Illustration: Sarah Amacker
Berwick wide receiver Kenan Jones got an LSU offer in July 2016.
LSU shot up to the top of his list and he committed in January 2017.
Jones later reneged on that decision in February 2017, saying that he made a rushed decision originally and wanted to explore all his options.
A few months later, the allure of being in purple and gold proved too good to pass up and Jones pledged to LSU again – this time for good.
Coach Ed Orgeron’s first full recruiting class with the Tigers will feature Jones – one of the state’s top playmaking receivers.
The 6-foot, 3-inch, 210-pound receiver picked LSU over offers from Florida State, Louisville, Ole Miss, Kansas and several others.
He said being a future Tiger is a dream come true – one of the best feelings in the world.
“It’s just the place that felt the most like home,” Jones said. “The coaches, the atmosphere – everything was just what felt right. I needed a little time to collect myself. This is a major decision. But at the end of the day, there just was no place that I’d rather be than LSU. It ended up being what was best for me.”
In Jones, LSU is getting a dominant playmaking receiver – one of the best players in the Southeast.
Jones is a 4-star prospect on recruiting service 24/7 Sports, the nation’s 304th best player and the No. 10 player in the state.
As a junior, Jones was a force for Berwick, catching 48 passes for 934 yards and 10 touchdowns – all while helping turn the Panthers into a playoff contender after several straight losing seasons.
So far in 2017, Jones has continued with his playmaking prowess, recording several touchdown grabs and helping Berwick get to a 2-0 record at press-time in mid-September.
Jones is most effective as a red-zone weapon and a deep-play threat.
But Panthers coach Eric Holden said last season that he’s also a quality blocker and a good teammate.
“He does so many things well. It’s hard not to root for a guy like him,” Holden said. “He shows up willing to work. He’s coachable. And you can just see it on the field. No matter what opponents throw at him, he’s always working hard and giving it his all on every play. Some games, he’s getting guarded by two or three guys. In those games, other guys may get the ball a little more. And we never hear a negative word.”
Jones started shooting up recruiting boards before his junior season after strong showings at camps around the Southeast.
Former LSU coach Les Miles gave him his offer and his lead recruiter was former wide receivers coach Demeyune Craig.
Jones committed to the Tigers after the 2016 season – long after Miles was fired.
But he said uncertainty surrounding the program caused him to quickly re-think that decision, which led to the de-commitment.
When announcing that he was no longer a commitment, Jones quickly reiterated that LSU was among his favorites and the Tigers were very much in the running for his future services.
But Jones’ decommitment didn’t last long.
He said he spent time talking to LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada and new wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph during the offseason, which quickly showed him that the Tigers were committed to revamping their offense and building a successful passing game – something the team didn’t have in the final years under Miles.
He re-committed shortly after – announcing that his decision would be final, even as his scholarship offer list continues to grow.
“It’s the place that I want to be,” Jones said. “It’s where I always wanted to be,”
The timing of the re-commitment, Jones said, was so that he could focus on the 2017 season.
Berwick has a senior-heavy group – a team that has a chance to make noise in the Class 3A State Playoffs.
The Panthers opened with a win against Morgan City. Jones had two touchdown scores in that game.
In the second game of the season, the Panthers had more than 600 yards of offense to beat Northwest. Jones had 10 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
“Right now, we’re focused on what’s ahead. We want to try and have a great season – something that people here can remember for a long time,” Jones said. “We believe in ourselves. We think we have the right group in place and the right people to get it done.”
Jones is one of two receivers currently in the Class of 2018, joining Jena High School receiver Jaray Jenkins.