A football emblazoned with a red “Z” sits between two plants on a mantel in Lindsey Scott Sr.’s luxury Zachary apartment. He takes the ball and begins to toss it from hand to hand, walking around the apartment with headphones in his ear and a splintered iPhone in his hand.
That ball was special.
“Dad — aw, you’re not supposed to move that,” Lindsey Scott Jr. says, clutching another football. “Take this one. It’s the principle.”
Lindsey Sr. chuckles as he places the ball back atop his staircase.
“Good God, man,” he says to Lindsey Jr. “Really?”
That special ball was used on a memorable play in Lindsey Scott Jr.’s decorated career as a quarterback at Zachary High.
It was to be a bubble screen to the right side. The Broncos, one week removed from their only loss in a state championship season, clung to a three-point fourth-quarter lead against Dutchtown on Oct. 2.
The quarterback rolled out, spying a safety crash the alley. Two linemen pulled in the opposite direction. Lindsey Jr. abandoned the screen, tucked the ball away and followed those pulling linemen 65 yards for a touchdown.
“It was quiet on the headsets,” Zachary coach David Brewerton recalls. “It surely wasn’t the play that was called. But that’s just him.”
Offensive coordinator Kenny Langlois was amazed.
“Best play of his career,” Langois says. “He saved me on that.”
Sitting on his sofa gulping a bottle of water Monday afternoon, Lindsey Jr. has been an LSU commitment for 30 hours. Books and binders cover a table to his right. He has just finished a satire outline for an English class, the first of multiple assignments he must complete.
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Monday’s uninterrupted school day was the senior’s first since Jan. 14. A frenzy started the next day — a Friday, when Lindsey Jr., then still a Syracuse pledge, came to school at 7:05 a.m. Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin had already been there an hour. Rutgers, Tulane and Purdue came in after Franklin.
Lindsey Jr. decommitted from the Orange that Sunday.
“I’ve had college coaches say that, particularly for quarterbacks, that December and January would be crazy,” Lindsey Sr. said. “And I took it for granted.”
Lindsey Jr. hesitates to show his bedroom. “It’s messy,” he complains. The walls are bare, bed unmade and clothes thrown about. A gold rally towel hanging on a mirror is the only color in the dark space.
“I’m not a poster guy,” Lindsey Jr. says.
“No fans,” dad says. “All business.”
Lindsey Sr. is a former Baker standout who went through the recruiting process, albeit more archaic than his son’s social-media-driven voyage. He enrolled in LSU, only to transfer to Southern just before preseason camp to begin a career that included a black college national championship in 1993.
“Then he played six years in the Canadian (Football) League,” Lindsey Jr. explains.
“Two years,” Lindsey Sr. corrects.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Lindsey Jr. says. “See, that’s just how much I think of you.”
Now an injury lawyer, Lindsey Sr. labels himself a “process guy.” Beginning when Lindsey Jr. was 5 years old, the father quizzed his son while he watched football games. The child could diagnose linebacker rotations, front alignments and knew the difference between zone and man before he was 10.
Lindsey Sr. stayed silent on official visits to Tulane, Maryland and Rutgers. He designed three Excel spreadsheets once he got home, adding LSU and Oklahoma State — schools Lindsey Jr. had yet to visit — with the trio of official visits.
“This was my opportunity to show him how to make major life decisions and usher him into the next phase of his life,” Lindsey Sr. said. “This is one major decision, but there’s going to be many, many more major decisions.”
Father, son and mother Sonja each got their own sheet, tasked with weighing from 0-5 the importance of 11 factors. Among them: academic prestige of the institution, how many quarterbacks came in for the class, life after football, and the relationship with coaches. They added up the numbers.
Which school won?
“You don’t want to know,” Lindsey Jr. grumbles.
“Maryland,” Lindsey Sr. says. “Unanimous. Across the board.”
There was a second step. All three backed away from the numbers. Lindsey Sr. instructed all to ignore the 11 factors.
Emotionally, where would you rank the schools?
“LSU was ranked at the top of that list for all three of us,” Lindsey Sr. said.
‘Somewhere big was going to fall in love with him’
Brewerton talked Monday morning with Lindsey Jr.’s Louisiana Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year trophies side-to-side at the front of his desk.
“Knew (college coaches) would be sitting right there,” Brewerton jests, pointing to a chair. “(They) need to see those.”
The player himself is regularly in that chair. He glows when speaking of Brewerton, who told the Broncos in his first team meeting as head coach they’d win a state championship.
Other teammates gazed in disbelief. Lindsey Jr. nodded his head in agreement.
“What are you going to do about a month before signing day, when LSU comes in and offers you?” Brewerton asked Lindsey Jr. early in his senior season. “I just kind of always believed somewhere big was going to fall in love with him. That’s what I’ve told him and his father since April.
“I don’t think he thought it was really going to happen.”
It did, in that same chair.
Lindsey Jr. had just finished speaking with Tulane coaches Jan. 20 and headed to the elevator in Zachary’s sprawling athletic facility. His phone buzzed with a text message from Brewerton.
“Turn around,” it read.
He obliged, walking in to the office, where LSU offensive coordinator Cameron awaited. Brewerton maintained that, even when LSU still had Feleipe Franks committed, Cameron phoned him regularly. Once a month, at least, with the same greeting.
“How’s my boy doing?”
They talked for two hours that Wednesday afternoon, Brewerton said, about the LSU offense. Cameron excused himself to call head coach Les Miles.
