Walker Howard noticed from a distance how LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmeier really took charge of the 2021 recruiting class. Nussmeier was front and center of organizing a trip to Baton Rouge when recruiting and on campus visits were not permitted.
Being a quarterback and one of the natural leaders of the group, Nussmeier reached out to many uncommitted players and tried to persuade them to join the Tigers' class. So much like what Nussmeier was able to do with the 2021 group, Howard is hoping to have a similar effect with the 2022 class.
"Quarterback position is one of the most important, he's a leader, a guy that gets everybody together," Howard said. "Make sure everybody's doing their job and that's what I'm gonna try to do, get all of my recruits together and all of my future teammates. He [Nussmeier] did a great job of bonding all of the recruits and that's what I hope to do."
Howard, offensive lineman Will Campbell, safety JaCoby Mathews and tight end Jake Johnson headline the 12 commits in the class to this point. All four were on campus this past weekend, either participating in camps or meeting with the coaching staff and taking tours of the campus and practice facility.
As part of his visit, Howard was able to interact with Johnson, Mathews, Campbell and the rest of the top recruits in attendance for the first time in person. Howard and Johnson certainly showed the future is bright with the passing attack as they connected on several balls throughout the skills camp on Sunday.
The two spent most of their time together, interacting and meeting with each other's families.
"Having the chance to throw with Jake at the camp was really awesome," Howard said. "He shocked me, he's one of the best players in the country and an absolute stud. He makes it easy on me, makes it easy that no one can guard him."
The other part of the weekend that Howard enjoyed was the one on one interaction with the coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator Jake Peetz and passing game coordinator DJ Mangas. Peetz was with Howard and the other quarterbacks in attendance through nearly every drill.
LSU has been recruiting Howard since before the 2019 season, so he remembers watching that offense and sees a similar approach with this coaching staff in getting back to that positionless scheme that made that team so historic.
"Coach Peetz is the best coach in the country. Everything he does, he brings the energy to the field and players and makes everybody better," Howard said. "All three quarterbacks in that room right now are showing great leadership, all of them are stepping up. We're probably going to have the best quarterback group in the country next year and to be able to compete with those guys, I'm excited to get over there."
Before Howard can start thinking about competing in the LSU room, he's focused on guiding St. Thomas More to a second straight state title with him behind center. It will come with its own set of difficulties as St. Thomas More has lost 19 starters from last year's team, including receiver Jack Bech who's currently competing for playing time at LSU as a freshman.
Howard is continuing to put an emphasis on improving his accuracy, getting his weight up to 195 for the season and most importantly, continue to polish his leadership skills.
"That's the biggest thing for me right now, is having a great senior season," Howard said. "I'm a senior leader now and everybody's going to look up to me on and off the field. My first priority is my high school but whenever I can go to LSU, I'm going to be there."