Friday, April 4, 2014
Get to know Keisean Lucier-South
By Erik McKinney
Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.
Unlike a number of ESPN Junior 300 prospects, Keisean Lucier-South didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a football star. In fact, he had to be convinced that it was the best path for him.
Lucier-South began playing sports at an early age, but it was always basketball that grabbed the majority of his attention and passion. It became his primary sport when he was 5 years old, and even though he picked up football only a few years later, the gridiron couldn't captivate his imagination quite like the court.
But a conversation before his sophomore season between his head coach and defensive coordinator -- a conversation he wasn't initially involved in -- turned things around for Lucier-South.
Keisean Lucier-South's decision to focus primarily on football has paid dividends for the ESPN Junior 300 DE.
"The story [my head coach] told me about the defensive coordinator is that he said, 'Once Keisean figures out that he's a football player, he's going to be a national recruit,'" Lucier-South said.
Lucier-South said he had a tough time believing his coaches initially, but he soon found out what they meant.
That season, Lucier-South recorded 11 sacks in the Trinity League -- arguably California's top high school football conference, making it one of the toughest in the country. Lucier-South backed up that showing with a solid performance at the 2013 Nike Football Training Camp, and college coaches were convinced. Lucier-South is now the No. 9 defensive end in the country, a top-10 recruit in California and the No. 65 prospect in the nation.
The 6-foot-5, 218-pound defensive end quickly became one of California's top prospects and has reeled in offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas, UCLA and USC.
He still plays basketball for Orange (Calif.) Lutheran, but said he'd likely take a break from it this summer as he concentrates on visiting schools and doing research to help him through the recruiting process.
"Now, football is my primary sport," Lucier-South said.
It's unlikely he'll find any opposition to that statement. He said he hasn't experienced anything approaching a lull in the recruiting process, as mail continues to flood in. He's preparing for April 15, when coaches are allowed one phone call to junior prospects.
It's a hassle he knew could be on the horizon when he heeded his coach's advice. It's also one that might not have been possible without his early dedication to basketball.
"Basketball helps me so much [with football]," Lucier-South said. "Especially with conditioning. I don't get tired as much and didn't need to be taken out at all in a lot of games last year. And with my footwork and agility, because in basketball you have to shuffle around a lot, it helps me slide down the line and with my pass rush."
About his recruitment: It's still fairly early in the process for Lucier-South, who said he's likely to wait until signing day to make a commitment. He'll take all five official visits this fall and could be on the road this summer, with possible unofficial visits to several Pac-12 programs, as well as Texas. Lucier-South grew up a big Michigan fan and claimed that as his "dream offer," though the local programs, UCLA and USC, won't let the defensive end out of the state without a fight.
Scouting profile:STRENGTHS: Demonstrates a very good long speed burst in the open field to close and create havoc. Displays good upper and lower body playing strength. Flashes excellent redirect ability considering his size. Does a nice job weaving his way through traffic. A productive run stopper and productive speed rusher versus the pass. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Will benefit by more time in the weight room to add overall strength. He's not overpowering at this stage. Lacks a bit of bulk to square up and drive through tackles or hold base at the point. ... BOTTOM LINE: Lucier-South needs to add bulk and strength to his lengthy frame but we like his ceiling for development. Displays good athleticism and tools that should develop over time into a well-rounded college DE. -- ESPN RecruitingNation
Handicapping the race: While Lucier-South didn't commit to his dream school the moment Michigan extended the offer, it still means something to him, and the Wolverines have to like where they are in this race even before he has stepped on campus for a visit. UCLA and USC will be schools to watch here, with the winner of the rivalry game possibly pushing in front of the other. A number of SEC schools could find their way into the mix as well, and it will be important to keep an eye on the schools to which Lucier-South sets official visits. Alabama, Florida, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas are just a few of the big-name programs to extend offers thus far.