It’s fair to say that Redemptorist High Schools’s Russell Gage has been an LSU football fan for half of his life.
On Wednesday, Gage did something most 18-year-old Tigers fans can only dream about: He committed to LSU.
“This is something I dreamed about and prayed about for a while now,” Gage said. “I knew LSU was where I wanted to go, so I waited for an offer. Once I got it, there was no question about what I’d do.
“It really is a dream come true for me. I guess I started following LSU when I was 9. I’ve always wanted to wear the purple and gold and run out of the tunnel for a game. It can’t get any better than that.”
The 6-foot, 174-pound Gage, who is projected as a cornerback, visited LSU last weekend, just before the commitment. Gage, who canceled a planned visit to TCU, listed TCU, Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette as his other finalists.
“I’m so proud of him … he really deserves it,” Redemptorist coach Terence Williams said. “He works so hard and he was a great leader for us last year. LSU made him feel like he fits with this class.”
As a senior, Gage played quarterback, running back, wide receiver and defensive back, along with returning punts for the Class 2A Wolves. He was a first-team All-District 6-2A choice on both offense and defense.
Gage passed for 740 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for 1,018 yards on 176 carries and scored 14 TDs to go along with 11 catches for 127 yards.
Two linemen, University High offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield and Plaquemine defensive lineman Davon Godchaux, are the Tigers’ only other projected 2014 signees from the Baton Rouge area. Gage, the Tigers’ 19th commitment, is one of five defensive backs pledged for the 2014 class.
The NCAA allows schools to sign 25 players. LSU sits at No. 4 in the 24/7 Sports composite team ranking, which combines the ratings of recruiting services.
Gage said he has already met the NCAA’s academic requirements and plans a mass communications major. He is the cousin of former Redemptorist and Zachary wide receiver Donald Gage, who is a now a freshman at the University of Houston.
Gage follows in the footsteps of two former Redemptorist stars, running back Jeremy Hill and offensive lineman La’el Collins. Hill recently declared for the NFL draft, but Collins is set to return to the Tigers for his senior season.
There’s a bit of history for Williams, who coached two former LSU players in high school, Michael Clayton (Christian Life) and Michael Ford (Leesville).
“Along with being a great (Southeastern Conference team), LSU has a reputation for producing DBs who go on to play at the next level,” Gage said.
“One of my goals is to get the chance to play in the NFL someday. So there really isn’t a better place I can be.”