OXFORD, Miss. -- Oxford, Miss., quarterback Jeremy Liggins followed script Monday night. As expected, he chose LSU over Ole Miss, spurning the hometown school for an SEC rival.
Liggins, of Lafayette County High School, announced his commitment to LSU on a local radio station at Irie restaurant on The Square in Oxford. He had five helmets on the table for the announcement: LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn and Alabama.
When prompted, he stood from his seat at the front of a packed room, reached for the LSU hat and said simply, “Go Tigers.” Some 50 members of his family erupted in applause. The remainder of the crowd stood with collective apathy.
|Liggins was a dual-threat QB in high school and his 270-pound frame makes him unique.|
“I just felt like I made a great decision,” Liggins said to reporters afterwards. “I believe in LSU football, the coaching staff and the players. I felt like I was wanted there. I wanted to go to a program that was going to help me win and get to the next level.”
There was no drama here. LSU was the school Liggins was going to choose, as had been widely reported Sunday. Still, that didn’t stop an eager crowd from gathering outside, watching through the restaurant window as Liggins detailed his reasoning for choosing the Tigers.
“I really wasn’t sure until about a week ago,” Liggins said. “There was something deep down inside my heart telling me that LSU was where I belong, and that’s what I went with. That’s what I felt. It’s just what I felt inside.”
But a few days ago, Liggins, rated a three-star recruit by Scout.com, was reportedly leaning towards committing to Ole Miss. A local Ole Miss affiliated website reported Liggins eliminated LSU last week. Liggins was even quoted as saying he wanted to win for his state.
Almost a week later, he was walking the floors of Irie, in the heart of the Oxford Square, with an LSU hat atop his head and Mardi Gras beads around his neck.
“I don’t know where that came from,” he said, dismissing the report. But then he followed minutes later. “(LSU) might have been out of the race Tuesday but they’re in the race now. Go Tigers.”
Liggins said his final three included LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Ole Miss, he said, finished second. He decided on those three because each school offered him the opportunity to play quarterback.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Liggins is rated the No. 19 quarterback in the country by Scout.com. Among his other offers were Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee and USC.
|Liggins said LSU coach Les Miles' commitment to him playing quarterback was a big factor in his decision.|
“I’m strictly a quarterback,” Liggins said. “With all the camps that I’ve been to, (LSU head coach Les Miles) kept me at quarterback. He never moved me to another position. That let me know that I could be his quarterback, because he liked what he saw.”
Liggins informed Miles of his decision Sunday. He praised the staffs of Ole Miss and Mississippi State. But he’s 100 percent Tiger now. There won’t be any signing-day drama.
“It was close, you know? It’s over. Go Tigers,” Liggins said.
Liggins is the only quarterback committed to LSU, after highly-rated prospect Gunner Kiel switched from LSU to Notre Dame earlier this month.
Liggins said he didn’t feel much pressure to commit to his hometown school and never wavered from making the public announcement in the heart of Ole Miss country.
“It wasn’t really as hard as people made it out to be,” Liggins said. “I felt like I had to be respected, too. This is my hometown, not just Ole Miss. I grew up here. I wasn’t just doing it to go against Ole Miss. I was doing it for my hometown.”
Liggins led Lafayette to a perfect record and state championship this season. He finished his high school career with a 46-2 overall record. He finished the year with 1,678 passing yards and 16 passing touchdowns. He also rushed for 953 yards and 18 touchdowns.