If you would have asked Jarquez Samuel early last month about his recruitment, he would have talked about being under-the-radar, a prospect with big talents that hadn’t yet been discovered by college coaching staffs.
“It seemed like not many coaches were really giving me a hard look,” said Samuel, a starting defensive end at Valdosta High, the winningest prep football program in the country. “The coaching staffs were coming through here during the fall for games and again this past spring for evaluations, but the offers weren’t really following.”
Then came contact from LSU.
Defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, who was in the Peach State recruiting Wildcat standouts Jay Rome and Malcolm Mitchell, found talent he could work with in Samuel and linebacker Justin Williams, striking up contact with the pair before heading back to Baton Rouge.
“He said that he would be in touch, because he felt like Jay and Malcolm weren’t the only guys on our team that were good enough to play big-time SEC ball,” Samuel said. “A week later my head coach came to me and congratulated me. I asked him what had happened, and he told me LSU had called back and sent an offer.
“It was very big. I’m pretty excited about just having the opportunity to take a look at somewhere like LSU. When I think of the best football around the South, LSU is up there.”
With team workouts set to run from Monday to Thursday for the rest of June and into July, Samuel’s summer schedule isn’t as flexible as the average 17-year olds.
Regardless, a trip to Baton Rouge appears imminent.
“I am going to have to visit, no matter how busy we stay,” Samuel said. “I’m trying to get there at some point in July, and hopefully it will be the weekend of camp. Meeting the coaching staff is probably one of the biggest things I’m looking forward to, that and seeing the campus itself.
“I imagine that they will be pretty cool guys, and I know the facilities are going to be top of the line. From asking around to people and doing some research, I don’t think I’ll have many complaints about how the visit goes down. If things run smooth, then I would think about committing. I’m not in a rush, but if the vibe works then I can’t see myself turning LSU away.”