It’s tough to find time to get coaches together during the Spring Evaluation Period, seeing college staffs spread their arsenal of recruiters across the map over a six-week stretch.
However, Monday morning brought one of those rare moments.
Sitting inside the LSU Football Operations Center, head coach Les Miles called his offensive line coach, Greg Studrawa, and his recruiting coordinator, Frank Wilson, into the film room.
Miles popped in a tape of Trai Turner, one of the state’s top offensive linemen in a stacked in-state class for 2011. While Studrawa had once told Turner his evaluation would come at summer camp, the clock had been turned forward.
It was time to decide whether or not Turner would suit up in purple and gold.
After one tape finished, Miles popped another in. By the end of the second film, the 6-foot-4, 330-pound offensive tackle had shown enough.
“Coach Frank told me that the three of them just decided right then that they couldn’t wait any longer to offer me,” Turner said. “All three of them were really impressed. After seeing that junior film, the decision was done.”
Wilson had also put in his own work on Turner, scouting the rising senior at a spring practice just two weeks after visiting the St. Augustine coaching staff.
“He saw how I moved and felt that they didn’t need to wait until the summer camps to evaluate my game,” Turner said. “Coach Frank just went back to Baton Rouge and made sure that the three of them watched my tapes and made their decision.”
When Wilson phoned Turner on Monday, the news hit hard – despite the fact that Turner knew the Tigers were hot on his trail.
“It is one thing to hear them talk about offering, but to have the coaches call me and my mother and say that I have a scholarship to play for the Tigers is amazing to me,” he said. “I have just sat around the entire night letting it soak in.”
While on the phone with Mrs. Turner, Wilson put the full-court press on.
“My mom was just so happy for me, especially after talking to coach Frank,” Turner said. “They talked about family, church, New Orleans and even a little football.
“I can tell you one thing. Coach Frank can sell a program. My mom almost seemed as excited and happy as I am. The fact that he has connections to New Orleans and my school is really big for us. That kind of seperates coach Frank and LSU from everyone else.”
Turner, who had plans to commit to a school by July, said that the offer makes his process that much simpler.
“I will definitely be deciding before the summer ends,” said Turner, who holds over 20 scholarship offers. “This was one I was really waiting on. I don’t want to say it is over with or anything, but LSU is in a really, really good spot.
“I am going to take some other visits this summer and then see how I feel.”
With the staff clearly looking to strike rich in New Orleans, the pressure from fellow Big Easy natives like Anthony Johnson has already been turned up.
“I didn’t even know anyone knew about it, but all the sudden those guys are calling me and getting in my ear,” Turner laughed. “I am not complaining though. Just smiling.”