MADISON, Miss. — There has been no shortage of drama on the LSU recruiting trail this December.
It began with both quarterback commits reopening their recruitment and the Tigers losing out on a pair of blue-chip linebacker targets. But there’s been a positive trend, too.
Commits such as Mannie Netherly, Edward Ingram and Saahdiq Charles put the end to speculation by shutting down their recruitments early. Enough said.
Charles has been embedded in LSU’s 2017 class since he committed to the Tigers over Mississippi State in May. However, he received mounting contact from fellow SEC powers such as Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Mississippi State during the NCAA’s contact period earlier this month.
After LSU coach Ed Orgeron and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes made multiple in-home visits with the star 4-star offensive lineman, there was no need for Charles to continue entertaining rival schools.
“I just felt at home with LSU,” Charles told SEC Country. “I felt great about the situation going into next year. I prayed about my decision. There was no uncertainty anymore. They made a great hire with coach O and I talked to him, sat down with him and coach Grimes and we talked about the plan for the future, and I felt comfortable with them.”
That uncertainty caused a stir.
Other schools were trying to capitalize on the unpredictability surrounding the LSU coaching situation and speculation about which assistant coaches may or may not be retained.
Orgeron’s promotion ended that, and to Charles, it ended a long-winding saga at this stage in his recruitment. With Orgeron pegged as the man, Charles could finally realize his dream of being a Tiger.
“Tennessee was trying to go in-home. Florida was trying to go in-home. Ole Miss and Mississippi State went in-home. All of these SEC schools were trying to get me,” Charles said.
“It feels good to know for a fact who my coach is going to be and where I’m going to be at next year.”
Since shutting down his recruitment earlier this month, Ole Miss tried to push Charles a bit. Southern Miss coaches even sent a text message to the 6-foot-5, 314-pounder.
For the most part, though, Charles’ communication with other schools has teetered off. This was what he wanted.
“It’s been real chill since I shut my recruitment down, which is what I wanted,” he admitted. “It distracted me a bit and I didn’t want to lead anyone else on anymore.”
So, why entertain those other schools?
“I mean, if something bad would have happened, it might have gotten kind of close,” Charles said, referring to who LSU may have hired to be the next head coach, “but I was always going to be a Tiger.”
An X-factor in Charles’ decision was the addition of Matt Canada to the LSU coaching staff.
Canada spoke with the No. 13-rated guard in the 2017 class the week he was hired, candidly, about his vision for the lineman and this offense. Consider Charles intrigued about what’s to come during his time in Baton Rouge.
“We were talking about how he has produced some great offensive linemen playing in the pros right now, he has developed players and how he wants to develop our offense, and we’re going to go from there,” said Charles, who will officially visit LSU on Jan. 20.
“I think we’re going to be more up-tempo, spread the ball out more. We’re going to run the ball still because he loves to run the ball; we’re not just going to run it 40 times a game.”
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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