Odell Beckham hasn’t been one to play up his recruitment with handfuls of visits and talks of a new leader each month.
In many ways, the Newman product’s recruitment reflects the type of person Beckham is.
“I’m just more laid back and focused on football here in New Orleans, so the whole recruiting game was never really a big focus of mine,” he said. “With my season now over, I am going to shift my focus.”
While he hasn’t put it on the front burner, the decision between the Hurricanes and Tigers is one that Beckham has mulled over again and again over the past 12 months.
“It’s hard not to think about, even when you try,” he laughed. “I just know that those two teams are the only two I would realistically end up playing at, so it’s been a back and forth comparison between LSU and Miami just to see where I should be.”
One must on the checklist: a winning program.
“Being on a good team is definitely important, and LSU has been that this year,” Beckham said. “They have had a better season than Miami.”
Another must: resiliency.
“There’s just something about how LSU wins that I like,” he said. “Even when they play bad and should have lost some games, they found a way to win. That shows you something.”
Beckham, a four-star prospect and one of the country’s Top 40 receivers, said that each LSU visit has brought him closer and closer to becoming part of the Tiger family – a situation the LSU faithful can thank Frank Wilson and his group of early commitments for.
“Coach Frank and guys like Anthony Johnson and Jarvis Landry are great to be around, and I just feel that bond with them,” he said. “I’m closer to them than I am with anyone at any other schools. Really it just lets me know even more that LSU would be a comfortable fit.”
With the Tigers leading as the season comes to a close, Beckham said that he is already eyeing next summer, the first time he will be able to join a college team for workouts.
Ever since the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder moved out of the shadows of former Newman athlete Ron Vinson and into the spotlight on both sides of the ball, the debate has been where Beckham would play in college.
“I definitely want to play receiver, but I am not going to turn away playing time,” Beckham said. “If I come to LSU and coach (Ron) Cooper tells me that they really need me at defensive back, I’d play there. I just want to help the team keep winning.”
Beckham finished his senior season with over 1,000 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns. He also led the team in interceptions.
“It was a good season, but I wouldn’t say it was great,” said Beckham, whose Newman team lost to East Feliciana in the second round of the state playoffs. “It didn’t end how I planned it. We definitely missed guys like Ronnie (Vinson), because he was a big asset.
“Still, my experience at Newman has been great.”
Beckham was honored by the Army All-American Bowl for his achievements, one of a handful of Louisiana prospects picked to play in the January event.
“I know Kenny (Hilliard) and Greg (Robinson) will be over there, so it will be fun knowing some guys,” Beckham said. “That was a huge honor for me to be selected. We had a ceremony at the school and it was great to just share that moment with everyone who helped me get there. Now I just want to represent Newman and the state well when I get in the game.”
Beckham could go public with his commitment at the game, though he said that he still remains up in the air on the idea for now.
Regardless of a decision date, one thing is becoming apparent.
If Miami hopes to land one of Louisiana’s best for 2011, they have some catching up to do.
“LSU has had a great season and I’ve been able to see some awesome games, so I’m comfortable with them right now,” Beckham said. “I’ll still talk with the Miami coaches and probably take a visit, and after that I will know for sure where I am going. It shouldn’t be long.”