Coach Grimes had a tall task in front of him when he accepted the LSU job. Recruiting offensive linemen was one of the Tigers’ top priorities, and he made it his mission once he took over. He’s since added JUCO transfer Jevonte Domond, plus high school prospects Maea Teuhema, Matt Womack and Adrian Magee. He details what he looks for in a prospect and what it takes to recruit nationally at that position.
Q: You’ve targeted recruits from states like California, Virginia and Maryland since joining the LSU staff. How challenging is it to recruit kids from that far away?
“Early on, those guys that are in all those other states, they want the attention, so they all say they’re interested because everybody wants an LSU offer. They want that notch next to their name. The real challenge is to find out whether that kid’s truly interested in Louisiana. If he’s in Pennsylvania, would he really be willing to come this far? Most kids, the case is no. It takes some time, insight and research to continue looking at those kids and find which ones have the staying power to recruit to the end. Eventually your list gets whittled down to the amount that will travel and in the end, you hope to land a couple of those.”
Q: When you fire up the film, what are you looking for to determine whether a kid’s a legitimate prospect?
“They have to have the necessary physical prerequisites. They have to be big enough, athletic enough, quick enough, flexible enough, but they don’t have to be outstanding in any one of those areas to be considered a prospect. Then I’m trying to find out what this kid’s all about. Is he passionate about football, or does he play because he’s always been the biggest guy? Is he a tough guy, or does he just dominate in the trenches because nobody else in his league is any good? Is he intelligent? Does he have a good work ethic or is he lazy? My belief is that if a guy has enough physical [attributes] and he has those other intangible things, he’ll become a really good offensive lineman.”
Q: You recruited Louisiana in the past when you were with Auburn. How different is it now that you can recruit in this state for LSU?
“It’s a lot of fun to be in a state where you’re the top dog. You have the opportunity to walk in any school and people are excited you’re there. But there’s also enough national appeal you can go to a state next door or even a few states away and get some attention too.”
Q: The offensive line was a tremendous need for LSU when you came aboard. How would you evaluate the progress you’ve made?
“We’re headed in the right direction, but we’re nowhere near being done. If you’re going to recruit nationally, it takes longer. We’re still right in the middle of it, but we’ve got some good guys and I feel confident we’ll have a great class.”
Coach Raymond has firmly planted the LSU flag in the state of Florida. In past classes, he’s reeled in guys like Rashard Robinson, John Battle, Maquedius Bain and Travonte Valentine. He’s also got Kevin Toliver committed in the Class of 2015. He opens up on what it takes to recruit that talent-rich region.
Q: You don’t just recruit defensive backs out of Florida. What’s the process like when you discover someone like Maquedius Bain or Travonte Valentine?
“I tell the staff I have a kid down there, and I make sure to get the position coach’s approval of the guy. After that, if he wants him, then we go at him hard.”
Q: To what do you attribute the success you’ve been able to have recruiting in Florida?
“Recruiting is a team effort. Just like I tell the kids, it’s about the team. Everything around here is about the team. It’s a conglomerate of everybody that works in recruiting. That was the biggest thing. You have Coach Miles at the top, Coach Frank, and everybody else just works to facilitate. We call [football] the ultimate team sport. Well, recruiting is the ultimate team sport too.”
Q: Is it almost necessary for a program to recruit Florida if they want to compete at a high level?
“You’ve got to recruit Florida. With the population and what they do with little league football. It’s just a culture down there of guys that take football serious. Don’t get me wrong, we take football serious here in Louisiana, but they just have much more people…It’s a different element down there because you have friends, family and friends of friends that can come in on the last day and do anything.”
Q: With how many players LSU has recruited out of Florida, do you notice those purple and gold colors carry a bit more weight down there?
“Having LSU is a good thing, and also being a good person. In recruiting, you can be in any colors, it’s all about who the person is.”