Jabbar Juluke claims he has a “daunting task” ahead of him.
Most would agree with him, too: He must make Leonard Fournette better.
“As far as football goes, we want to clean up anything he’s done in the past and make him better. That’s going to be a daunting task,” said Juluke, LSU’s new running backs coach. “The young man does everything extremely well.”
Juluke was not allowed to do an interview with The Advocate on Sunday or Monday.
Juluke called the last month a “whirlwind.” After three seasons in Ruston, Louisiana, Texas Tech hired him away from Louisiana Tech on Jan. 13. He spent exactly a month as a Red Raider before LSU came knocking late last week.
“It’s an extreme honor for me to wear the purple and gold and represent the state as best I can be,” said Juluke, who spent nine years as head coach at Edna Karr, leading the Cougars to a state title in 2012. “Just to hold this flag is an unbelievable honor, dream come true. I think we’re heading in the right direction. I know how important this university is to the high school coaches in Louisiana because, at one point, that was me.”
Juluke discussed his recruiting approach - one similar to that of his predecessor and fellow New Orleanian Wilson. It starts, he says, with building relationships.
“We want to recruit the individual, the family, the neighbor,” he said. “I want to recruit the cousin up the street.”
He touched on his personal weight loss, too. Back in south Louisiana, Juluke hopes to keep off the 50 pounds he lost moving from New Orleans to Ruston.
He spent most of his time speaking about one of the nation’s most talked-about players - Fournette, the 6-1, 230 pound tailback from Juluke’s alma mater, St. Augustine.
Juluke has been close with the Fournette family for years, growing up in the same area as Fournette’s father, in the heart of the Crescent City. Juluke even said he tried to lure Fournette to play for him at Edna Karr.
“I’ve been knowing Leonard since he was 5,” the coach said.
Juluke is fresh off tutoring Louisiana Tech record-setting running back Kenneth Dixon. Dixon finished his career with the Bulldogs as the NCAA’s all-time leader in touchdowns (87), points scored (522) and games played in which he scored a touchdown (38). As a senior in 2015, Dixon led the nation in scoring (14.2 points per game) and was second nationally in touchdowns scored (26).
Juluke hopes to connect Dixon and Fournette at some point. Dixon is projected as a second- to third-round pick in the draft, set for April 28-30 and was a starting running back in the Senior Bowl last month.
Fournette is a rising junior eligible for the 2017 NFL draft.
“(Fournette) is asking questions already, asking questions about Kenneth Dixon, who I dearly love and understood the relationship I had with he,” Juluke said. “At some point, I’m going to get he and Kenneth together so they can communicate about the process Kenneth is going through now.”
Juluke called Wilson “very instrumental” in his life and in the transitions over the last month. The coach speaks to Wilson, now head coach at Texas-San Antonio, on a “daily basis.”
“He’s done an outstanding job of getting me familiar with the university, the young men I’m going to be coaching, especially the man I’m going to be coaching for,” Juluke said.
So how about keeping off those 50 pounds? It won’t be easy, Juluke says, but it’s important.
“I have to be in shape, ready to go,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult because of the great food down south.”
Wisconsin ticket prices announced
Ticket prices for LSU’s game at Wisconsin at Lambeau Field are $91 or $118, depending on location, the school announced Tuesday.
The Tigers face off against the Badgers on Sept. 3 to kick off the 2016 season.
LSU season ticket holders will receive ticket request forms for the Wisconsin game in April with a deadline to submit ticket requests of May 31. LSU is allotted 20,000 tickets to the game and will be the visitor, occupying the east side of the stadium.
“We expect this to be one of the most in-demand tickets for a regular-season non-conference game that we have ever had,” said Brian Broussard, in charge of the LSU ticket office.
With demand expected to outpace the number of tickets LSU receives for the game, Broussard said the school does not anticipate any tickets to go on sale to the general public through the LSU allotment.
There will be a limited number of student tickets available to LSU students at a reduced rate. Information regarding tickets for LSU students on the Baton Rouge campus will be available later in the spring.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @RossDellenger.