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 a wide receiver whose first offer came from LSU … during a high school basketball game.
HOUSTON — It will only be a matter of days before Jalen Preston returns to Baton Rouge.
Preston, a 4-star wide receiver from Manvel (Texas) High School, has been to LSU on several occasions, the most recently for the Tigers’ divisional victory over rival Ole Miss in October.
The Texas wide receiver will be back on campus for LSU’s Junior Day later this month, which should bring up some positive memories for Preston.
“Man, it was crazy,” Preston recalled to SEC Country during the NPA Exposure Camp in Houston. “The student section was crazy down there, like how they all interested during the games there, too. I can really envision myself playing there.”
The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder’s first overture came from the Tigers. It was handed out while the coaching staff was watching the multi-sport athlete throw down a dunk.
Naturally, LSU being the first to offer Preston carries weight. LSU landed in his top 10 and has a chance to be included in his shortened top five at this some this summer.
“I had a top 10 and they’re definitely in my top 10,” Preston said. “It’s just a blessing, that’s all I can say.”
LSU has undergone a series of changes to its coaching staff since Preston received his offer. Second-year wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig had taken over Preston’s recruitment — before his dismissal on Thursday. The same can be said about former Texas area recruiter Bradley Dale Peveto.
Preston plans on having more face-to-face conversations with the staff and meeting new offensive coordinator Matt Canada later this month. He in interested to see how the Tigers’ offense looks in this new scheme, and that should play heavily in Preston’s recruitment.
“I’ve talked to him a couple of times. He said I have to get up there for Junior Day to talk in person,” Preston said, of Craig. “He’s a nice, down-to-earth guy, but that’s how a lot of coaches are when they’re recruiting you.
“Right now, I have to talk to the coaches and I’ll be up there for Junior Day to talk more in person. I want to see more of the school part. I’ve been at the stadium and whatnot, but I need to get a look at the school.”
Will Brandon Harris’ transfer hurt LSU’s chances with another top QB?
Brandon Harris was the top quarterback in Louisiana in the Class of 2014 and ultimately landed at LSU. Yesterday, he announces his intentions to graduate early and transfer elsewhere.
This should not come as much of a surprise. Harris struggled toward the tail end of the 2015 season and in the 2016 season opener against Wisconsin. Danny Etling replaced him in the second game against Jacksonville State and held onto the job through the end of the season.
Harris was a standout quarterback for Parkway (La.) High School. That’s the same position that 4-star dual-threat prospect Justin Rogers is in nowadays, and his high school coach offered comments that could weigh heavily in the quarterback’s recruitment.
“They all know we’ve been watching closely for three years about how Brandon (Harris) has been treated. They know it’s an issue,” Parkway coach David Feaster told The Advocate.
“It’s something they’d like to resolve or work around because we’re going to continue to have players LSU wants. … The way Brandon has been treated at LSU is going to have a huge effect on the recruitment of Parkway players and players around here.”
Parkway has two recruits atop the LSU coaches’ wish list in 2018: Rogers and 5-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.
The two teammates are a package deal, by the way.
Last week, Rogers told SEC Country that he had not yet heard from Tigers offensive coordinator Matt Canada after area recruiter Steve Ensminger and head coach Ed Orgeron were in Bossier City, La., to check in on the prized quarterback during the December Contact Period.
“I haven’t heard from Canada yet,” Rogers told SEC Country. “I asked coach Ensminger about it one day. He told me I would hear from him (Canada), but I never did.
“Neither me or my family is happy about it. … It’s just a business and he (Canada) wasn’t interested. LSU is not Louisiana-made anymore.”
TCU, Texas A&M and North Carolina were among Rogers’ early leaders, and Georgia, Miami and Orgeron are some of the 4-star’s most recent offers. LSU would have been cemented among those schools — perhaps as the leader — if not for this hiccup in communication.
Part of the reason for the communication — or lack thereof — is because of Feaster’s ongoing tension with LSU, sources informed SEC Country. Canada and other LSU coaches have reached out, but unsuccessfully.
Do not expect Rogers to visit LSU this weekend for the “Boys From The Boot” recruiting function unless the team is able to repair the relationship rather quickly. Based on Harris’ rocky tenure in Baton Rouge and Feaster’s displeasure with the program, it does not bode well for LSU’s chances of keeping Rogers or Marshall in-state.
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