NEW ORLEANS — Keldrick Carper has 27 reported offers, many of which come from the SEC.
LSU is not one of them.
The Tigers have failed to extend an offer to Carper, Louisiana’s No. 11 prospect in the Class of 2017 and the No. 17 athlete in the country.
Many other SEC powers have taken notice and are attempting to sway Carper out of The Boot, and thus far, the four-star prospect remains waiting for an offer from the hometown Tigers.
“Coach (Dameyune) Craig told me to come there for the spring and an offer might come then,” Carper told SEC Country at Nike’s “The Opening” regional in New Orleans on Sunday.
“I still like LSU and, hopefully, I can get an offer from them. They evaluate guys and they want to make sure they are making the right investment, so I understand.”
The offer — or lack thereof — is a bit of an eyebrow raiser.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder out of Plain Dealing High School (La.) can play both wide receiver or defensive back, two positions LSU will target heavily in its 2017 recruiting class.
Now, the Tigers must be prepared to come up with a game plan against Carper, who has recently toured through the South, making stops at Vanderbilt, Tennessee and UGA.
The latter two programs are among a handful of schools that have distinguished themselves as favorites to land the highly sought-after Louisiana athlete.
“Notre Dame, UGA and Texas A&M … those three really stick out to me,” Carper said. “Tennessee and Ole Miss, too.”
On UGA: “Coach (Kirby) Smart really impresses me. He and Coach (Mel) Tucker presented me with what their plans are for the future, and they’re on the rise. They showed me the blueprint of the (indoor facility) they’re building there. It’s dope. As a recruit, who wouldn’t want to go there? It has everything a recruit could want in a school. They really impressed me.”
On Ole Miss: “The coaches and everything that they’ve built so far, I like them. Shea Patterson is from Calvary (Baptist) in Louisiana, so if they want me as a receiver, I’ll go play receiver for Shea Patterson. That’s cool with me.”
On Tennessee: “I visited there a couple of times already. The coaching staff is cool. The campus is beautiful. The Volunteers — it’s a traditional school and they’re a great school to go to and set your life up for football and beyond. I had a great visit. I like those guys up there.”
UGA is courting Carper as a defensive back, while both Ole Miss and Tennessee envision the Louisiana native at wide receiver.
That may give the Bulldogs an edge in recruiting, as Carper does have a bit of a preference when it comes to his future position.
“I’m cool playing both,” he said, “but for now, I think I prefer defense.”
Carper is scheduled to visit Ole Miss in May, when he can further explore the campus to see if the university is equipped with all of the other non-football factors that he’s seeking.
The Louisiana native could envision himself making a decision soon after in June, but could also elect to wait and commit in December, right before he plans to graduate early.
The four-star prospect is putting a great deal of weight on academics and the college town’s racial demographics, as he pursues an education in African studies and sets himself up for a level of comfortability over the next four years.
“(Some of the factors are) demographics, racial demographics, and they have to have my major in African studies,” said Carper. “A lot of schools don’t have that, but if they do, then they are automatically in my discussion, no matter who they are.
“I want to be comfortable on campus. Some guys look at only sports, but you’ve got to make sure you’re comfortable. You’re going to live there for four years, and football isn’t going to be all year. You got to live on campus and make sure you’re comfortable in that city or town.”
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.