T.K. Fleming might not be one of the early headliners for the Class of 2011 in Louisiana, but there is little doubt that the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is one of the best junior athletes in the state.
In February, he captured state titles in both the long jump and the triple jump. Already recruiting Fleming to LSU, the Tiger track staff started to turn up the heat, increasing contact and setting up visits to the campus.
The football staff did the same, inviting Fleming to the program’s second junior day, which was held on the same day as the LSU Spring Game.
Saturday, Fleming traveled to Baton Rouge and met with both staff’s coaches, giving him new perspective on the in-state team. And with Fleming’s combined scholarship number in the twenties, LSU is looking for any advantage they can get.
“I met with [track and field] coach [Dennis] Shaver and that staff for a good bit, and I know they are pretty interested in me coming to school there,” Fleming said. “I really like the program, and I want to be able to try both sports in college. They would give me that chance, and right now I see it as a good fit.”
One of the state’s top safety prospects, Fleming, who only began football just prior to his freshman year, is now confident that LSU will soon join his growing scholarship list – which already includes the likes of Nebraska, Tennessee and UCLA.
“Getting to sit down and talk with [head coach] Les Miles and the rest of the coaches showed me that they are very interested,” Fleming said. “They asked me all kinds of questions, and then they let me know about how they would be recruiting me over these next couple of months.
“It was all pretty personal, and I feel like an offer is going to come because of it.”
One of the chief concerns from the staff was Fleming’s performance in the classroom at Benton High, leaving them hesitant to extend a scholarship until further commitment was shown.
“I let them know that my freshman and sophomore years I really slacked off and didn’t take school that seriously, and now my GPA is low because of it,” he said. “I am going to have to retake some of these classes to get things cleared up, but I have been doing well this past year, so I feel like I am going to be alright.
“Once it gets up, they said they would want to offer.”
Miles put defensive backs coach Ron Cooper onto Fleming for the rest of the visit, giving the safety prospect a chance to get to know his new recruiting coordinator as well as possible future position coach.
“I really liked coach Cooper, he was a really down to earth guy,” Fleming said. “He was pretty interested in my game, and he wants to come up to my school this spring and watch me practice. He also wants me to come to LSU’s camp this summer so he can work with me.”
The highlight of the day’s events was the spring game, which Fleming, who has never been to a game in Tiger Stadium, graded out as an enjoyable few hours.
“Just being in the stadium and seeing how big everything is was really cool,” he said. “I felt like the game was a good one. The White team won, which I expected. The running backs ran the ball really well, and that stood out to me. Defensively I always like how LSU plays, and I definitely got that feeling of wanting to be out there.”