LSU's annual Bayou Picnic event is a way for the Tigers' staff to get even more familiar with in-state prospects while also bringing in some out-of-state recruits for the first time.
The latter was the case for four-star tight end Will Gragg (Dumas, AR) this weekend as he took in Baton Rouge and the LSU campus accompanied by his mother and a friend.
According to Gragg, the nation's No. 5 tight end, the entire LSU experience brought more than he'd anticipated.
"I didn't expect it to be like that. It blew me away, seeing how big it was mainly," Gragg told TSD. "I hadn't ever been to Baton Rouge and the campus before and toured it. It was great seeing how big it was and all the things, like the facilities and stuff like that. It exceeded my expectations."
While Gragg admitted hanging around the coaches and fellow players was fun, too, he didn't hesitate to mention the smorgasbord of food among the most memorable parts of his stay.
"It was all good," he said with a laugh. "We had ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni, chicken, everything."
Gragg's mother was equally impressed and also grateful to get to town for another reason. "She loved it," Gragg recalled. "She was looking forward to meeting them [the coaches] because they call me constantly. She was glad to finally get a chance to meet them."
Tight ends coach Steve Ensminger is LSU's lead recruiter on Gragg (6-4, 247). The player had positive things to say about his relationship with Ensminger and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, both of whom are selling Gragg on visions of making plays early in purple and gold.
"Coach E, our relationship is great," explained Gragg. "He tells me how he could use me in the offense and how he wants to use me immediately. Also Coach Cameron, he basically cosigned that – saying how they could use me immediately and they want to get me down there so I can make plays."
Continuing that thought, Gragg said Cameron and Ensminger want to use him "like in the slot, the outside and as an H-back type, things of that nature. Just finding ways to get me open. They don't have that all-around blocking and pass-catching tight end yet, so that's one thing he said."
Gragg, who has set his announcement date for Nov. 18, will take all five of his official visits prior to that date this fall. He's visiting Texas (Sept. 6), Florida State (Sept. 19), Ole Miss (Oct. 3), Alabama (Oct. 17) and LSU (Nov. 7).
He's hoping for a certain condition on that last date, Gragg's next trip to the bayou, when LSU hosts Alabama.
"I just want to see a great environment. Hopefully it's a night game where I can be in Baton Rouge at night and see what it's all about," leveled Gragg. "I've seen multiple games and videos, things like that, so I just want to get the full experience."