Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss 5-star tackle Kenyon Green‘s three-day stay in Baton Rouge, including his thoughts on first-year LSU offensive line coach James Cregg.
Kenyon Green celebrates 17th birthday at LSU
Even after de-committing from LSU three months ago, the nation’s No. 2-ranked tackle has kept the Tigers in the fray.
That was made evident by Kenyon Green and his entire family spending a three-day unofficial visit in Baton Rouge. Green, along with his parents and sister, took in LSU’s second spring practice session on Tuesday, toured campus on Wednesday and celebrated his 17th birthday on Thursday eating gumbo, fried fish and shrimp with the entire coaching staff looking out onto Tiger Stadium.
Green’s father, JR Green, made the plans to return to Baton Rouge weeks ago, but didn’t realize the dates would coincide with his son’s birthday.
“We had a little birthday dinner down there and the staff sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to him. Everything was professionally done,” JR Green said. “We had great food. We were able to see the field and see him dress out. I wanted him in that purple and gold, and it looked great. A beautiful birthday card was in the mail by the time we were coming back home.
“We made the plan to be down there before his birthday, but because we made a promise to Coach O [Ed Orgeron], we came and started a relationship with Coach [James] Cregg. Kenyon respects Coach O and the whole staff. We had a phenomenal time. My wife loved the school. I love the school and my daughter was loving it. It was a great experience to get down there and that was a driving factor.”
Much of Green’s first visit back to Baton Rouge centered around reconnecting with Orgeron and getting to better know Cregg, who replaced Jeff Grimes as the Tigers offensive line coach in December.
Orgeron has established himself as one of the most impactful coaches in Green’s recruitment, a theme that continued after this most recent trip.
“He’s a great coach,” JR Green said of Orgeron. “He’s A1, down to earth. He’s not going to blow smoke. He tells the absolute truth, not all the bells and whistles. Everyone tells you that sky is going to open and nothing will fall out for you, but he [Orgeron] was honest about everything and we had a great time with him.”
Green spent much of Tuesday walking around LSU’s practice field with his eyes fixated on Cregg, who was working primarily with the interior linemen. Cregg was loud and passionate as he worked with his position group.
This visit gave Cregg an opportunity to spend face-to-face time with the 2019 Under Armour All-American.
“He’s a phenomenal guy. He’s a real, top-shelf guy,” JR Green said. “He sat us down and talked to Kenyon and tried to build up a relationship with him. Being a young man, all he knew is Coach Orgeron and Coach Grimes. It felt like someone had stolen something from him when Grimes left. Coach Cregg is a very good guy and they’re building that relationship.”
Kenyon Green ‘still very much in love’ with LSU
The term “student-athlete” is of paramount importance as the Greens navigate the recruiting process. LSU took a major step forward in that department as the family toured the university’s engineering department.
While Green enjoyed seeing the team practice and celebrating his birthday with a view of Tiger Stadium, the highlight was a conversation with LSU’s head of engineering and receiving added insight into a future in that field.
“LSU is a prestigious school, and when I say he [Kenyon] had a wonderful time … the high point of the whole visit and what impressed Kenyon the most was going to the engineering department. It was out of this world,” JR Green explained. “As a dad, it made me feel real warm and fuzzy inside. They were so interested in knowing what he wants to major in. Taking out the aspect of always football, it really showed us a different side of LSU. Not all schools do it like that.”
Green informed the head of engineering he planned to major in civil engineering, but then got a firsthand look at the other forms of engineering as well. By the time the Greens left LSU and returned home to Humble, Texas, the 6-foot-5, 317-pound tackle had a whole new take on the subject.
“They found out Kenyon wanted to be civil engineer. When we sat down with the head of engineering, they explain to Kenyon the different forms of engineering … civil, mechanical, construction management,” JR Green recalled. “We know the football part. We know LSU is a powerhouse. He was so high-strung on LSU when he first got the offer and it’s still one of his top schools. He’s still very much in love with it. He never fell out of love, but he has to make right decision to benefit himself in the long run.”
The emphasis on academics was a major point of discussion when Green met with Orgeron 1-on-1.
With a handful of LSU’s current offensive linemen eligible for the NFL draft next year, Green understands that he can compete for playing time right away. With the engineering degree in mind, Orgeron also pushed the notion that he could achieve much more than just a starting role.
“I loved Coach O in The Blind Side and he told Kenyon he wanted to make another one,” JR Green laughed. “Kenyon is that kid, but he has the backing. He’s a got a mom and dad and mama and papa, cousins, aunts, nieces. He’s got all that. Coach O said by him having that, he’s well-rounded. With the grades, Coach O said to imagine coming in here, being a stud football player and a Rhodes Scholar. Looking into the future, he said: ‘You’re going to make it. You got that ambition.'”
Kenyon Green’s take on James Cregg
Green, who ranks as the top overall prospect from the Lone Star State, was focused on forming a bond with Cregg before leaving Baton Rouge. Consider that a success.
Cregg, who has coached current NFL linemen such as Tyron Smith and Matt Kalil, has brought that same demeanor to his new position at LSU. That caught Green’s attention in a convincing way.
“It went great,” Kenyon Green told SEC Country. “I had a chance to get to know Coach Cregg and get a better feel for him. I was impressed by the way he coaches and how he interacted with his players. It’s the same stuff that he was dong when he was coaching in the NFL.”
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