NEW ORLEANS — Keytaon Thompson may be a hard Mississippi State pledge, but that hasn’t deterred LSU from attempting to gain ground with the New Orleans signal caller.
Thompson, the nation’s No. 9 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 9 prospect from the state of Louisiana in the Class of 2017, has been committed elsewhere in the SEC West for three months.
In the aftermath of his decision, the in-state Tigers have revved up the pressure on the elite four-star prospect from Landry-Walker High School (La.) to try and put themselves in a position to land the highly-coveted quarterback.
“(The schools in my top five) have still been talking to me and recruiting, LSU the most of those schools,” Thompson told SEC Country.
“I still have great relationships with Coach Cam (Cameron) and Coach (Les) Miles up there. We can still talk about everything, and if I need anything I can still talk to them. I had a talk with Coach Cam and he let me know how everything is going, his plans and things like that. He reassured me that (LSU) is still recruiting me and going to continue to recruit me until signing day.”
In the time that Thompson committed to Mississippi State in mid-December, sources close to the situation said LSU had drifted away from the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder.
Whether that was true or not, the Tigers’ coaches are back on path today.
One reason was the addition of running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, who coached at Edna Karr High School across town from Thompson earlier in his high school career. He has since taken an expanded role in the quarterback’s recruitment in the wake of Frank Wilson’s departure.
“I speak with Coach Juluke as well,” Thompson said. “He was talking to me in high school when he was coaching at Edna Karr and Coach (Emanuel) Powell was here at Landry-Walker. Then he ended up leaving for (Louisiana) Tech. We had a great relationship at Tech, and he said if it anything were to go wrong he’d always have a spot for me.
“Now that he’s at LSU, he let me know the same thing. I love both Coach Frank and Coach Juluke, and I have a great relationship with both. They’re similar in a lot of ways and they make you feel more comfortable with the program. From losing Coach Frank, Coach Juluke is probably the next best thing you could’ve done to get kids from this area of the city. They have both have great relationships with the kids down here and I think Coach Juluke can do just as good of a job as Coach Frank did.”
Whether Juluke can be the catalyst in Thompson’s recruitment remains to be seen.
The New Orleans native was adamant that he’s comfortable with his commitment to Mississippi State and remains solid.
That confidence comes despite increased pressure from LSU, as well as amped-up efforts from Cincinnati, Colorado State and Notre Dame, all of which have offered the quarterback in recent weeks.
Thompson understands that LSU remains in search of its quarterback of the future, and he insisted there is one way the Tigers can gain ground on Mississippi State.
“I know they’re trying to evolve the offense and they’ve got to find the right guy to work in that system,” Thompson explained.
“With them recruiting the quarterbacks to make sure they can thrive, we’ll just have to see what happens. I couldn’t say that’s the one thing they could do, but I guess I’d have to see the offense evolve into a more spread look. That would be the closest thing they could in the recruiting process. But for them to open up the offense and make that transition, I think it would help recruiting-wise. A lot of guys want to play in that type of offense.
“In the summer when I went to LSU, they were talking about it. They’ve planned to evolve the offense to a more spread out, fast offense. They told me that they think I’d be able to thrive in the offense.”
Thompson will get to see Mississippi State’s spread offense firsthand when he takes in a spring practice session this weekend during his spring break. He may also witness LSU’s new-look attack this summer when he makes the trek to Baton Rouge, La.
The elite quarterback may be joined by teammates Corione Harris and Devonta Jason on his trip to LSU. Both Harris and Jason are LSU commits in the Class of 2018.
The trio have a longstanding relationship dating back to their middle schools days, and it reflects on the football field.
Not surprisingly, the notion of continuing their careers together at the collegiate level is a topic oft-discussed.
“We joke about it all the time,” Thompson admitted. “It’s a great relationship. We all work hard, work together and push each other. We love to play together and we make life easier on each other. But we’ll see what happens …
“They kind of (recruit me), but we have to do what’s best to make it at the next level and thrive at the next level as well. They don’t push anyone toward a school, just to make the best decision for yourself. I know a lot of guys from other schools around the city that went to LSU, too, and a lot of people familiar with the campus. It would definitely help me if I consider my other options.”