A signing class that already holds 23 names could soon add another member, and the name will surprise most.
Justin Parker, the nation’s No. 10 ranked middle linebacker, got a phone call on Wednesday from defensive coordinator John Chavis that stirred up a recruiting process that was previously narrowed to a pair of South Carolina schools.
“Coach Chavis rang me up and told me that LSU wanted to go ahead and offer,” Parker said. “It was a really big moment for me. I had a feeling this might be coming, so for the staff to tell me that they want me to sign on and be part of this class, it was just awesome.”
It should be clarified that, prior to this week, Parker didn’t see any of this coming.
That was until he and his brother Jeff, who has helped guide him through the process, got Justin’s game highlights in front of a Tiger staff member.
From there, Parker’s game did the talking. The offer soon followed.
“The coaches told us that they had seen some of the video that we had gotten put on the Internet,” Jeff said. “You never know how someone is going to find out about talent. But, as soon as coach Chavis saw the video, he told us he knew that he wanted to offer.”
That film session took place earlier this week.
By Tuesday, the LSU coaches had contacted both Justin and Jeff.
“I got to talk with a bunch of different guys,” Justin said. “I talked with [defensive line] coach [Brick] Haley, and he said that he was already fighting to get me to move down to defensive end. I also talked to coach Chavis, and he said he didn’t care; he liked me at inside linebacker, outside linebacker and end.”
It was after that call that Parker said he had the feeling that the staff would offer. Only thing, he was not certain when.
“I got off the phone and was pretty excited, but I still was confused because I wasn’t sure if that meant I would be offered or if they were just looking at me,” said Parker with a laugh. “That is why it was so great that coach Chavis called me up [Wednesday] and said that they wanted to offer and make me part of the team.”
With frontrunners in South Carolina and Clemson, where does LSU enter into the race?
“They are right there at the top, no doubt,” Parker said. “Being that LSU was always one of my favorite teams, I always told myself that no matter when they entered my recruitment, I would have to put them at the top and consider them a real possibility.
“LSU came into the picture, and now they are one of my favorites, no doubt. I told the coaches that when I made my MySpace page back in the day, LSU was the team I put all over it.”
The next step: getting to Baton Rouge.
“I will be on my official visit to South Carolina this weekend, and I am going to Clemson in January,” Parker said. “Obviously, I want to get to LSU sometime during that stretch. It is all really fresh since I just got offered, but I definitely will sit down and schedule it in.”
Will distance play a factor in a race that holds frontrunners in the three-star prospect’s home state?
“I have to be honest, it really doesn’t bother me to leave home,” Parker said. “Before LSU offered, I liked USC and Clemson because they were great schools who could give me a big stage to play on. It wasn’t only because they were in South Carolina. My family wants what is best for me, and they understand as well as I that it doesn’t have to be here at home.”