Jermauria and Mom Enjoy LSU Visit

LSU had some prospects on campus for an unofficial visit on Saturday and one was Evangel defensive end Jermauria Rasco. The five-star prospect was also accompanied by his mother and it seems that the trip was a big success.

Choosing a college is often the biggest decision that a young person has to make. That decision is even more difficult when it comes to athletes as many of them are looking at not only the academic side of the school, but also the athletic side because it can have an impact on their professional future as well.


Some young people are forced to make that decision alone while others are fortunate enough to have family members to assist them with what can be a grueling process.


For Shreveport (La.) Evangel defensive end Jermauria Rasco, he is one of the fortunate.


Rasco, a 6-foot-4, 251-pound defensive end, is one of the top prospects in the country for 2011.


Attention came very early for the standout performer as official scholarship offers arrived as soon as college coaches could put their overtures in writing on Sept. 1, 2009.


Schools such as LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, Colorado, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, UCLA, Stanford, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Texas Tech offered Rasco during the first week of his junior campaign and much of the early attention was due to a sensational sophomore season where he finished with 149 tackles and 26 sacks, which is believed to have tied the national high school record for sacks in a season that was set by Reggie White.


The offers continued to pour in during his junior season when Rasco finished with a team-high 86 tackles and 12.5 sacks despite playing in only the first half of numerous games and having to fight off constant double, and sometimes even triple-teams.


To date, Rasco estimates that he has more than 25 scholarship offers with the latest coming from USC and Texas.


In fact, the Texas offer came in person when Rasco and his mother – Gwen Rasco – attended Texas’ Junior Day on Feb. 13.


Gwen, a single mother with four sons, has accompanied Jermauria on several junior day trips and she gives him the support that he is looking for during a recruiting process that can get overwhelming for someone of Jermauria’s stature.


This past weekend, Gwen accompanied Jermauria and her oldest son, who lives in Houston, as the Rasco family embarked on another campus visit with LSU being their destination.


Gwen has already been to LSU once before as she attended a junior day event when Jermauria was a sophomore. But this time around she got a better feel of what life at LSU could be like.


“My whole perspective has changed,” said Gwen. “I guess we’ve gotten spoiled. When we’ve been going to these schools we’ve been getting one-on-one’s and when we went to LSU’s Junior Day I was overwhelmed by everything because it was so fast paced that you couldn’t really digest everything well. You were going from place to place and it was about timing.


“But this weekend it was just like a one-on-one thing. They had two professors come, one in business and one in engineering to talk to us, and that was good. I mean these professors took time out of their busy schedules to come on a Saturday morning and I was just like wow.”


This time around, Gwen also got the opportunity to get to know LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley on a personal and business level.


“I didn’t get the chance to talk to Brick Haley like I wanted to the first time we talked but this time we talked a lot,” said Gwen. “I like to cut up and I like to have fun and we did.


“I mean I was calling plays during the scrimmage,” added Gwen with a laugh. “I was out on the practice field and telling the boys what they need to do. Some looked at me like I was crazy but it was a lot of fun.”


Being the detail oriented person that she is, Gwen was more than prepared to meet with Haley and she let him know what she was most concerned about when it comes to her son and the choices that sit before him.

Rasco is one of the nation's best for 2011

“Like I told Brick Haley, he was telling me things I hear everywhere,” said Gwen. “Every college we go to they say we’re going to take care of your son and I promise you this and so on. Mack Brown and co. told me that and Nick Saban and co. said the same thing. Now, Miles and co. are saying the same thing.


“But how do I really know that they’re going to take care of my child for the next four years? This is my baby, and yes it’s time for the little birdie to leave the nest, but how do I really know when everyone’s smiling and grinning. I’m going to have to trust someone but I don’t want to be proven wrong.”


During her one-on-one visit with Haley, Gwen said she got to know more about Haley as a person as opposed to being just a coach. She said she had a good feel for Haley as a coach from his days with the Chicago Bears. Now, Gwen has a good understanding of who Haley is off the field.


“Coach Haley told me there were some parents that I could call but I don’t want anyone to pick out parents for me to call,” said Gwen. “So, I went out on my own and called some parents and asked them what they thought about him and the parents I talked to said some really nice and encouraging things about Brick Haley.


“I know a guy he coached that is at Baylor University and it’s not affiliated with LSU and this guy has a great judge of character. He said he’s a great person and that is something I didn’t know because I didn’t know anything really about Brick Haley the person.”


In addition to spending one-on-one time with Haley, Gwen and Jermauria also had their share of time with head coach Les Miles. And just like with Haley, their time with Miles was not all business either.


“It was great,” Gwen said. “Jermauria said I knew one day Coach Miles would be sitting in our living room but this was fun. We had the time to walk the stadium and coach was just down to earth and cool; he cut up with us.


“He showed us like a boiler room in the stadium and coach told him that if he came to LSU he could have a section in the boiler room and put his bed in there. He even laughed and said Jermauria could put a table and deck out there and have his own view in the stadium where you can see the Mississippi River and everything. It makes it better when it’s not always about business.”


In our previous conversations with Gwen last summer regarding head coach Les Miles she was impressed with their initial talks and had this to say.


“When I first met Coach Miles I was just honored,” Gwen said back on June 17. “I’ve talked to him a few times in person and on the phone and he seems like he’s so involved with his family and his football team. That’s big because family is important to me.”


Gwen said that football came up in her conversations with Miles on Saturday, but once again, she saw the headman as a parent and not just a football coach.


“He talked about his kids, which he did the last time when we had the dinner, and his situation was more or less like it was last time,” said Gwen. “His daughter was off at a swimming event and he told me how his Saturday morning started with being a parent. So, I had a good feel for him also because we had more time this time.”


The decision that Jermauria makes will center on many things including academics, football, campus life and surroundings to name a few. Comfort level with a school and coaching staff may be the biggest key overall, though. Did mom feel the comfort level she was looking for during her trip to Baton Rouge?


“Oh yes honey,” she quipped. “It has everything to do with off the field than on the field. What really counts and when you get respect for someone, it’s off the field as opposed to being on the field.”


Gwen went on to say that Jermauria had “a great visit and really enjoyed himself”. She also said that there is no timeline for her son to make a decision and she is proud of the way that he has remained humble and is handling this next step in his young life.


“We’re still going through the evaluation process,” she said. “If I had my way I would push him and I was pushing him to make his decision by April. But he said, ‘mom I have to go with the decision that best fits me’.


“I told him that before he went out to his spring game I wanted him to make up his mind, especially with him graduating in December. I wanted him to make up his mind but he said, ‘mom I don’t want to make a decision today or tomorrow and come back and change my mind because this school is not the best fit for me.’ He said I’m just going to take my time and I’m glad he’s looking at it that way. He’s really handling all of this in a mature and professional way and as a mom that makes me real proud. When Jermauria makes a decision he’s going to give his word and that means everything to him.”

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