Ed Orgeron has an idea for which 5-star RB he wants to wear No. 7

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting , with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss the nation’s top-ranked running back in the Class of 2019, Noah Cain, who originally hails from Baton Rouge, La. His respect for the 225 and his hometown is part of the reason why LSU is front and center at this juncture in his recruitment.

Noah Cain in awe over the possibility of wearing No. 7

VENICE, Fla. — Noah Cain has the 225 in his blood.

His recruitment began to take off when he set Texas by storm as a freshman leading the Lone Star State in rushing. Midway through his junior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., he’s ranked, fittingly, as the No. 1 running back in the Class of 2019.

It’s now public knowledge that Cain originally hails from Baton Rouge. He remained in the city through middle school before relocating to Texas, but now boasts a unique relationship with his hometown that is front and center because of his recruitment.

Cain is the No. 1 offensive target for LSU in the Class of 2019. That’s what the Tigers’ coaching staff told the 5-star tailback when they were first permitted to make contact with the junior prospect on Sept. 1. Cain received a text message from none other than coach Ed Orgeron, but also heard from multiple members of the coaching staff. Their messages echoed that of the head man.

“The day of, I got a text from Coach O telling me that I’m the top running back on the board,” Cain told SEC Country. “I know they got [Tyrion] Davis on board, the dude from Southern Lab, but they’re trying to go in-state and out-of-state to compete for that national championship.

“From the time I was 5 years old until the day I was offered by LSU, it’s been a blessing. I remember watching Jeremy Hill, Eric Reid, Tyrann Mathieu, and now, I can be in their position one day. It’s special to hear from Coach O about  how badly they want me. I’ve heard from Coach [Matt] Canada, Coach [Tommie] Robinson, Austin [Thomas] and [Derrius] Guice from time to time. Their recruiting pitch for me is awesome.”

Five-star running back Noah Cain currently wears No. 22 for IMG Academy. Could his next jersey number be No. 7 at LSU? (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

That’s because LSU’s push for the 5-foot-11, 200-pound running back is far from the norm.

When Cain last visited campus in July, the Tigers’ recruiting staff had the 5-star prospect don the storied No. 7 jersey. That certainly caught him off-guard at the time, but it’s also had him considering whether his college decision will intertwine with being a lifelong LSU fan.

Only certain LSU recruits over the years have entertained the discussion of wearing No. 7 for this team. There was Leonard Fournette, who had the chance to do so as a freshman. Both Louisiana natives Dylan Moses and JaCoby Stevens were offered that responsibility as well, but Moses committed to Alabama after Les Miles was fired. Stevens remains a player to watch to inherit for the coveted jersey number moving forward.

Beyond that, it’s Cain who could be next in line.

“I get emotional every time I hear about it,” Cain admitted. “From Patrick Peterson to Tyrann to Leonard Fournette, for me to wear No. 7 in Tiger Stadium and have my family watch me every game, that’s an awesome feeling to have. I need to see how they recruit me — because you never know what can happen — but I think about putting on that number for LSU. It holds a lot of weight to wear that number and for them to think of me and putting me on that board to wear the number, it shows how much they want me. It shows how much they respect me to know how badly I want to wear it. For the whole staff to tell me I can wear the No. 7 to come here, that’s a big number to hold. I got a lot of respect for what goes into that number, so for telling me that, it means a lot.”

For now, Cain is sitting back and letting college coaches come to him. After all, he has always had a concrete plan on when he’ll make a commitment — in December 2018 — after he takes all five of his official visits and enrolls early.

That’s carefully calculated. Cain and his family are examining coaching staffs, depth charts and communication with each team from Sept. 1 through decision day.

The major players to know: LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan and Florida State. All are essentially on an even plane, for now, because like his recruitment things can quickly change.

What will be the biggest factor in Cain’s decision 14 months from now? The push from  one of those coaching staffs. He added that thus far, the Tigers’ staff is on the right path.

“Whoever wants me more, that’s when I’m going to make my decision,” Cain said. “Especially because I’m from Baton Rouge, I want to wear the No. 7 for them [LSU] and them talking to me every day is helping me to see how badly they want me.”

Why ‘dynamic’ resonates with Noah Cain

Cain is the No. 1 running back in the 2019 class and No. 12 overall prospect. As expected, there are a bevy of adjectives you could use to describe his game.

After SEC Country took in Cain’s performance under the lights at Venice (Fla.) High School last Friday, words such as “tough” and “electric” and “bruising” all seem fitting.

Ask LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada what word he’d use to describe Cain, he’d tell you “dynamic.” That was a part of Canada’s inaugural pitch to the 5-star tailback when he was able to contact Cain at the beginning of September. Mixed in were some hometown sentiments and a desire to capture national titles, but Cain could not ignore the offensive coordinator’s word choice for his skill set.

