LSU Recruiting: 3-Star ATH Russell Gage's Future After Committing to the Tigers

Carter Bryant@carterthepowerContributor IJanuary 31, 2014

Russell Gage impressed LSU during camps in the offseason.
Russell Gage impressed LSU during camps in the offseason.247Sports

LSU's latest commitment, Russell Gage, can hurdle defenders better than anybody else currently committed to the Tigers. 

While that may not mean much, it does show Gage's creativity and athleticism. He played quarterback at Redemptorist High School in Baton Rouge, where he eviscerated defenses with the zone read.

Gage also played in the secondary and every unit on special teams. He was a one-man show. 

According to James Smith of The Times-Picayune, Gage met with LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron over the weekend. Gage, only days after making an official visit to LSU, committed soon after speaking with the Tigers' play-calling guru.

Gage shrugged off Tulane, Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss to wait for an offer from LSU. His patience paid off as he became the 19th commitment in the 2014 class.

Gage's future at LSU is quite fascinating. Despite meeting with Cameron, an offensive coach, most experts expect him to play defensive back. 

LSU became interested in Gage when they saw him compete at defensive back in a camp held in July according to Smith. With no cornerbacks currently committed in the 2014 class, it comes to no surprise the Tigers finally offered him.

Being offered so late in the process shows Gage was not one of LSU's top priorities. But that does not mean the 3-star prospect cannot be a major contributor.  

As Paul Crewe of And The Valley Shook points out, former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne was also a Rivals 3-star athlete and high school quarterback offered late in the recruiting process. Claiborne went on to win the Thorpe Award at LSU and was drafted in first round by the Cowboys in 2012. 

Former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne was a star on defense and special teams for the Tigers.
Former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne was a star on defense and special teams for the Tigers.Jeff Gentner/Associated Press

Claiborne is not the only former high school quarterback turned college defensive back at LSU who has had major success. Ron Brooks and Corey Webster also made the transition. All three are currently in the NFL.

Gage knows he will not play quarterback. He could have earned touches and more immediate playing time at other schools, but he still chose LSU. So expect him to buy into the system of transitioning to defensive back full-time.

LSU, with four safeties already committed, will try to develop Gage into a corner. He has great size at 6'0'' but does lack elite speed. Yet expect his ball skills to be superb, much like Brooks, Webster and Claiborne.

Gage will also benefit by having John Chavis as his defensive coordinator. 

In Chavis' 3-2-6 "Mustang" package, it calls for six defensive backs to be on the field at once. LSU has lacked the playmakers since Tyrann Mathieu and Brooks have left the defense as the "Nickel" and "Dime" backs. Dwayne Thomas showed some promise last season, but the door is open for anybody.

Because Gage played a high volume of snaps in all three phases of the game in high school, he should be a valuable commodity on special teams. It is also a little early to say he has no chance of playing some offense in Baton Rouge.

Do not be surprised if Gage redshirts next season. There will be a learning curve for him as he adjusts to the speed at the next level. But there is some potential for him to be a contributor as a freshman.      

Gage hopes to continue the recent Redemptorist High School tradition at LSU. Starters from 2013 Jeremy Hill and La'el Collins are both Redemptorist graduates. He will probably not be the caliber player of Hill or Collins, but he will certainly get his chance. 

Tiger fans should have reasonable expectations for Gage. But it is important to be patient with him, as he was with LSU for his offer.


Follow me on Twitter @CarterthePower.  

All rankings via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.