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 Louisiana’s top 2020 quarterback, TJ Finley, who has made a string of visits to LSU this spring as he awaits an offer.
TJ Finley nearing LSU offer?
MANDEVILLE, La. — TJ Finley has been a regular on LSU’s campus this spring, taking in a junior day, practices and the spring game on Saturday night in Death Valley. The only thing missing is that much-anticipated offer.
Former coach Les Miles handed out an offer to the 2020 Ponchatoula (La.) High School signal caller two years ago, but coach Ed Orgeron and Co. have yet to follow suit. That could very well change during the evaluation period as offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger plans to head up I-12 in May to check on Finley.
“They said I’m 95 percent [likely] to get an offer,” Finley told SEC Country at the Bootleggers Invitational at Pelican Park over the weekend. “Coach Ensminger is going to come down for spring ball in two weeks to watch me work out. He’s going to bring some footage for me to watch and most likely, that’s when he’ll offer. I’m just waiting to see what they’re going to do.”
Ensminger and Finley have quickly forged a strong bond in recent weeks. On Thursday, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound pro-style passer was in Baton Rouge for the final spring practice, sitting in on quarterback meetings with the first-year play caller and the three players vying to be LSU’s starter in 2018.
Ensminger has remained in regular communication with Finley more than any other coach.
“It was great talking to Coach Ensminger, being in the quarterbacks meeting and showing me all of the concepts, what the offense will be based out of, the RPOs and stuff,” Finley recalled. “Coach O was happy to see me and they’re excited to evaluate me and possibly reoffer.
“Coach E stays in contact over social media. We can talk the most in person. He’s a very cool guy. We talk strictly football, reads and concepts. Our personalities match. He’s on top of things and makes sure his guys are responsible and are doing what he asks them to do and in the right place at the right time.”
Additionally, area recruiter and wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph is tag-teaming the push for Finley.
Joseph, an All-American at Archbishop Shaw (La.) High School in 1986, played for coach Hank Tierney, who now oversees the football program at Ponchatoula. The connection has made for a unique relationship between Joseph and Finley.
“They’re coming real hard,” Finley said. “I talk to coach Mickey Joseph 24-7. We’re always in contact. It’s a different type of recruiting for me. They talk to me on a different level. They talk to me emotionally, physically and the school part is last. They’re a family first school and they care more about just football and that’s what’s standing out most about LSU.”
Finely has high hopes for the Tigers’ new-look offense in 2018, particularly after taking in the spring game over the weekend. He expects more underneath routes for the speedier receivers and because of the uncertain backfield, a reliance on the air attack.
If and when LSU elects to offer, Finley may be inclined to make his college decision soon after.
“LSU has been a dream school for me since I was a little kid. Kids out here dream of going to LSU and to have that opportunity would be a great opportunity,” he said. “Now, they’re throwing the ball. I’m used to watching LSU run the ball, but I like to see teams throw the ball. We’ll see how it unfolds.”
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