BATON ROUGE, La. -- It would be easy to be put off by the turmoil surrounding LSU in the past week. The Tigers not only lost the national championship and their wide receivers coach, but also two of their star recruits in the past two days.
But, as LSU coach Les Miles alluded to in his season-ending press conference, there is still talent preparing to enter the program. The Tigers’ 2012 class ranks 13th with 21 commitments tallied.
One of those is four-star wide receiver Avery Johnson, an Ely High School product from Pompano Beach, Fla. Johnson is ranked as the 12th-best wideout in the class of 2012, and the No. 82 prospect in the ESPN 150.
Johnson took some time to talk about the turnover in Baton Rouge, as well as a handful of other topics.
How are you processing everything that’s been happening at LSU?
“I’m taking everything in. A lot of stuff has been going on at LSU. They lost the national championship, they lost Rueben Randle … and with Russell Shepard’s whole deal. They lost Patrick Miller to Auburn … We lost Coach (Billy) Gonzales too, but if you look at everything, I know I’m still going no matter what happens. I’m still committed.”
What’s your mindset about the changes heading into 2012?
“I’m excited about everything. I’m excited about coming in this summer. I’m excited about the new wide receivers coach coming in, even though I don’t know who it is yet. I’m excited about the quarterback, Zach Mettenberger. I’m excited about this football team. It’s a young football team with a pretty good defense coming back, and a pretty good offense coming back. We should end up in the same spot we were this year, in the national championship.”
Are you troubled by the struggles in the passing game in the past few seasons?
“It doesn’t change my decision. Things have changed. I had Coach (Frank) Wilson and I had Coach (Steve) Kragthorpe come over, and I talked to Coach Miles right after (the BCS Championship Game), and things are going to change. They have a quarterback in Zach that has a stronger arm and a better football IQ, better than Lee and Jefferson did. And they trust Zach more passing the ball. He’s a smarter quarterback, and he’s got a bigger arm than both of those guys. They’re going to change the offense. If you think about it a minute, you’ve got Jarvis Landry at wideout, and you’ve got Odell Beckham Jr. on the other side. And then possibly me coming in and playing early, which I think I will, maybe. You’ve got a big offensive line and depth at running back. So you take a look at that.”
Thoughts on offensive play calling?
“Coach Kragthorpe said he’s going be more hands on calling plays, and he’s got a background throwing the ball as well. Jefferson can run a lot. He’s a running quarterback as well, so they’ve used that, and that’s why they ran the ball a lot. But now with a passing quarterback who can step into the pocket it and sling it, that’s why they’re going to throw the ball more.”
What has your older brother, former LSU All-America Patrick Peterson, told you about the recruiting process?
“I talk to Patrick every time I get a chance. I talked to him today about LSU and Les Miles. I asked him, ‘Is LSU a good school?’ and he said, ‘It’s a damn good school.’ So I asked him how the football program was, and he said Les Miles is a pretty upfront guy. He’s going to tell you the truth about things, and he’s going to tell you if you’re doing bad or doing well. But he said it’s my decision and he’ll be happy for me wherever I go, and I told him I’m going to LSU.”