Montgomery, a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder with reported 4.65 speed, had a midweek official visit planned for Oregon this week, but that trip was canceled once he returned home from his official visit to LSU.
The nation’s seventh ranked defensive end has been unavailable for comment regarding his trip down to the bayou, but former Greenwood head coach Shell Dula, who coached Montgomery this past season before accepting a job as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Coaches Association, gave a little insight into the LSU visit along with where things currently stand.
“I spoke to Sam yesterday (Tuesday) and he had a very good visit down to LSU,” Dula said. “He said he enjoyed it very much, and really enjoyed meeting with the coaches and players. He said that LSU was a beautiful setting for college football and I think he had a heck of a visit there.”
One of the main initiatives for Montgomery and his mother on their visit to LSU was to get to know new defensive line coach Brick Haley a little more since he took over for Earl Lane, who has moved to an administrative position with the football program.
Lane had developed a strong bond with the four-star end and even went as far as to introduce Haley to Montgomery once he had taken over.
“Coach Lane handled that in a very, very professional way and he even came up here and introduced Sam to the new defensive line coach (Brick Haley),” Dula said. “Sam enjoyed meeting him (Haley) and really appreciated the way that coach Lane handled everything and made it a nice transition. I’ve always felt that LSU was one of the schools that he really, really liked and I think he still does based on the way that was handled.”
Anytime a position coach moves into a new role such as the case was with Lane there is some work that the new coaches must do. Fortunately for LSU, new defensive coordinator John Chavis has some ties to the Palmetto State that with the assistance of Lane has made it a seamless transition according to Dula.
“I know Sam really liked coach Lane, but I tried to convey to him that coach Chavis is from South Carolina (Dillon) and is a very, very good person,” Dula said. “Sam has not told me that was a factor, but I just know he really liked coach Lane a lot. But again, Sam has not told me that it was a factor.”
This week has been a busy week for Montgomery and the rest of the Greenwood coaches as schools were lining up to make one final sales pitch.
Dula said that LSU was in on Monday as well as several other schools including South Carolina and Tennessee.
The clock is ticking as decision time draws nearer for Montgomery, but Dula feels that he isn’t too close to coming up with a decision on where he will spend the next four or five years of his life.
“I think after some visits there are probably a couple that he’s not as interested in as others, but I have no reason to think that he’s not still interested in LSU,” said Dula. “I think he’s still very interested in South Carolina, North Carolina and LSU. He’s going to Tennessee this weekend and then I think he still has some interest in Clemson.
“I think those would be the five. I know he visited Michigan but I’m not sure what his thinking is there. With those five schools I’m not sure how they would rank in particular order but those seem to be the main ones.”
With the two major in-state universities making their case to keep Montgomery from going too far from home, Dula thinks that distance may come into play but not as much as some have predicted.
“I know he did cancel the visit to Oregon which I think is way too far for him to go, but I’m not so sure that LSU is too far,” Dula said. “I think if someone is going to college to play football and that’s the last level they play at then there’s a lot to be said about staying in state. I think there you can set up so many contacts for business and opportunities after college.
“But with someone who has Sam’s God-given talent and his desire to play at that next level I don’t think it is nearly as important. With a case like Sam’s, I think he needs to go to a place where he can be the happiest he can be.”
Dula acknowledged that the local community would like to see his star defender stay close to home, but when it comes to his family that does not seem to be an issue, at least to his knowledge.
“His mother made the statement that wherever he goes she is going to be there,” Dula said. “To me, I don’t think she has set any parameters there.”
College coaches and fans from several schools hope to get some good news on Montgomery soon, but as of now they will likely have to wait until he announces his decision on signing day.
As to what that decision will be though, that remains a mystery to those who are close to the situation.
“We’ve talked about not doing it until Wednesday because I think that would be great exposure for the rest of our kids,” Dula said. “There will be a lot of TV and that will only help the younger kids coming up. I’m totally encouraging him to make that decision on Wednesday, but what decision it will be remains a mystery to even me.”