Lucas Taylor is a Southern boy through and through. The Mobile, Alabama native wants to take his Southern roots with him wherever he goes and that's why the LSU staff has made a great impression on the rising junior.
Since the Tigers made the offer in late April, Taylor has spent a ton of time on the phone with offensive line coach James Cregg and of course the head coach himself, Ed Orgeron. The culture of the program is what Taylor is really looking for when ultimately deciding to choose a college.
While most recruits look at the record, the championship season and the player development on the field, Taylor prefers to look at the family atmosphere that Orgeron is building off the field.
"The thing I love about coach O is that I am a true believer that he was made for the head coaching job at LSU," Taylor said. "That is a man that truly loves his state, his team, his university and that's the most prideful man I've ever met as a head coach."
That culture, that bond that Orgeron creates, particularly with the recruits from the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama region, has been the foundation of the program he's built in the three years since taking over.
"That's definitely something I look at when I'm looking at a college because I want it to feel like home," Taylor said. "My ideal school is built off of those Southern values, those roots. I'm a pretty Southern kid and that's just a fingertip away in Baton Rouge. LSU is also the closest SEC program to our house so it's very close."
Some of the teams that have stayed in consistent communication with Taylor throughout the process are LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M and Penn State. In addition to the conversations with Orgeron, Taylor has become close with Cregg as well, with those talks centered around football and the role the team envisions for Taylor.
"I knew LSU was interested but I didn't know that they were at the offering stage," Taylor said. "Me and coach [James] Cregg had a real nice conversation about why he likes me as a player, he says I'm a blue collar type football player. I'm nasty, I get the job done, I'm big, athletic. From then on, coach Cregg and I communicate on a weekly basis so I'd say LSU is certainly top-three communication wise."
That physical nature in which Taylor plays with is something he prides himself on and a component of his game that Cregg loves.
"I think of myself as a pretty humble guy, I don't get caught up in the glitz and glamour, I just play football and that's what he likes about me," Taylor said.
At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, LSU is recruiting Taylor as an offensive guard and with the physical measurements, it's easy to see why so many programs are interested in Taylor's potential. His particularly long 33.5 inch arms are another reason he thinks he'll be able to have success at the next level.
Currently ranked as the No. 5 guard in the 2022 class on 247Sports, Taylor is actually playing tackle at St. Paul's Episcopal High School.
"I think playing tackle in high school is going to help me down the road," Taylor said. "Playing tackle now is gonna make me more athletic for playing offensive line in college."
The offseason for Taylor has been spent losing the "bad weight" and adding on "good weight." Taylor lost about 25 pounds of fat and has spent the last few months gaining 15 pounds of muscle, which he hopes will allow for more explosiveness off the line of scrimmge and sustained athleticism throughout the course of a game.
"I'm a lot leaner now, a lot faster now, a lot more athletic and my vertical has improved by like 11 inches," Taylor said. "It's been everything from weight room to cardio. I usually have about three workouts a day between a local facility, training at St Paul's and then also some individual workouts specific to my o-line technique.
"I'm pretty sure this season there's gonna be a new Lucas Taylor, in fact I guarantee it."
Taylor is hoping his technique as a junior is more consistent, particularly getting out of his stance quicker. Last year, Taylor would line up differently depending on if the play called was a run or a pass.
Now that he's changed his body and become more athletic, he's also changed his stance up, sticking to one stance and not tipping off the defense by lining up in a different way.
In regards to his recruiting process, Taylor says he's started the process of whittling down some teams he'll want to focus on moving forward. The next step in regards to his relationship with LSU is to simply find a way to get on campus for a visit, something that is currently unavailable to all high school prospects at this time.
One of the big reasons Taylor is seriously considering LSU is that Cregg and the staff has done a phenomenal job of coaching up the offensive linemen in recent years.
"With them winning the Joe Moore award last season, it shows me how fast coach Cregg can take these players that he recruits and develop them into an award-winning offensive line," Taylor said. "I can't wait to get down there and further develop my relationship with that program and that staff."