BATON ROUGE, La. — Emery Jones had been contemplating commitment as early as April before electing to wait and travel across the country in June before taking the next step in his recruiting process.
When Jones opted to wait, a major piece fall into place that ultimately brought him to Friday’s reveal.
Jones pledged to LSU over Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida State, a major in-state get for the Bayou Bengals, who reel in The Boot’s No. 12 overall player and one of the nation’s best interior offensive lineman from nearby at Baton Rouge (La.) Catholic High School.
Ed Orgeron tabbed Davis to replace James Cregg as the Tigers’ offensive line coach in June. There was already obvious pressure for Jones to remain in-state, but he was more interested in suiting up for offensive line coach and Baton Rouge native Brad Davis at Arkansas had the Razorbacks in the driver’s seat.
When Davis relocated to LSU, the Tigers began separating from the pack.
“Coach Davis is an in-state guy,” Jones began. “He grew up in Baton Rouge and he would have my back and fight for me and I would fight for him and have his back. We have a close bond and the fact that he wound up in Baton Rouge, we built off that bond and built it up stronger and stronger. We built a love for each other.,”
“When he was moving here from Arkansas, he told me I’m still one of his top guys and he wanted me really bad,” he continued. “He’s been showing me that throughout the recruiting process. We’ve continued to talk how we usually do and I know I’m very important to him and he’s very important to me.”
Many circled LSU as the team to beat early on in Jones’ recruitment, which began to take off right last spring when LSU, Alabama and Florida State all offered the 6-foot-4, 320-pounder.
While Jones is proud of his Baton Rouge lineage, he put a pause on committing in April to take closer looks at LSU, Florida State, Tennessee and Arkansas before making up his mind.
“It was a really difficult decision because a bunch of people tell me that LSU is the spot, but I had to go see it for myself,” Jones explained. “I had to go out and see these different places, these beautiful spots I’d never thought I’d get to see or think about or even pictured in my decision. I picked the best spot for me and where I thought I would thrive the best the next three or four years.”
Jones was on hand at LSU on multiple occasions, including an unofficial visit with the coaches at the beginning of June and then returned a few weeks later to camp in front of Davis and Orgeron at the annual linemen camp.
Jones turned heads in the camp setting, but the coaches made an equally big impression on the four-star guard.
“LSU as a school was a beautiful place and somewhere I grew up wanting to play for,” Jones said. “We have a family bond, I have my family behind me and with friends and family in the backyard … when Brad (Davis) made the decision to move over here, it sealed the deal. Taking the OL coach position, I had a bond with the coach, with the family and friends, and I would be set.”
“Coach O set himself apart by talking to my mom a little bit more,” he continued. “I remember talking to Coach O about my mom and my family and they understand where my heart is at and what I’m looking for. Coach O made those points of emphasis to talk with my mom and set things up through her and not me and I can tell he sees the bigger picture.”