The biggest surprise of National Signing Day for LSU fans came by way of a defensive signee.
Down to California, Florida State, LSU, Miami and Notre Dame, the decision came down to the final night. In the end, LSU was too much to pass up.
“It honestly went down until the late, late hours of last night,” said Ferguson’s father. “We weighed out all the pros and cons, and in the end J.R. felt most comfortable with LSU. He didn’t feel like he would be 100 percent at home with anyone else.”
While the 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end prospect’s recruitment was as mysterious as it gets, the Ferguson family admitted that the Tigers always had a slight lead.
“He would come home after every visit and try to compare it to LSU,” the elder Ferguson said. “The visit he took and then the commitment the staff made really stuck with him until the end.”
The commitment made, both from defensive line coach Brick Haley and head coach Les Miles, helped push LSU over the top during the final hours of deliberation.
“When we thought about what staff made the biggest impression, it was LSU,” Ferguson’s father said. “Coach Haley had been on top of J.R. since his recruitment with LSU began. He kept LSU in the race.
“In the end, coach Miles truly brought it home,” he added. “When you want to talk about closers, Miles was amazing. He made us feel certain that LSU was the place that J.R. needed to play.”
From the opportunity to compete for early playing time to the chance to play in the Southeastern Conference, the Ferguson’s said that the Tigers offered all the right pieces.
“J.R. just knew by the end that he could get everything he wanted by going LSU,” the elder Ferguson said. “It was a great fit.”
As for the morning message to Tiger fans, Ferguson’s father said that his son’s words were one that all LSU fans are familiar with.
“Tigerbait!,” he said. “That is all we have to say after today.”