It didn't matter for 2017 Spanish Fort (Ala.) defensive lineman Justin Thomas that his dad, Atlas Herrion, played at Alabama. The 6-4, 255-pound lineman was ready to make his own path when he decided to commit to LSU.
"He told me it's not about what he wants me to do. It's about me because he doesn't have to spend four or five years there."
Having his decision out of the way now gives the three-time state championship an opportunity to focus on closing out his high school career with another.
"It's great to focus on my season and get better on the little things and go after a state championship. I've got to improve on everything," Thomas said. "I want to make it back and win another state championship."
When it came down to it, LSU made a harder push to land Thomas, which is why he committed to defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig
"I liked how hard they recruited me. I liked Coach Orgeron and Coach Craig. They were straight shooters. They were real, real, you know what I mean?"
Orgeron has plenty of experience developing some of the top defensive line talent, which Thomas says played a big role in deciding to join the Tigers.
"I like the way Coach Orgeron says they're going to push me. I need someone to push me instead of them just saying, here take it," Thomas said.
Orgeron said he can see Thomas at numerous positions for LSU. Whether that is at Buck, defensive end or nose tackle just depends on where Thomas develops and the situations the Tigers are in defensively.
"I like everything. I like to pass rush and the five positions plus I can rush from the outside," Thomas said. "There's that tradition of the school developing defensive lineman."
Craig has now landed two top flight players in Thomas and defensive lineman Neil Farrell out of the Mobile area in 2017. The new LSU receivers coach has had a big impact on the Mobile area and will continue to if he has his with.
"Coach Craig, I like the way he's going to push me too. Plus, he's from here too," Thomas said. "He told me that he was going to keep recruiting people out of Alabama and he's going to get as many people out of Alabama as he can."
LSU head coach Les Miles is "weird" according to Thomas, but that doesn't stop him from being able to go to him with anything he needs.
"He's a very cool guy. I talk to him a lot. You need someone you can always talk to."
In addition to winning a national championship, Thomas wants to make it to the NFL while also earning a degree in Business from LSU.
Thomas will still take his official visits, which will include LSU, Arkansas (with teammate Thomas Johnston below), Alabama and potentially others.