Anyone who followed LSU’s recruitment of offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield knows he took the process seriously. He wasn’t concerned about playing three-card monte with school caps or being on national television.
The importance of getting an education as well as playing football, the big picture, was always the primary focus. It’s an approach Brumfield has carried into fall practice, where the big picture is learning a new system before worrying about playing time.
“As far as recruiting, I always made it a point not to be flamboyant, to not be all over the media,” said Brumfield, the top-rated local prospect from LSU’s highly touted recruiting class.
“I’m the same way here. I’m not necessarily the guy you’ll hear a lot about. I’m just trying to learn and be a part of the system.”
A quick look at LSU’s offensive line depth chart shows Brumfield listed third at right guard on a unit that has a chance to be one of the best in the Southeastern Conference. With four returning starters, it’s an imposing line, not only for defenses but for incoming players like Brumfield, Will Clapp, and Jevonte Domond.
Anchored by left tackle La’el Collins, LSU’s 2013 line paved the way for two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher, an NCAA first. Brumfield was on campus too, but as a star lineman at University High, where he helped the Cubs advance to the Class 3A championship game.
“Its great learning from guys that have already experienced what I’m going through,” Brumfield said of the transition from high school to college ball. “Its not just (offensive line coach Jeff) Grimes. I’m learning from these guys, too.”
Being third on the depth chart a week into fall practice is no surprise for Brumfield or Grimes.
“Its hard to judge a freshman based on the first week,” Grimes said. “We’ll be able to evaluate (Brumfield) more this week. He has a chance to fit into the mix.”
It’s a mix that can constantly change as a season progresses, and players pick up nicks and dings.
“There’s always a need to develop young talent. You never know when something will happen,” said Grimes, who didn’t rule out any possibilities regarding Brumfield’s prospects for playing time.
“I’m always thinking ahead, thinking how we might fit certain players into certain positions. There’s always a need for quality depth.”
Grimes has addressed that need as he works to pass on knowledge to younger players. It’s work that has already impressed Brumfield.
“He’s a great coach,” Brumfield said. “It’s been tough, but he’s helped me with a lot of things. It’s not that he’s teaching me shortcuts, but they’re things that make the job easier. I’m really enjoying camp.”
Coach Les Miles, speaking at the team’s media day, also mentioned the importance of developing talented but inexperienced linemen.
“The offensive line continues to improve. We’re looking at depth,” Miles said. “Some of the young offensive linemen, we’re going to have to look at them.
“We’ve played 29 freshmen in the last two years. This is a class where a number of freshmen are fit to play.”
The first thing the incoming players must do is adjust to the speed of the college game while learning a new system.
“It’s a big step. I’ve noticed a change in the speed of the game,” said Brumfield, who then referenced the whole instead of the individual.
“Its not just on a particular play, it’s the whole team.”