T.K. Fleming’s work off the football field reached new heights last weekend.
At the LSU Bernie Moore Track Stadium, a venue that Fleming could one day call home, the Benton High two-sport athlete secured state titles in both the long and triple jump with marks of 24-4 ½ and 48-5 ¼, respectively.
A credit to Fleming’s natural athleticism, the results didn’t hit Benton High with any waves of surprise.
“Most sort of expected it,” said Benton High football coach Caleb Guidry. “He’s got some unbelievable talents.”
On the LSU campus for sit down talks with both the football and track staffs in late March, Fleming spoke of the day that the Tiger program would extend a scholarship offer.
“I know they are pretty interested in me coming to school there,” said Fleming of track coach Dennis Shaver and football coach Les Miles. “I really like the program, and I want to be able to try both sports in college. They would give me that chance, and right now I see it as a good fit.”
The only question that loomed over Fleming’s recruitment was his grades, which dipped below qualifying levels after his first two years of high school.
Before leaving campus in March, Fleming addressed the issue with hopes that the Tiger staff would hear him out.
“I let them know that my freshman and sophomore years I really slacked off and didn’t take school that seriously, and now my GPA is low because of it,” he said. “I am going to have to retake some of these classes to get things cleared up, but I have been doing well this past year, so I feel like I am going to be alright.”
Earlier this week, Miles decided that offering Fleming was a move that the Tigers were ready to make. After a call to Guidry, the move was made.
“I think they just see what type of athlete he is and they don’t want to let him slip off to another school outside the state,” Guidry said. “He’s definitely got the talent to play at LSU.”
Fleming currently holds over 20 offers, ranging as far West as Oregon and East as Tennessee.
“You name the school and they have been by here this spring to check on him,” Guidry said. “UCLA, Arkansas and Mississippi State all came by recently. It’s been hectic for him, but I know that he likes the idea of getting all of this interest from SEC schools.”
Being recruited to LSU by first-year tight ends coach Steve Ensminger, the push for the 6-foot-3, 207-pounder should only increase moving forward.
“He plays safety in a 4-2-5 scheme now, so he’s basically been a linebacker with a running start,” Guidry said. “If you watch him play you will immediately see why they were interested in getting him to Baton Rouge. He is just very aggressive and he tackles well.
“They want to get him on an official visit, so that’s the next plan for getting him into town,” he added. “I don’t think they want him at camp because they want him focused on his academics.”
Set to participate in summer school, the coming months will be pivotal in getting Fleming back on track in the classroom.
“There is a lot of work to do, but he knows where he has got to get to and how things must be done,” Guidry said. “It’s up to him now. The hope is that an offer like LSU will light a fire under him. The goal is to get qualified.”