Recruiting is difficult for any recruit, but it is even tougher for prospects that grow up in states with more than one major football program.
Woodville (Miss.) Wilkinson County product James Maiden is holding with a double-edged sword.
On one side, he is dealing with people telling him to choose Ole Miss; then Mississippi State fans get their voices heard, while the Southern Mississippi fans are screaming for a look.
Then on the opposite side, an out-of-state program such as LSU is trying to get him to cross the state border, going against the wishes of the Mississippi natives.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound offensive lineman says he is taking the tug-of-war campaign between universities in stride.
“Everything is fine,” Maiden expressed. “I have five offers from Mississippi State, Mississippi, Southern Mississippi, and LSU then USC just offered. They’re all even right now. I’ve done visited Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Southern Miss this year, but haven’t been to LSU yet. I spoke to coach (Joe) Robinson at LSU, but we didn’t set up any dates for me to visit.”
Although Maiden has not made a trip to LSU in 2010, he did make his way down to Death Valley for a game last year.
“I was there for the Arkansas game last season,” Maiden stated. “It was my first time going to a game like that.”
Maiden claimed his in-game experience from last season differs from any other, but the time he spends on various campuses away from stadiums shared some of the same traits.
“LSU stadium was different,” Maiden said as compared to Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Southern Miss. “The crowd was bigger and way louder at LSU, but I thought all of the campuses were about the same with the exception of LSU and Ole Miss. They had better academic centers.”
Another component that differs between the four universities is the coaching staffs. Maiden claims the LSU staff is a bit more aggressive in their approach with recruiting.
“Coach Robinson was recruiting me, but I think it has changed since then,” Maiden informed. “The last time I spoke with the LSU coaches, they told me they wanted me to become a Tiger. I told them ‘I’d love to, but I would like to see all of my other choices first.’”
Maiden claimed the pressure has not deterred him away from LSU in the slightest. In fact, his outlook on the Tigers’ football program has remained the same.
“I like everything about LSU,” Maiden admitted. “I felt very comfortable with the coaches when I went up there last season, and plus it’s only 45 minutes away from home. LSU is recruiting me as an offensive tackle, and I’m comfortable playing there or anywhere, as long as I get on the field.”
In addition to the four schools that have offered, Maiden says he is getting interest from Stanford and Vanderbilt. He says that he will take some visits this summer – most likely to the four schools that have offered – but no trips have been set up.