Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting , with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss Justin Rogers‘ recent official visit to Baton Rouge, where the 4-star quarterback and longtime TCU commit saw a different side of the LSU offense and the offensive coordinator.
Justin Rogers clears the air on rumors
Plenty of rumors swirled about Justin Rogers‘ official visit to LSU. Allow Louisiana’s top-ranked quarter to clear the air.
Media reports surfaced that Rogers did not want to make his way from Bossier City, La., to Baton Rouge and that the 4-star quarterback was nearly sent home from his visit.
Rogers had an LSU staff member beside him for the full three-day visit to LSU. For all of the negative rumors circulating around the visit, the Under Armour All-American left the visit with a positive impression of the offense, the coaching staff and a much more difficult decision leading into his Dec. 22 signing date.
“First and foremost, I was always planning on taking an official visit to LSU,” Rogers told SEC Country. “They recruited me early and showed love early. I’ve always enjoyed the environment down there. My family enjoys it down there, so of course I was taking an official visit to LSU. I waited [until November] because that would be the right time, dealing with a lot of first-year coaches and I wanted them to be more acclimated to the environment and their players.
“After Coach [Ed Orgeron’s] first season, Coach [Matt] Canada’s first season at LSU, all of those guys wanted to get everything together and wanted to be comfortable down there before my official visit so when I got there, they could show me why I’d fit in so great.”
Matt Canada makes an impression on Justin Rogers
Rogers was one of six official visitors on hand for the Tigers’ regular-season finale against Texas A&M. He was joined by his teammate, best friend and 5-star wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr., 4-star athlete Justin Watkins, 4-star tight end Cameron Jurgens and junior college linemen Badara Traore and Damien Lewis.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback sat in on team and offensive meetings on Friday and during the pregame on Saturday, where Rogers got a close-up look at the way Canada runs his meeting room.
“It gave me a lot of confidence in him,” Rogers said of LSU’s offensive coordinator. “You find out a lot about a coach in the quarterback meetings with him. It wasn’t about football. He told me that by Friday, he can’t coach or tell players much, so they were talking about Thanksgiving, what they did with their families. It was like talking to your older brother, not your coach. They let me see the family environment and I asked them questions. We were laughing and joking and it was very interesting to see them like that.”
The laid-back environment in Canada’s meeting room helped LSU senior quarterback Danny Etling throw for a career-high 347 yards and 3 touchdowns in the 45-21 rout of Texas A&M.
The record-book performance certainly opened Rogers’ eyes to the changes he has heard so much about in Baton Rouge. More importantly, Canada stayed true to his word for his offensive philosophy, which he has been selling the 4-star quarterback on for nearly a year.
“I couldn’t have picked a better game where Danny threw for over 300 yards,” Rogers said. “The best thing Coach Canada said was that he respected I was committed, but he wasn’t going to sell me on throwing the ball 100 times a game. He kept it real the whole weekend. You can tell everything he was saying was the truth. He wasn’t lying.
“The best thing I saw from him — and my family saw — was that he tells the truth. I saw that they can throw the ball and they will throw the ball. For [Etling] to throw for almost 400 yards, he’s a senior that bounced around and learned three different offenses. It shows his offense is easy to learn and guys like it and they were executing it well. Throughout the weekend, everything he [Canada] said, he kept it real and that was the most important thing to me.”
Justin Rogers has newfound confidence in LSU
LSU remains optimistic about its chances with the state’s top quarterback.
Members of the staff will go in-home with Rogers on Wednesday as the early signing period approaches. Rogers’ next official visit will be to TCU on Dec. 15 before he signs his letter of intent on Dec. 22.
Expect the coaches to continue pushing their same message to the TCU commit — that he’s the missing piece of a championship-caliber team. Rogers has taken that in stride and will keep his eye on the Tigers over the next month before finalizing any decision.
“They let me know that they’re building a championship program there,” he said. “They’re close. They told me I have the respect of everyone throughout the state and what it would be mean if I committed, how recruiting would flourish after that. As a quarterback, you’ve got to take all of that like a leader. I told them I will look and pay attention leading into the bowl week. Sitting in on meetings with Coach Canada was a big help.”
Whether Rogers sticks with TCU or flips to LSU will be determined in the weeks leading up to the early signing period.
What we know is that this is not set in stone and the LSU coaches, most notably Canada, has Rogers considering both options.
“I’ll make a final decision for Dec. 22,” he said. “I’m the only one who has to live with that decision and I’m thinking about it.”
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