June 16, 2013
LORANGER — Even the best recruiting efforts run into roadblocks.
The NCAA mandates quiet periods and dead periods throughout the recruiting season, times when coaches are limited or forbidden from talking to prospective players.
That’s when schools need an alternative plan.
That’s when they need a Jeryl Brazil.
For the top prospects, the endless sales pitches from college coaches can become numbing. They often long for a fellow recruit, a peer, to talk to them straight about a prospective school.
For LSU’s Class of 2013, Brazil, the 5-foot-10, 184-pound speedster out of Loranger, fits that description.
“I just tell them the truth,” Brazil said.
“I just tell them my perspective, and hopefully they can see how I visualize LSU. I don’t pressure anyone, but I tell them how I see how things are there, and it might change their minds.”
Recruiting experts like Shea Dixon of 24/7 Sports say Brazil has definitely had an impact on LSU’s recruiting class. He said Brazil helped the Tigers pull in Frank Herron, a highly recruited and much needed defensive end from Memphis, Tenn., after befriending him during a camp in Herron’s hometown.
Brazil was arguably a bigger influence on Destrehan wide receiver prospect Rickey Jefferson than Jefferson’s older brother (former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson) as well.
Herron and Jefferson weren’t Brazil’s only top targets.
Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 prospect, who was set to choose early Wednesday morning between LSU and Ole Miss?
“I talked to him” Friday, Brazil said.
Duke Riley, the John Curtis linebacker and a late addition to LSU’s class?
“That’s my dude, there,” Brazil said, a broad smile breaking across his face. “I talked to him the other day.”
Dixon said Russell Shepard, LSU’s top recruit back in the heralded class of 2009, was one of the first to do what Brazil has been doing this recruiting season.
“They enjoy carrying the torch,” Dixon said. “An elite team having an elite recruit trying to help put together a class with a grass roots effort coaches can’t make.”
Mike Scarborough, publisher of Rivals website Tigerbait.com, said he sees a lot of parallels between Brazil and Shepard as well.
“He’s without a doubt that guy,” Scarborough said. “Very personable, active on Facebook and Twitter. At the Under Armour (All-American) Game, he was talking to other prospects. When they had a big recruiting weekend, you’d get the feeling he was one of the ringleaders and the guy in the room they were talking to the most.”
ESPN senior recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill said every school needs a Brazil in its class — or would love to have one.
“I think it’s critical,” Luginbill said. “It’s an opportunity for the coaching staff to have almost an extra limb out there.
“It’s also a more objective viewpoint. If a prospective student-athlete looks at him and says, ‘Wow, this is how he feels, he has other choices but he chose LSU,’ that can really pay big dividends.”
Brazil committed to LSU in July 2011, the first pledge to the Tigers’ 2013 class.
He briefly pulled back on his commitment that year, and there were times recently when it appeared Ole Miss and Arkansas might persuade him to 11th-hour visits.
Though tempted, Brazil never took an official visit to another school.
“It’s a dream to see what’s out there,” he said. “I grew up around LSU all my life, so I never really saw anything outside of Louisiana. I wanted to see what it was like at Florida and Ole Miss and places like that. Not a lot of people are fortunate to have these opportunities.
“Now I have made my decision, I’m ready to finish strong.”
Brazil said he will send LSU his national letter of intent sometime Wednesday morning, with a signing ceremony set to take place at his school at noon.
That moment will be a historic one for Loranger, which
according to coach Sam Messina has never sent a football player to LSU.
“He’s grown a whole bunch over the four years here,” Messina said. “I’m very proud of what he’s worked to accomplish.”
Highly ranked by all four national recruiting services — No. 60 by ESPN, No. 143 by 24/7 Sports, No. 193 by Rivals and No. 194 by Scout — Brazil said the plan is for him to play corner and nickel back at LSU. But he also expects to see playing time as a punt and kick returner, and possibly on offense as well.
Clocked at 4.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 10.2 seconds in the 100 meters — he won the 2012 Class 3A state outdoor titles with times of 10.36 in the 100 and 20.81 in the 200 — Brazil expects to be a sprinter at LSU as well. He wore No. 2 at Loranger, where he played quarterback, but he said he hopes to wear No. 7 at LSU, as did former All-America cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
“I know it’s some big shoes to fill, but I’m willing to put the work in to get that number,” Brazil said.
Considering the work he’s put in to help LSU fill out its recruiting class, maybe he’s already earned it.