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 Noah Cain‘s most recent visit to LSU. The 4-star running back and Baton Rouge native went in-depth on his relationship with the coaching staff, the Tigers’ need at running back and the hometown pull.
Noah Cain returns to LSU
For Noah Cain, it isn’t difficult to find time to squeeze in a visit to LSU.
After all, that’s where the No. 2 running back in the Class of 2019 calls home. His father still lives just outside Baton Rouge and frequents LSU’s campus on occasion. So, when the dead period expired, the current IMG Academy (Fla.) standout had an easy choice to make about where to visit first.
LSU was the move. Cain, his father and his mother spent the day at LSU and met with coach Ed Orgeron and general manager Austin Thomas despite busy schedules. After all, Monday also was the start of SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., and the majority of the Tigers’ coaches will be on vacation for part of this first week back.
Cain and his family spent hours inside of the coaches’ offices, toured campus and took a stroll through Tiger Stadium, which for the 4-star running back was realizing a childhood dream. This marked Cain’s second visit to LSU and the first since junior day in March, and the private setting allowed for more serious dialogue about the tailback’s fit in his hometown.
“It was awesome,” Cain told SEC Country on Monday evening. “I knew there was interest because they’ve shown me love. Coach O arranged a time before he went to media day. I talked with Coach O for about an hour and he answered all of the questions that my family and I came up there with. My parents were really impressed with them. He wasn’t beating around the bush. He was just a real straight-up, real good dude.
“We spent time with [Thomas], who came back from his vacation just to see me. He took the time out just to see me on my visit, which was a real good thing.”
LSU’s push began last fall when it extended an offer to Cain 10 days into Orgeron’s tenure as interim coach.
The Tigers amplified their push leading into the junior day visit this spring and have continued into the NCAA’s evaluation period when Thomas and area recruiter Corey Raymond took in an IMG Academy spring game.
Cain has taken notice of LSU’s efforts, which resulted in the stop-in on the first day he could. While he’s going to take the recruiting process slow and wait to take all of his official visits next fall, this return visit left a positive impression.
“LSU’s in a good spot right now,” Cain said. “The lack of a lead running back and the 2018 class having some backs in there, they’re trying to find that guy. That’s what appeals to me, so they’re in a pretty high spot right now. So many things can change until my signing day. That’s why I’m not committing early. It’s not fair to a school to take visits elsewhere and that would look bad on me personally. I’m taking the process slow, enjoying it and taking it all in with all my visits, and I’m blessed to be in the position that I am in today.”
Ed Orgeron, Austin Thomas make time for Cain family
Before Orgeron made his way to Hoover, Ala., for his turn at the podium for SEC Media Days, LSU’s head man hosted Cain and his parents in his office for an hour.
Orgeron fielded questions from the top-25 prospect’s mother and family and answered with brute honesty. Cain was the judge of that.
Much of the Cains’ inquiries centered around his potential role in the Tigers’ offense. With Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams entering their final season in Baton Rouge, it wasn’t a difficult answer to provide.
“We wanted to see LSU’s plan for using me was,” Cain explained. “Coach O knows what my dreams and my goals are. Coach O knows that this is home for me. My family is here. This is where I’m from, where I was born in Baton Rouge. He knew that part, too. So, him being real with us, it was just about getting that 1-on-1 visit with Coach O, to get the feeling on campus and that vibe.”
While touring the campus, Cain had an opportunity to get his photo taken in an LSU jersey. As certain prospects do, the 4-star running back donned the famed No. 7 jersey.
That was the jersey number previously worn by greats such as Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Leonard Fournette and most recently, D.J. Chark. While speaking with Thomas about the possibility of eventually filling those same shoes, Cain said it’s an honor to be held in high regard by someone who grew up with a 225 area code.
“They believe I’m a player that can wear the No. 7. I have the skills and the character for that at LSU,” Cain said. “Their plan for me coming in is competing hard and earning that starting spot, and I expect nothing less than that. I want to earn my job early on in the spring when I enroll and enrolling early will allow me the chance to compete like Fournette did as a true freshman and have that early impact.”
— Noah Cain (@therealnoahcain) July 10, 2017
Why waiting is key
Cain has maintained throughout his recruitment that a decision won’t come until December 2018 — right before he signs his letter of intent and enrolls early at the university of his choosing.
Part of the reason why the 5-foot-11, 207-pound rising junior running back is adamant about being patient is to see how the backfields develop at the schools he’s considering, including LSU, where there will be a healthy competition over who will succeed Guice.
Cain will closely monitor what happens at LSU because he knows that he has a chance to potentially fill that role for his hometown team.
“They’re pushing very hard,” Cain said. “They need a running back right now and they’re looking for that guy. They’re looking for that guy right now after Guice leaving. They won’t have that guy, so for me having the opportunity to make an early impact is big for my recruitment. That was big for me with LSU — coming in, handling my business and early playing time in the fall.
“Playing in Tiger Stadium, that appeals to me and my family. I grew up as a big LSU fan as a kid. I watched LSU all the time. I was a diehard fan, watching all of the great backs go through there and then getting to the league. Jeremy Hill, Terrence Magee, Kenny Hilliard, Leonard Fournette — all those dudes that impacted the running back role got to league. That’s big for me and that’s a big-time role. For me to be a Tiger, being from Baton Rouge and putting the city on my back like Guice is real big.”
The other glaring factor connecting Cain and LSU is the hometown push. Cain is from Baton Rouge and his father resides right outside of the city.
While it might be obvious to outsiders, it didn’t hit Cain until after he returned home from his visit on Monday night. Home was just minutes away. While he realizes he has the opportunity to seize childhood dreams by playing in Death Valley, being within an earshot of the majority of his family has an even grander appeal to the elite 2019 prospect.
“Probably the biggest thing for me is being home,” he said. “All of my family is here. We live right around the corner. Me knowing everything about Baton Rouge, knowing that if I have a bad day that my family is right here; that was the big difference this time.”
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