LSU football: In-state? 5-stars? RB? Why John Emery is Ed Orgeron's biggest recruiting win yet
DBU is trying to become RBU.
LSU is known as DBU because of its success rate in developing defensive backs for the NFL.
It hasn’t had quite the same success with running backs, but until this season it generally has had at least one ball carrier on its roster who was an NFL prospect.
The absence of such a running back looks like it will last for just one season now that 5-star John Emery of Destrehan (La.) High School has committed to LSU. Emery is ranked as the No. 2 running back prospect in the country by 247Sports.
— John Emery (@Emery4____) November 13, 2018
Former Tiger Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville) is one of the top running backs in the NFL and his former teammate Derrius Guice was expected to start as a rookie in Washington before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.
Darrel Williams, who backed up both Fournette and Guicce, made the Chiefs as a rookie and Alfred Blue (Texans), Stefan Ridley (Steelers), Spencer Ware (Chiefs) and Jeremy Hill (Patriots/IR) are all ex-Tigers that have had lengthy NFL careers.
But LSU’s leading rusher this season is senior Nick Brossette, who had seen virtually no playing time on offense while Fournette, Guice and Williams were around. To his credit, Brossette needs just 208 yards in the last two games to have a 1,000-yard season, but landing one or more of the best running backs in the country was coach Ed Orgeron’s top priority in recruiting. Even more so considering Emery is a coveted in-state star.
Nothing will be certain until players sign national letters of intent next month. After all, Emery had committed to Georgia before decommitting last month.
But if Emerey follows through on his commitment it will be the biggest recruiting win for Orgeron since becoming head coach four games into the 2016 season. Emery would be the first 5-star offensive player Orgeron has signed. He joins a 2019 class that includes 5-star CB Derek Stingley from Baton Rouge.
Emery attended LSU’s 36-16 victory against then-No. 2 Georgia on Oct. 13 in Tiger Stadium and shortly thereafter he withdrew his commitment.
Once Emery reopened his recruitment, Orgeron alluded to Emery, whose team is seeded second as it prepares to play in the second round of the playoffs in Louisiana’s highest division this weekend, without naming Emery, which would have been a violation of NCAA rules.
“I think LSU should get the best running back in the country, and that is what we are looking for,” Orgeron said, adding that the running back he had in mind was close to home.
Emery, 5-11, 206 pounds, would be the highest-ranked running back to join the Tigers since Fournette arrived as the No. 1 recruit in the country in 2014. He has run a 4.42 40 and has a 38-inch vertical leap and would be expected to contribute as a true freshman as Fournette did.
The commitment came via a tweet Tuesday night that read, “Proud to say I’m staying home. COMMITTED.” Attached to the tweet was a picture of Emery wearing an LSU uniform.
Adding Emery to an offense that will feature a senior quarterback in Joe Burrow, a young receiving corps and a relatively young line, all of whom should be more mature and productive, should create a 2019 offense that will be much improved from the inconsistent one the Tigers have had this year even though they are 8-2 and ranked No. 7.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has had some success sharing time with Brossette this season and the Tigers signed two running backs last season in Chris Curry and Tae Provens. Both Curry and Provens likely will red shirt this season.
Orgeron said Monday that he likely will not play Curry any more this season because he doesn’t want to lose the ability to redshirt him. Curry has played in four games, against Miami, Auburn, Ole Miss and Florida, the maximum allowable while maintaining the ability to red-shirt. He has eight carries for minus-2 yards.
“We plan on not playing Chris and redshirting him, unless we completely have to play him,” Orgeron said. “That’s not a final decision.”
LSU has a commitment from another top 10 running back in Tyrion Davis of Southern Lab in Baton Rouge and remains in the mix for another highly-regarded running back – IMG Academy’s Noah Cain.