Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting , with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss LSU’s longtime athlete commit, Tae Provens, who is giving a new meaning to the term “commitment.” What exactly does that entail?
Tae Provens redefines what commitment to LSU means
SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — Tae Provens is an anomaly in modern-day recruiting.
Provens, a 3-star athlete from Alabama, gave a surprise commitment to LSU at the end of June, when it began to lay the foundation for the 2018 recruiting class. The versatile Provens will fill a need in the backfield and also provide a new weapon for offensive coordinator Matt Canada to use in the jet sweep and passing games.
Five months later, Provens’ commitment to the Tigers remains equally as it strong as it was on the day he made up his mind. After all, it’s hard to describe Provens as a prospect without using the terms explosive, versatile and of course, loyal.
“I’m still 110-percent solid with them. Nothing has changed with them at all,” Provens told SEC Country after rushing for 137 yards and scoring on a 7-yard touchdown run last Friday night.
“You know, any school you commit to, it’s about loyalty. If there’s no loyalty, what’s the point of committing to them if you’re not going to be loyal or have second thoughts?”
In the current age of recruiting, Provens’ loyalty is an aberration but comes naturally to the 6-foot, 180-pound prospect.
His words are justified by his actions, too.
Provens, who is set to graduate from Madison County (Ala.) High School in December and enroll at LSU in January, will take just one official visit after his senior season. He’ll make his way back to Baton Rouge for the second time this fall on Dec. 8.
“I’m only taking one … to LSU,” Provens said. “I mean, what’s the point of taking more than one if you’re committed to one school?”
Breaking down Tae Provens’ summer decision
Provens named a final three of LSU, Auburn and Tennessee last June and declared Aug. 11 as his targeted decision date. Public opinion had Auburn and Tennessee as the most likely destinations.
None of that went according to the script.
On June 24, Provens made the surprise decision to announce his commitment to LSU, the school many felt was the dark horse among his finalists. From the outside, Provens understands, but he explains how his recruiting process actually went down.
“A lot of people said that,” he laughed. “Coach T-Rob [running backs coach Tommie Robinson] told me no matter where he’s at, he was going to get me. ‘If I go to the Cleveland Browns, I’ll pick you up.’ Of course, California was too far for me to go and I couldn’t be that far away from home. I had already liked LSU with Coach O [Ed Orgeron] being there and [former Tigers assistant Jabbar] Juluke. Coach Juluke would always FaceTime me and put Coach O on the phone, so whenever Coach T-Rob went there, it made it even easier. That’s where I wanted to go.”
“I wanted to show them I was for real,” Provens added. “I didn’t see the point in waiting anymore.”
Since then, the Auburns and Tennessees of the world have not allowed Alabama’s No. 22-ranked prospect to end his recruitment with a rival SEC school.
Provens admits that he remains in touch with some college coaches, but it’s not about flipping or making visits to their schools. Those coaches understand how firm Provens is in his commitment and that he’s continuing to honor the relationships he’s developed throughout the process.
“They’ve been trying, but they’re not really trying,” Provens explained, offering no comment when asked about which schools he continues to communicate with. “With the type of guy that I am and the type of coaches that they are, we just bond, so talking on the daily is kind of like talking to my uncle. It’s just talking and looking out for me down the line.”
Fulfilling multiple roles in the LSU offense
Provens is currently one part of the equation for replacing LSU’s leading rushers in 2018. An early enrollee, Provens will get first crack at earning a handful of roles in Canada’s offense, including in the running game, with jet sweeps and in the short-passing attack.
The versatile Alabama athlete has seen a large sample size of the creative ways Canada uses Derrius Guice, particularly how to get No. 5 the rock using shifts and motions and lining him up all over different formations. Expect a similar role for Provens.
“They said they’d like to use me at running back, but also how they move Derrius out in the slot and use him on jet sweeps. They want to use me the same way on a lot of those same things,” he explained. “It’s definitely big shoes to fill with Jeremy [Hill], Leonard Fournette, Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams. Those are big shoes to fill, but hopefully, I can fulfill those shoes and have the same success that they had there and, you know, be great like those guys.”
Provens got an even closer look at the LSU offense last month when he made a visit for LSU’s comeback victory over Auburn. While the 3-star back arrived late, he saw the second-half surge, then spent time with Robinson, Guice and Orgeron after the contest.
With graduation merely weeks away and less than two months before he arrives on campus, much of Provens’ conversations with the LSU staff center around preparing for spring football. At this point, it’s more about anticipation and hard work than anything else.
“It was amazing. After the game, he [Orgeron] gave me a huge hug and he was pumped. I’m ready to see that excitement out of him when we win games,” Provens said of his recent stop at LSU. “Right now, I’m just looking forward to my games here and then looking forward to spring ball, getting in the weight plan and getting ready for next season. They told me if I come in ready to work hard, then anything is possible. I just keep that in the back of my head and keep working.”
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