ORANGE, Calif. -- ESPN Junior 300 defensive end Keisean Lucier-South (Orange, Calif./Lutheran) was the recruit Ed Orgeron could not wait to offer.
Just hours before USC kicked off its 2013 season, Lucier-South was summoned to his coach’s office and handed the phone. On the other end was Orgeron, who was in Hawaii as the Trojans prepared to start their campaign.
Surely the conversation and ensuing scholarship offer could have taken place after USC returned to Los Angeles, but Orgeron did not want to waste another minute.
It was a blatant indication of Orgeron’s opinion on Lucier-South. The four-star prospect has been keen on the Trojans ever since, saying he liked them with or without Lane Kiffin as head coach. Like with many other top-flight recruits, USC would likely help itself with Lucier-South if it were to keep Orgeron on staff following the season.
“I don’t have a problem with the coaching situation right now,” Lucier-South said. “I love Coach O. He’s a great man.”
Lucier-South burst onto the scene last year as a 195-pound sophomore and was impressive against quality opponents in the Trinity League. Heading into this week’s first-round playoff matchup against perennial powerhouse Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, he checks in at 218. The ultimate goal is 230 pounds while maintaining the mobility that, at 6-feet-4, makes him one of the top defensive prospects in Southern California for the 2015 class.
This junior year has brought a surprise development, too.
“Some colleges are looking at me at tight end and receiver,” Lucier-South said. “Oregon State, Notre Dame and even UCLA want me in the Y position.”
To improve on the gridiron, Lucier-South will spend less time on the court the next year and a half. The two-sport standout intends to give up basketball this spring to focus entirely on football. He will still play on the Lutheran basketball squad, but do only football activities in the offseason.
Lucier-South said the most important bullet point on the to-do list is improving his defensive backpedal. Aside from that, recruiting figures to be a major time -consumer going forward. The USC coaching situation will be one of the things he keeps his eyes on, though it won’t play the biggest role in his decision.
“Any coach that would be there, I would be happy,” Lucier-South said. “The most important thing for me is academics.”