Lindsey Scott Jr. completes national title goal, finally turns page to recruiting
Perkinston, Miss. — Lindsey Scott Jr. turned to the overflowing stands with less than four minutes remaining Sunday and waved his arms to encourage the sea of red-clad fans to roar behind the East Mississippi defense.
The standout quarterback could finally feel his three-and-a-half month detour culminating in the goal he had set at its inception — one he prioritized more than almost anyone seemed to understand.
No. 1 EMCC closed out a 31-28 defeat of No. 2 Arizona Western to claim its first NJCAA national championship since 2014.
And only now will Scott and his family finally turn their focus to his highly anticipated second Division-I recruiting process.
“I wanted to take care of this game first,” he said at the conclusion of a fall that began on hometown LSU’s roster. “And now that we’ve won it, I’m extremely happy. And now I can look to see where I’m gonna go next. I think I did it the right way. And anybody else that’s taking the same footsteps, that’s what I’d consider is football first.
“Football is about your teammates and about winning. And everything else will take care of itself.”
CLOSING THE CHAPTER
The Zachary High product completed 15 of his 28 passes Sunday for 170 yards and touchdown passes to freshman receiver Dontario Drummond and former Destrehan star Kirk Merritt.
He added 14 rushes for 40 yards against a defensive scheme in which the Matadors expressed confidence prior to the game could frustrate the Lions’ high-powered attack.
“Eehhhh, I think my team carried me,” he assessed his performance. “I could’ve played a little bit better, but the guys did a great job. Arizona Western had a great team and a dominant front our offensive line did a great job of handling up front. So my day went as theirs went.”
The performance earned Scott his team’s Offensive Player of the Game honors, as well as Mississippi Bowl Player of the Year.
Scott finished the season in the NJCAA’s top five in nearly every passing statistic with 258 completions (No. 2) in 398 attempts (No. 3) for 3,481 yards (No. 2) — 290.1 yards per game (No. 3) and 29 touchdowns (No. 4) and a 156.8 efficiency rating (No. 5).
His 11 interceptions ranked outside the top 10, despite joining the program just two weeks before the season opener.
“Lindsey’s been just a great young man, the kind of kid that you’re just happy to be able to turn the reins over to him on game day,” coach Buddy Stevens said. “I’m excited for his future, to see where he’s gonna go. He’s got a great family. He’s come along in the mold of the quarterbacks we’ve had in the past, just a dynamic kid that we’re happy to have. That’s the new Cajun flash there, and we’re happy to have him.
“He’s just a great kid. In today’s day, when so many people are ‘I, I, me, me,’ that kid is just so team-oriented, and we are just so blessed to have that personality. People don’t understand: That kid is a leader. He’s the kind of guy you want leading your football team.”
Offensive coordinator David Boykin later posted via Twitter: “One of the most competitive players ever had the privilege to coach! Love this guy and so excited for his future! 18 is a true baller.”
TURNING THE PAGE
Fans and media asked Scott and those close to him about his future Division-I plans throughout the season and reacted in disbelief when told recruiting was on the back-burner until after the junior college season.
But his priority remained the same as always: victory.
“We’ve got a little bit of history with the recruiting process, but it initially started with success on the football field,” father Lindsey Scott Sr. said. “It started with the sophomore year, the semifinals the junior year and taking the next step and winning the state championship.
“For him, for a guy with his measurables, he’s got to win. So nothing counts for us until we win. It doesn’t matter who’s evaluating him. Evaluating him at the end of the season after he’s done what he’s had to do. I don’t care who’s coming along, who’s talking. After the body of work is put together, we’ll sit back and we’ll pray on it, man. But winning games is the most important thing. That’s the bottom line.
“Coaches that want to win games, I think they ought to do a better job of getting guys on their squad who are about the process of winning. It’s not about having the biggest guys on your team. It’s about having the guys who are dedicated and locked in on the process of winning games and advancing the program.”
Kansas became the latest program to officially offer the 5-foot-11, 210-pound quarterback during his second Division-I recruitment.
On Monday, the Jayhawks joined Tulane, Texas-San Antonio, New Mexico, Western Michigan and Georgia State as the programs most actively pursuing his signature and services.
“I’m still taking it slow,” Lindsey Jr. said. “I wanted to put 100 percent effort into this game. And now that it’s over, I can start thinking about it. But I don’t want to give any tips out right now. But now that it’s over, I get to kind of sit down and evaluate my future.”
More programs will likely join the discussion.
But the advanced stage of this recruiting cycle, particularly with Scott likely poised to make a selection this month, will certainly abbreviate the process.
That said, the Scotts were calculated and diligent at weighing their options the first time around and, through the lessons learned at LSU and EMCC, only have an even clearer mindset to their upcoming decision.
“Get on the field,” Scott Sr. said. “That’s it, pretty much. Get on the field. Lindsey turned down some excellent opportunities to take a chance at LSU. And we don’t regret that. But I heard somebody say, ‘There’s no JUCO for JUCOs.’ This is it. We took the LSU move and processed it as if we had a year to burn. We don’t have that luxury this time around of a year to burn.
“So we’re gonna be a lot more critical, a lot more questioning and a lot less apt to listen to what people see and look more at their history. That’s what we learned. When you get a sense of where guys really, really want you, go there.”
Jerit Roser can be reached at Jerit@DatBoot.com.