LSU only has room for about six or seven more guys in the 2006 class and you can bet that one of those spots is reserved for the nation's No. 1 rated cornerback Jai Eugene.
Eugene, a 6-foot, 190-pounder with blazing 4.4 speed, has narrowed his list of schools down to a few and he plans to announce his intentions at the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 7.
Eugene did not get to show off his cover skills much in his senior year because Destrehan head coach Steve Robichaux wanted to save his energy for offense. He still made an impact in the limited snaps on defense and finished the year with four interceptions.
When Eugene gets to San Antonio, though, he will play strictly on the defensive side of the ball and he is eager to see how he stacks up against the nation's finest receivers.
"I can't wait to play in that game," Eugene said. "I'm going to be able to go up against the best in the country so I'll be able to see where I stand."
Eugene was all set to take recruiting all the way down to signing day but stress and a lack of any kind of privacy have made him alter his time frame.
"I'm ready to get it over with," Eugene said when asked what made him push up the date. "It has been so crazy and February is just too far away."
About a month ago, the Destrehan product had narrowed his list down to six schools but now there are only four in the hunt for his signature.
"I'm still looking at Miami, LSU, Florida and Michigan," he said. "I eliminated USC and Tennessee."
Eugene took an official visit to USC a couple of weeks ago and some Tiger fans were concerned regarding some comments he made about the Trojans. Although, he enjoyed everything about the trip there was one obstacle that could not be overcome.
"It was just too far from home," said Eugene.
With only four schools sitting in his crosshairs and a decision only 10 days away, why have his finalists made the cut?
Michigan -- "They have a great program with a lot of tradition. The "Big House" is one of the biggest stadiums that there is and is a great place to play. Plus, my idol Charles Woodson went there."
Florida -- "Recruiting has been going great over there. They are going to have the best class in the country. They had an up and down season this year but I think coach (Urban) Meyer is going to get them going in the right direction."
Miami -- "They put a lot of their guys from the secondary in the NFL. They have a great program and are a big football school. Really, what can you say bad about Miami?"
And what about the Tigers?
"It's home," Eugene said. "Tiger Stadium is one of the best places to play. I think LSU is going to be great next year and in the years to come. Really, though, with LSU it's home. My family can come watch me every Saturday and I can see my little boy whenever I want. I can't ask for much more than that."
Has the notion of leaving his son to go play out-of-state been weighing on his mind?
"Yes," he said. "It has been a lot lately. I love my son so much and I want to be able to spend as much time with him as I can."
If that is going to be the determining factor like it sounds like it could be then LSU coaches and fans could be smiling from ear to ear on Jan. 7.
Editor's Note: Eugene said he may attend the Peach Bowl on Friday but the trip is still up in the air because he will be leaving early on New Year's Day for San Antonio.
Jai Eugene Drops Two Biggies
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