. Coach Craig is like another father to me. That’s how big of an impact he had. He can help me out a lot not only as a receiver, but in life in general.
“They (the LSU coaches) were excited. I called Peveto first, then an hour later Coach Miles. I talked to Craig on FaceTime later that night, and the way they were talking, it was obvious they were excited in their voice. I could tell, and they said they can’t wait ’til I get down there to have fun like we always do.”
As excited as the Tigers coaches were, it may pale in comparison to reception from the Netherly Family.
The 4-star receive lives a short car ride away from LSU’s campus, but also has family that resides about an hour outside of the Baton Rouge, La., area. Both Netherly’s parents and his Louisiana family plan on attending all of the Tigers’ home games, which naturally played a role in his decision to continue his football career in Death Valley.
“They were all very excited,” Netherly said. “They’re making all of the home games. That played a big role. My mom and dad wants to see me play all my home games and I didn’t want them to have to go that far. LSU is four hours away from where I am now, and I wanted my family (from Louisiana) to come to Baton Rouge, and that won’t be a problem.”
Netherly hauled in 61 passes for 1,068 yards and 18 touchdowns for Crosby as a junior, but will play behind center this coming season in addition to serving as the team’s primary return specialist.
The multifaceted athlete plans on continuing to train as a wide receiver so that he can make a quick transition to the new LSU offense when he arrives in January as an early enrollee.
Netherly believes his game will resemble that of current LSU wideout Malachi Dupre, and Craig will be instrumental in ensuring that happens.
“That’s why I’m going to graduate early, so I can come in and learn the system and how they do things,” he said. “I still work out at wide receiver even though I play quarterback. I’ll keep doing that until I get there, and it’s helping me out a little.”
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.