“You could kind of see from the beginning of the meeting that an offer was coming,” Lindsey Jr. said. “At one point, he got (Miles) back on the phone and we talked and he extended the offer. My face lit up with a smile.”
The satire outline now finished, Lindsey Jr. turns to calculus. His class is focusing on derivatives and differential equations. He explains the process with ease, noting calculus is just a combination of algebra and geometry.
“It’s like a review,” Lindsey Jr. says.
Lindsey Jr. used to pluck math from piles of middle school homework. It was the easiest, and he could finish it faster. He’ll major in computer science, concentrating in software engineering, when he gets to LSU.
Before he recounts the LSU-Oklahoma game — his first college basketball game — and before he tells of the conversation he and Cameron shared in an empty Tiger Stadium, Lindsey Jr. brings up a professor from the LSU College of Engineering from his official visit.
The educator engrossed Lindsey Jr., explaining IBM’s new services center in Baton Rouge, the 800 jobs it’s expected to bring and how, in 2013, Louisiana Economic Development pledged $14 million in funding over 10 years, designed to increase the annual number of computer science graduates.
That, coupled with a tour of LSU’s extensive Cox Communications Center for Student Athletes, wooed Lindsey Jr.
“When I do graduate, I want the academic side to set me up when my football career is over with,” Lindsey Jr. said. “(LSU) did their best to show things I haven’t seen yet. And they did a pretty good job.”
Lindsey Jr. had never seen Tiger Stadium from the 50-yard line. He and Cameron left the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at halftime, embarking for the LSU football locker room where he and his two siblings snapped photos before Cameron led him to the 50-yard line in conversation.
Cameron always let Brewerton know when he’d come out to Zachary practice, informing the coach he’d stay for only 15 minutes, a time limit to which he rarely adhered. A relationship that began at summer camps grew in every two-hour segment he observed.
Lindsey Jr. made his decision Saturday night. Sonja asked him to pray on it and tell her how he felt in the morning. There was no change.
“No spreadsheets,” Lindsey Sr. laughed. “That’s mama’s process. Prayer works too.”
‘He set the bar’
Scotlandville junior quarterback Levi Lewis stands 5-foot-11 — identical to Lindsey Jr., who endured months of prognostications that his stature stymied any hopes of major offers.
Tulane offered Lewis on Jan. 27.
“(Lindsey Jr.) set the bar for a lot of other shorter quarterbacks,” former Scotlandville offensive coordinator Marcus Randall said. “I think he’s bringing some notoriety to those guys that play that position because we know he can. He reminds me of Russell Wilson.”
Randall, now the head coach at Southern Lab, has known Lindsey Jr. since he was a child. Lindsey Sr. played with Randall’s brother, Eric, at Southern and Randall believes he may even be kin to the Scotts.
When Lindsey Jr. transferred from Dutchtown after his freshman season, he’d often work out with Randall’s Scotlandville team during the summer.
“I saw it then,” Randall said. “I told my brother (Eric), ‘Man that’s a quarterback.’ He didn’t even know those guys and he came in and demanded his presence. The way he called plays, from workouts, to throwing, I saw something special.”
Off a senior season in which he threw for 3,039 yards, ran for 1,963 and scored 61 touchdowns, Lindsey Jr. now joins Randall, the last Baton Rouge-area player to quarterback LSU, in exclusive company.
Yet, questions still swirl. Perception pegs Lindsey Jr. as a last-ditch option after other prospects, such as Franks or Dwayne Haskins of Potomac, Md., committed elsewhere. Others question how he fits into LSU’s straightforward offensive system, which Cameron began to diversify toward the end of the season.
Then there’s the height. Former LSU quarterback Herb Tyler was generously listed at 6-foot when he led the Tigers from 1995-98. He told Lindsey Jr. on the phone this week that height is just that — a number.
“Numbers-wise, he was always ahead of people,” Lindsey Sr. said. “As a dad, you’re definitely miffed about that. But anything we run into that works to be a challenge, we use it as a motivation.”
Randall effusively praises his instinctiveness. It’s what Brewerton said makes him the best high school quarterback he’s ever seen. Lindsey Sr. says that’s the facet for which his son gets little credit.
Returning starter Brandon Harris will dictate the position once spring practice starts. He sat in the fifth row of the red bleachers on Wednesday afternoon when Lindsey Jr. publicly signed his scholarship papers at Zachary High, then accompanied the family to a celebratory lunch.
The two played against each other in Lindsey Jr.’s sophomore season, when the elder Harris took a 49-34 win in the state quarterfinals.
“Ever since,” Lindsey Jr. said, “he’s been like a big brother. ... When I get in and compete, it makes them better. We’re all at each other’s necks; we’re all going at it. If that’s competition in the film room, competition on the field, that’ll make the team better as a whole.”
‘I have to get used to that’
Father and son head for crawfish at a popular seafood restaurant adjacent to their apartment. Lindsey Jr. has no other plans for the next few weeks. The previous three weeks have exhausted him.
Lindsey Sr. has a trial this week. He stayed home from the LSU official visit to catch up on work and sleep to ensure he was adequately prepared.
So when his son made the decision for which his dad meticulously prepared him, he held it in until 11:30 a.m. Sunday. He called Brewerton, who was driving back from a hunting trip.
“Then,” Lindsey Jr. says. “We decided to tell Les.”
“Coach,” dad reminds.
“Sorry,” Lindsey Jr. says. “Have to get used to it.”