Ask any college recruiter about whether they like their players — especially front-seven guys — to play multiple sports, and the answer is typically yes, if the second sport is basketball. And that's precisely what top 2015 prospect Keisean Lucier-South, (pronounced Kee-shawn) Orange County (Calif.) Lutheran, has been up to this summer.
"It helps my quickness because every time I play good defense on someone, that's like going down the line," Lucier-South said. "You have to have a good shuffle, and basketball helps me work on that."
With his basketball obligations, Lucier-South only made it to one summer camp, this summer, UCLA's. And he said he enjoyed the experience.
"It was really cool," Lucier-South said. "I've never been to a camp before. So it was great to talk to the coaches, and to see how college practices are. And there was really good competition."
That competition certainly helped Lucier-South improve — the Bruins tossed him on the field at outside linebacker, the first time he'd played the position, and the high level of talent around him meant that he had to improve quickly. By the end of it, Lucier-South said he earned mention as one of the best players at the camp.
"I was pretty proud about that," Lucier-South said.
His versatility, athleticism and frame are three of his best attributes. Lucier-South runs like a skill position player, and he said most coaches see him either plugging in at either outside linebacker or defensive end, depending on how he grows. Or he could even play both. In fact, Oregon State talked to Lucier-South's coach about how he could play four different positions — wide receiver, tight end, defensive end or outside linebacker — at the next level.
At 6-foot-4 and weighing 215 pounds, with a diverse skill set, Lucier-South could plug in at a variety of spots. And that's intrigued teams like Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee, Miami, Washington, Colorado, Boise State and UCLA all of whom have offered. Additionally, TCU offered last week. At this point, Lucier-South said he doesn't have any favorites.
That the Longhorns extended an offer in May came as somewhat of a surprise to the talented Californian, and it was a six degrees of separation type of situation. Lucier-South's head coach Chuck Peterson was the former offensive coordinator at Air Force and used to live in Texas. Pierson has a friendship with Texas head coach Mack Brown is friends with Pierson and called him to talk about how things were going. At that point, Pierson told Brown about his talented athlete, and referred Brown to his film.
The rest, as they say, is history. A week later, Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite was on campus, visiting Lucier-South and expressing the Longhorns' interest. And the next day, Lucier-South was on the phone with Brown himself, with the Texas head man telling him that he was offering a rare out-of-state scholarship.
"I was honestly really surprised," Lucier-South said. "It's a big honor. California kids don't usually get Texas offers."
Since then, Lucier-South said he's established a "really good" relationship with Applewhite, his lead recruiter.
"We talk about life, and what Texas wants me to [play]," Lucier-South said. "We talk about the type of environment they have at Texas."
Like so many other schools, the Longhorns want Lucier-South as a defensive end or linebacker. Lucier-South said he had lost some weight by playing basketball, but plans to enter his senior season, a year from now, at 225 to 230 pounds.
"I don't know what I'm going to be in the future, whether I'll be an outside linebacker or a defensive end," Lucier-South said. "Right now, when I go to camps, I'm going to be an outside linebacker to work on that. Then, if I gain weight, we'll see."
While a lot of schools aren't quite sure what they want out of Lucier-South, he's sure about what he's looking for from his recruiters.
"Academics — that's the most important part of the recruiting process," Lucier-South said. "Honestly, academics and school come first, then football second. That's my main priority."
Lucier-South said he's not totally sure what his plans are for attending games this fall, and that he needs to discuss it further with his parents. He said he'll likely attend UCLA-USC, and potentially a Washington game, but his schedule is fairly open.
Can Texas wrangle one of those visits? Stay tuned for a prospect that FOXSportsNEXT/Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins pegs as a likely top-50 and five-star player in the 2015 class.
Greg Biggins sizes up Keisean Lucier-South
He has the same frame as [recent West Coast stars Dion Jordan (Oregon) and Anthony Barr (UCLA)]. He's 6-4 right now, and will probably end up at 6-5, and he has the frame to put on a lot of weight to about where those guys are. I don't know if he's as athletic as Barr, who was a great high school running back. It's a bit hard to imagine [Lucier-South] there. He's not quite as athletic, but just as a pure pass-rusher, he's more physical and tougher at the same stage than Jordan and Barr were.
I think the only schools that are really recruiting him as an outside linebacker … are the schools that play a 3-4 scheme … He's not a guy that necessarily will play a lot in space. He's more of a pure pass-rusher, an aggressive, coming-off-the-edge kind of guy. But then again, I saw him playing outside linebacker at the UCLA camp, and he did a really good job. He told me afterward that it was the first time he'd actually played it. He's not really natural dropping back, but he can get out and play the flat. He has to [develop] his cover skills to be an every-down outside 'backer.
The Class of 2015 is really stacked out West. But I think he's a five-star type guy.