LSU has gone all in on Prince Tega Wanogho.
The Tigers hosted him on an official visit this past weekend. Then new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele went to Montgomery, Ala., to have an in-home visit with him the day after he returned.
What kind of impression is that having on the recently reclassified defensive end?
“They really like him, they really do,” said Todd Taylor, Wanogho’s coach and guardian. “The kid himself is infectious. He’s great to be around, great personality. They enjoy him and we enjoyed them. He has other visits to make, and as of this time he’s only made one. So once he has something to compare it to, we can answer more questions.”
LSU did get the first chance to court Wanogho on an official visit, getting an early step on the whirlwind that is his recruitment. Wanogho and Taylor left Montgomery late Friday night and arrived in the wee hours of Saturday morning. They stayed until Sunday afternoon, and the Tigers made sure to cover every detail.
“I thought it was very well structured,” Taylor said. “It was well laid out, the way they did things. Not a lot of time for anything other than business. The educational side was stressed. And the athletic side as well from the weight room to the field to the teaching and coaching as part of their job as well. All of that was gone over and covered, how he’d be coached, the film room and everything. I though it was very well laid out plan for how they went through everything.”
Ed Orgeron played a big part in making sure Wanogho and his guardian left with a favorable impression of the program. He was largely the reason Wanogho made that trip at all after a visit to his school last week sealed the deal.
Orgeron has already proven he can match the hype of his recruiting prowess, and his blossoming relationship with Wanogho could be a big advantage for the Tigers.
“He’s a fantastic recruiter,” Taylor said. “He really is. He’s infectious. As a young kid, you can see why you’d want to be around him. He’s a quality coach. He means well in everything he does. The whole staff was quite pleasing. That’s what they’re supposed to do, that’s their job. All of his questions were answered as he went through the process.”
Another thing that played in LSU’s favor this weekend was another recruit on campus. The Tigers also hosted offensive tackle Chidi Valentine-Okeke, another Nigerian-born player, and rumblings have started brewing that he and Wanogho may want to play together on the next level.
Considering similar offers, that makes LSU a legitimate contender for both.
“I know when they saw each other, it was a nice reunion,” Taylor said. “They’d played at a camp together in Nigeria. It was good for them to be around each other. They liked that…They hooked up and were connected at the hip for a while.”
Though the LSU visit was certainly a big success, Taylor said Wanogho’s not rushing to judgment. He needs to see more before he can really start to evaluate each of his suitors.
“He just didn’t have anything to compare it to,” Taylor said. “That’s the first one. To answer those questions, we’ll have to see another school. That should give us some pros and cons. It’s really hard to say because we haven’t seen anything before.”
He’ll have that opportunity each of the next two weekends. Wanogho will take an official visit to Tennessee Jan. 23 and Auburn on Jan. 30. He does plan to take his decision past National Signing Day, so he’ll attempt to take two more visits after that before making the final call.
Just about every program in the SEC is vying for a spot in his recruitment, with assistants and head coaches making in-home visits this week. LSU hat at least locked in its place in Wanogho’s mind, and they — like everyone else — will wait for the call.
“We’re unsure what’s going to happen,” Taylor said. “We’re a little overwhelmed, but that’s going to settle down as time passes. He’s very mature. He’s a very classy, yet humble young man and understands the process he’s going through. He’ll be able to handle it. He’s mature in that way.”