The recruiting process is unique for each recruit as there are no duplicates. Some prospects max out on offers before the start of summer while others have to wait a while before their recruitment begins to sizzle.
After coming off of a stellar junior season, Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen Senior product Gionni Paul was regarded by many as one of the best linebacker prospects in the nation. It was a season that consisted of a 159 tackles, six interceptions, and four rushing touchdowns. Those were numbers that opened the eyes of many college coaches from around the country.
However, the one dilemma was Paul’s test scores. Coaches were hesitant to offer until the 6-foot, 220-pounder proved he was on track to qualify.
According to Paul, all is well now.
“I’m up to 11 offers,” said Paul, who lists Florida State, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Ole Miss and LSU as some of his offers. “Once I got my test results in and told the coaches, then the offers started rolling in.
“All of the coaches are recruiting me as a linebacker or a roll-down safety. They’re telling me I could come in and play right away. I keep in touch with them the same amount because I feel like I owe that to each of them for what they have done for me by offering me a scholarship.”
One of Paul’s latest offers to arrive came last week by way of the Tigers. It was an offer that Paul claimed hit home.
“Coach (Billy) Gonzales came to one of my practices last week and told my coach they were offering me a scholarship,” Paul stated. “I was grateful and humbled when my coach told me that because LSU is a great program, but I know I could not have done it without my teammates.”
Not only was Paul honored by the Tigers’ offer, but he has also been impressed with what the LSU coaches have told him since the offer arrived.
“I called Coach Les Miles and spoke with him,” Paul said. “He is a great man and has a great personality. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a great coach and he is one of the reasons why LSU has a winning tradition. I think highly of LSU, and I think they will have a good team this year.”
While it appears LSU ranks among the top of his list, Paul is unsure if they will get a visit this summer. But what about during the season?
“You best believe it,” Paul responded. “Whether I go this summer or not, LSU will be one of the official visits I am going to take. I know people that go to school there for the academics, not the athletics, and they have had a lot of good stuff to say about the place, so I’d like to check it out for myself.”
A trip to Baton Rouge will not be the only summer visit Paul may have to pass up on, as he has begun to prioritize his summer calendar.
“I don’t have any summer visits set up yet because I’m more worried about leading my team to a state title right now,” Paul explained. “We have a lot of national 7-on-7 tournaments coming up, and so it will be hard for me to take summer visits.”
Scout.com’s No. 18-ranked outside linebacker has not yet made any travel arrangements, but he does have an idea of what he will be looking for once he arrives at his destinations.
“I want to see if I like the coaches,” Paul stated. “I’m going to be spending four years with them, so I would like to feel comfortable while I’m around them. I also want to see what the environment is like on and off campus, and I want to make sure the school has a good academic program.”
Paul claims to not have a favorite at this point in time, but he does have an idea of when his finalists will be chosen.
“Right now, I’m open to everyone,” Paul concluded. “I believe I’m going to wait it out until the end of the year. I watched some go through the recruiting process and commit early, but they are not happy right now. So, I don’t want to put myself in the same situation as they did.”