The recruiting process in football is one that normally starts as many as two years prior to when a prospect graduates from high school.
That was the case with Shreveport (La.) Huntington athlete Jarrett Fobbs and former LSU wide receivers coach D.J. McCarthy.
“Recruiting is so much about getting to know a coach and I got to know Coach McCarthy real well,” said Fobbs. “You get close to a guy then it’s hard when you find out that he’s not there anymore.”
McCarthy resigned from his post at LSU on Dec. 9 and two days later new wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales had taken over the helm.
It took a few days for Gonzales to be cleared to hit the recruiting trail by the SEC and NCAA but once he got the green light he made it a point to contact the top wide receiver prospects on LSU’s board for 2010.
One of those prospects is Fobbs and last Thursday he and his family got their first opportunity to meet Gonzales, who had spent the previous five years serving as Florida’s wide receivers coach, when he made the trip to Shreveport for an in-home visit.
Fobbs admits that he was a little apprehensive at first due to the timing of Gonzales taking over at LSU, but it didn’t take long for both parties to loosen up a bit.
“I was kind of hesitant at first because he was a new guy but he seemed like a cool cat,” Fobbs said. “He started talking about how he would use me and giving me his background and stuff like that. When he started opening up then I opened up to him more.
“It’s tough,” Fobbs added. “You build a relationship with Coach McCarthy and then all of a sudden it stops then you have a new guy come in and you have to start the whole process over again. That’s why I was kind of hesitant at first but I’m more comfortable with it now.”
Fobbs, a 6-foot, 185-pounder with 4.5 speed, was a jack-of-all trades for Huntington throughout his career. His senior season he finished with 55 receptions for 649 yards and five touchdowns to go with 705 yards and 12 scores on the ground on 84 carries.
Over the course of his career, Fobbs rushed for 2,144 yards and 23 touchdowns on 299 carries and added 1,303 yards receiving and 14 scores on 96 receptions. If those numbers sound familiar to someone that Gonzales groomed while he was at Florida then they should.
“He said before the new offensive coordinator came to Florida they used Percy Harvin in every way imaginable and that’s how they would use me,” Fobbs said of one of Gonzales’ selling points.
While the use of Harvin, who was the 22nd selection of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, was a focal point of the conversation there was more that Gonzales could point to that gave Fobbs a snapshot of what type of receivers’ coach he is.
“He talked about how he used Percy Harvin and how he’s put more receivers in the league in the last nine years than any other coach,” Fobbs said. “He was throwing a lot of stats at me like how he has three receivers starting in the NFL right now.”
Fobbs said that his first impression of Gonzales was a good one and it made it even better that he had someone he could identify with.
“After you see the finished product with Percy Harvin you can see yourself becoming someone like him or even better,” explained Fobbs. “Harvin was my size and you see all the things he did with him and you start to wonder.”
Fobbs entertained plenty of speculation when he heard that McCarthy was leaving LSU and it did affect his take on LSU to some degree. However, the Gonzales hire seems to be just what LSU needed to have a chance at pulling Fobbs away from what he labels a “soft commitment to Texas A&M.”
“I didn’t put them on the back burner but once you have that relationship with a coach and it goes out the window it’s a pain to start the process over again to get to know the new guy,” said Fobbs. “Before I knew who the new guy was I always compared myself to Percy Harvin. Now, knowing that he coached that guy, it makes the process of getting to know a coach not nearly as tough and one that I look forward to.”
With the dead period now in effect, Fobbs will only get to speak with Gonzales on the phone but he will get to have two more in-home visits with him prior to his official visit to LSU on Jan. 23.
As for his stance on his commitment to Texas A&M, Fobbs had this to say.
“Right now, I would say I am still committed to A&M but I am wide open.”