Lamar High School (Houston) defensive backs coach Theadis Reagins has had the opportunity to coach Grant Delpit for nearly two years, and to him, the fact that he committed to LSU over the weekend was a long time coming.
Delpit, the nation’s No. 9 safety, pledged to LSU over SEC rivals Auburn, Florida and Alabama — as well as Clemson — on Saturday evening at Nike’s “The Opening” Finals in Beaverton, Ore.
How did the Tigers pull off the commitment? Consistency was one of the major keys.
Area recruiter Bradley Dale Peveto and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond remained fully devoted to making the four-hour trek to Houston. LSU’s offer came ahead of the 30-somewhat offers that followed, and provided the unique opportunity to play alongside friends and in front of families in the place he was born.
“They were the first to offer and he was kind of in awe,” Reagins revealed to SEC Country. “When the offers started to come in, he was kind of in awe, especially with how many offers he was getting at the time. But LSU stayed ahead. Not too many guys had committed and they didn’t offer too many safeties, and Coach Peveto and Coach Raymond stayed in contact with him.
“His dad also played a big role in his decision for the fact that he can come home and play in front of his family and friends. With him from Louisiana coming to Houston because of Hurricane Katrina, Grant already knew he wanted to go to LSU but was waiting for The Opening. He knew it for a long time … He wants to go home and play in front of his family and for the fact LSU has a great coach and great reputation and did a great job recruiting him. He fell in love.”
The homecoming was made official over the weekend, which came five months after LSU first extended the 4-star prospect in February at the “Boys From The Boot” event.
The 6-foot-4, 181-pound defensive back boasts obvious size, and would instantly be the tallest member of LSU’s secondary if he were added to the roster today. However, his elite physical skills still may not compare to the football IQ that Delpit has developed.
“They’re getting a guy that has great size for sure, but he understands the game,” said Reagins. “He’s a good student of the game and just a great overall player really. His ball skills are really great for a guy that plays safety, but not only can he physically make good hits, but has those ball skills. He reads route concepts real well and that’s because he understands the game really well.”
Lamar’s defensive back coach knew that Delpit had a high ceiling soon after he transferred to the school from nearby St. Thomas High School, also in Houston.
The U.S. Army All-American proved Reagins correct when an opposing offense attempted a bubble pass against Lamar, and Delpit countered with an interception.
That’s not customary for a safety, but Delpit made the play nonetheless. You can view it firsthand in the IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) product’s highlight tape below, and perhaps you’ll see what Reagins saw last summer.
“He was a raw skill player at St. Thomas, but we worked on his technique and his understanding of the game,” the coach explained. “Now, the most consistent thing he’s done is make plays. He just made plays as a safety. When the team tried to run the bubble route, he picked it, which you rarely see. Those types of things shows he understands route concepts, and that’s great for a safety. His combination of size and abilities is one of the things they (LSU) like about him.”
Delpit projects to be an instant-impact type of player when he arrives in Baton Rouge, La., in January. The 4-star safety is on track to graduate from IMG Academy in December and enroll at LSU at the start of 2017 to be a part of spring practice.
The LSU coaches view Delpit as Jamal Adams’ successor, but his recent position coach believes his former pupil can earn a spot anywhere Raymond elects to put him.
As he’s demonstrated so many times before, he’s counting on Delpit to simply make plays.
“They’re going to get a guy that can actually play defensive back,” Reagins promised. “He can also play the nick[el], play safety, and you can put him at corner sometimes … even in the SEC. He plays the game and understands the game, and he’ll make some plays for LSU. They’re going to get a guy that can play, and you’ll see that when he hits the field.”
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.