Huskers offer DB from the South

Nebraska has done a better job of locating and offering earlier in the recruiting process. They are trying to get into areas that are known to produce more college talent like Texas, California and Florida. One state they haven't been able to pull a prep player out of in some time is Louisiana. Could this be the year and the player?

At 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Jai Eugene has the size that schools look for in a cornerback. The standout from Destrehan (La.) is as much of a star on the track as he is on the gridiron. He wouldn't mind having the opportunity to do both in college.

"I'm running track right now. I run the 100m, 200m and two relays," Eugene said. "I ran a 10.22 with the wind to my back. I ran a 10.38 and 10.45 with no wind. My best 200m time is 21.3 and 21.5. Most likely I would like to run track as well as play football in college, of course."

Translate the 10.3 speed into 40-speed and you are talking about smoking fast. "I run in the 4.4 range, the low 4.4's. I'd say right now with lifting weights and running track that it is closer to 4.3. I am benching 285, squatting 405 and I power-clean 255."

While the speed, the strength and the size all translate to be being a great football player in college, potentially, he has the other stuff going for him too as well. Eugene appears to be carrying a high enough GPA at 2.8 and received an 18 on his latest ACT that should make him fully eligible in the spring.

Every school that is recruiting Eugene is after him as a cornerback, but that is not the position where he played most of his snaps last year. Eugene was a star for his team as a quarterback and doubled as a cornerback against teams that had good receivers or passed the ball a lot.

"I played quarterback last year. I only played defense when we played Reserve, La. As a quarterback I threw for 1,460 yards, nine touchdowns, 60 carries for over 700 yards and on defense I had seven interceptions and around 25 tackles. If a team had a good receiver or passed the ball a lot I played defense. Most likely though, I was playing quarterback. When I played against Perrillioux I guarded Ricky Dixon. I didn't start playing cornerback until after the second game of the season."

"Everyone is recruiting me as a cornerback. I guess it's because I am fast, I have great hips, good hips. I have a good coach who has helped me a lot. I also have great hands."

Beyond being a polished cornerback, there are some things that Eugene will try to get better at this spring and summer. "You can always get better at footwork and on your hips. I would like to get better to reading routes better. I would like to get better at playing off-man, because I think that is the toughest coverage for a defensive back to have to play. I can cover well in tight man to man."

Eugene has a plethora of offers already coming from most of the nation's top programs.

"I have almost 20 offers. I have Miami, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, USC, UCLA, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU, Nebraska, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Texas, Texas Tech, Auburn and the whole SEC. I talked to Oklahoma and they are going to offer me next week. Ohio State seems close to offering too. USC just offered me three days ago."

With all of the offers he has had only a few chances to catch up with coaches at schools that have offered him. "I've spoke to the coach at Nebraska and I've spoke to Les Miles at LSU. I called the coaches at Florida and Miami and I know the coaches at Tennessee. I just took a visit to LSU. I spoke to Coach Blake from Nebraska. He's nice. He's real. He said that he is recruiting me not just because I am a great player, but because I am a great person."

One team seems to have a clear advantage here because of a former player going to a college and then onto the pros. "Miami, because Ed Reed went to the same high school that I am going to. I went to the Miami camp last summer and it was great. I know a lot of the coaches there already. They treated me great. Tennessee is up there and so is USC; UCLA, LSU, Texas and almost every school in Florida. In the end I am still really wide open."

Eugene only made it to one camp, but this year he might make it to a few more. "I camped at Miami and that is it. I am going to the Nike camp this year. I'll probably go to the Notre Dame camp and the UCLA camp too. Notre Dame offered me. I was supposed to go to Junior Days at Auburn and Florida, but I really can't because I am running track."

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