Jeryl Brazil keeps 'em watching
All eyes were on the LSU commit during his UA Game jersey presentation
LORANGER, La. -- There was bound to be a flashy presentation for a player as flashy as Jeryl Brazil.
Brazil, LSU's highest-ranked commit as the No. 59 overall prospect in the ESPN 150 and the No. 8 cornerback in the country, received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Friday afternoon when the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game rolled through Loranger, La.
As if the presentation ceremony wasn't enough, Brazil picked up his jersey at the front end of his Wolves' pep rally for district rival Bogalusa (La.) High School, which comes to town Friday night. Brazil is famous around Louisiana for dropping jaws with his blistering speed, but this time it was his turn to be stupefied.
"Just the challenge of playing against the best athletes there is in high school -- it's an honor to be considered," Brazil said.
But this type of attention should be old hat for Brazil. The 5-foot-10, 184-pound speedster dealt with it earlier than most when he committed to LSU in July of 2011, and he has maintained it with a series of eye-popping performances -- such as his 4.32 40-yard dash at The Opening in July.
Brazil has even had his brushes with the negative aspects of publicity, such as his brief decommitment from LSU and subsequent recommitment in January.
"I've been committed for a long time, so the process seems kind of slow because it's been a while," he said. "But it's finally getting toward that time where I'm almost to the next step, so it's fun."
It's all been a learning process for a guy currently leading a hopeful championship push as the quarterback of 5-0 Loranger. Brazil still hopes to take all five of his official visits -- to LSU, Alabama, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Houston -- if he can find the time. By the time he's played the Under Armour All-America Game and signed his letter of intent, Brazil's recruitment will have been in the public eye for 18 months.
"At the beginning it was overwhelming to him, because he was like 'Why is everybody staring at me? Why are people approaching me?'" said Brazil's mother, Pam. "But he's become more comfortable -- he's more humble -- and I see in him a maturity level."
"He's handled it really well," added Loranger coach Sam Messina. "He's grown up a lot over the course of four years. Everybody likes attention, and he's had his share of it & but he hasn't let it take him outside the box. He's used it to fuel his drive to be successful."
Even still, Brazil made his acceptance speech as brief as possible, all while laughing shyly at the cheers of his classmates. If that wasn't enough, the same player who is used to bewildering defenses was bewildered himself when his girlfriend closed the ceremony by asking him to a Sadie Hawkins dance in front of the student body.
"I think it was awesome, and it just put the icing on the cake for today," said Pam Brazil.
With all of that out of the way, Jeryl can get back to playing football -- which is a treat in its own right. Conventional wisdom projects Brazil as a cornerback, but after watching him handle the Wolves' offense, it seems almost criminal to take the ball out of Brazil's hands. As a junior track star he broke the Louisiana state record in the 55 meters in 6.25 seconds -- the same one that once belonged to former LSU speed demon Trindon Holliday.
"I can't even describe it -- just to see him play," Pam Brazil said. "Sometimes I'm petrified because he's so fast, and I've seen him on several occasions just jump over fences because he can't stop & to watch him throughout the years has just been breathtaking."
That playmaking ability is a big part of Loranger's success at the halfway point of Brazil's senior season, and it will be sure to stand out when he gets to the game in St. Petersburg, Fla. He accounted for 300 all-purpose yards and all four touchdowns in the Wolves' 26-21 win against Baton Rouge (La.) LSU Laboratory School and its fellow Under Armour All-American Tim Williams back in September.
"He's an explosive athlete -- with the ball in his hands he's got a chance to score from anywhere on the field," said Messina. "But that's a decision that'll have to be made when they get him in college."
For LSU, as well as everyone watching at home, that should be a fun decision to see.