“He says I’m a dynamic back,” Cain said of his conversation with Canada. “That’s a special word. Dynamic means I won’t come off the field, and I need to be ready for anything. Pass protection, going in the slot, catching the ball. Running the ball is my specialty, but I’d be an all-around back, and to be a dynamic back in that offense would be special.”

How would LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada describe Noah Cain? “Dynamic” was the word. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

Canada was among the handful of LSU coaches to touch base with Cain last month. So was Robinson, the Tigers’ running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, who is trying to find chess pieces in the backfield to eventually replace Guice and Darrel Williams after the 2017 season.

Robinson is well aware that Cain is originally from the 225 and that his father still lives right outside the city. He’s using a homecoming as a way to try and bring Cain back to The Boot next December.

“He told me how bad he wants me,” Cain explained. “He wants [me] to come on home and put on for my city and for the state of Louisiana. LSU needs a national championship. I really want them to keep recruiting me and see how this relationship goes and see how they do in the future.”

For the moment, Cain is gauging which coaching staffs are making him a priority in their 2019 recruiting classes. Thus far, LSU deserves a check in that department.

But how are the Tigers distinguishing themselves from the pack?

Well, as Dorothy famously put it, there’s no place like home, which means  that much more to Cain. It dates to his early football career when Cain didn’t have 5 stars beside his name. His motivation was one day receiving an offer from LSU.

Fast forward to today, Cain looks up to Guice, who like him is from Baton Rouge and is the centerpiece of the Tigers’ offense. When Guice carries the ball, he’s putting The Boot on his back. That’s an idea Cain has entertained for much of his life.

“You know, I FaceTime with Guice. He’s my favorite running back in college football. I know Saquon Barkley, but I’m biased. I’m from The Boot,” Cain smiled.

“Every day, when I go on Twitter, I see those dudes go out and compete. It’s special. In my talks with Coach O and Coach T-Rob, they talk about all the good food out there. Because I didn’t go to high school there [in Baton Rouge], it would mean a lot to come back to my state, put on for my state and for my family to see me every game. That would be special.

“Man, it would mean a lot of hard work and countless hours … when I was young, I was never the best back. I just kept my head down because there were dudes bigger, faster than me. I stayed on my grades, kept working hard and grinded for it all. My mama told me when I was younger that I needed to work out if I wanted that LSU offer. That motivated me. Even if I don’t go there [to LSU], it will always have a special place in my heart.”

An LSU fan at heart

Admittedly, it was Fournette’s decision to commit to the Tigers that sparked Cain’s interest in the LSU football team. But he was a fan  way before that.

Growing up, Cain would sit in front of the TV on Saturdays wearing a No. 17 Morris Claiborne jersey. As his comments earlier show, he is fully aware of the greats who have played in Death Valley, whether they were running backs, defensive backs or whatever.

Cain’s childhood centered around his affinity for his LSU jersey. He started to pay further attention when BUGA Nation arrived in Baton Rouge, which impacted him not only as a Tigers fan but as a future blue-chip running back.

Noah Cain is a lifelong LSU fan, but started to pay closer attention after Leonard Fournette committed to the Tigers. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

“When I was younger, I wore that LSU jersey and watched every game. It’s one of those things that I get emotional about it,” Cain said. “I didn’t start to get into football until eighth grade. I had heard that Leonard Fournette, the top back out of New Orleans, was going to LSU and I started watching him, studying him. His freshman year, I studied his craft and tried to implement it into my game and be like him. I wanted to play like him with that same mentality and attitude.”

Now, Orgeron is courting Cain to be the next great LSU running back.

There was Hill, then Fournette, and now, Guice. As far as who is next remains a question mark. Nonetheless, it has obviously garnered a certain Baton Rouge native’s attention.

“To come in and be next on LSU’s running back board with Guice, Fournette and Hill,” he said, “that would be special.”

Cain wears his LSU fandom on his sleeve. His appreciation for the backs at LSU is even more glaring.

As much as the 5-star prospect has implemented aspects of Fournette’s and Guice’s running styles into his own repertoire, he’s also taken notice of the way they carry themselves off the field. Cain sees Fournette and Guice as leaders, as respectful young men but also great running backs.

If the Tigers continue to push hard enough, Cain may be the next in line to encompass all of those traits.

“I look up to those dudes,” he said. “Leonard is a great dude off the field. He’s carried himself like a professional since his college days. I think about [going to LSU] all the time. Those are big shoes to fill, but I’m not afraid to do it. I know how hard I need to work. My parents raised me to be a hard worker. To come in behind Guice and be a back at LSU would be special. To fill those shoes, no doubt, I can [with] complete confidence. To be a leader on the team as a true freshman, I see [Grant] Delpit and some other freshmen doing it and playing a lot.”

Noah Cain highlights

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here .

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