Junior Colleges

Star DE Isaiah Buggs talks LSU, recruiting and Gulf Coast football

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College defensive end Isaiah Buggs said he’s not close to making a college commitment.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College defensive end Isaiah Buggs said he’s not close to making a college commitment. amccoy@sunherald.com

Don’t expect Isaiah Buggs to make a commitment anytime soon.

The nation’s top junior college defensive end had hoped to commit to a Division I program of his choice before his sophomore season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. During the spring and early summer, Buggs had tweeted several different leaderboards and even said at one point that a decision was coming. Buggs reconsidered as August approached, opting instead to let things play out.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound star said no decision is imminent when he was asked Wednesday about his timetable.

“As of right now, with the way everything is going, I’m kind of re-opening. I don’t have a top four anymore,” said Buggs, who holds offers from most major programs in the Southeast. “I still have plenty of time.

“There’s so many coaching changes that will happen so I have to wait and see what’s what because the next decision I make will determine the rest of my life.”

A Ruston, Louisiana native, many had already pegged Buggs as destined to wear LSU’s purple and gold. That was never a guarantee, apparently.

“I need to let everybody know I’m not tied to one team,” Buggs said. “Everyone has the same opportunity to get me. I’m not locked in.

“Everybody is standing out. No certain direction right now. I’m just weighing my options.”

Thoughts on LSU?

Buggs made a point during the summer to say whoever ultimately landed his pledge would have been the coach or school who built the strongest relationship with him.

Buggs had a couple chances to meet Les Miles before the LSU coach was fired over the weekend.

“I sat down with him and we talked,” Buggs said. “He’s a great person and coach. That’s all about building relationships with your coaches — not just LSU but any school.”

Buggs said he doesn’t feel one way or another about Miles being let go. He is interested, however, to see how the Tigers close out the season with defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron taking over as interim head coach.

“Coach O is a great coach, great D-line coach and very energetic. He’s a great person,” Buggs said. “It’s going to be interesting to see if they can turn the table in the next couple of games. We’ll see what happens.”

Buggs continues to receive calls and texts from LSU, along with most other programs, he said.

According to 247 Sports, Buggs holds offers from LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas, Southern Miss and Florida State, among others.

Buggs took an unofficial visit to Auburn on Sept. 3 for the Tigers’ 19-13 loss to Clemson.

“It went good,” he said of the visit. “The one thing is I’ve always had a connection with Auburn, even when I was in high school. My basketball coach was real connected with Auburn.”

Buggs also unofficially visited Ole Miss for the Alabama game on Sept. 17.

Strong showing

When you consider the standout defensive end has received more than his fair share of “preferential treatment” from offenses this season, it’s pretty impressive he has still managed to lead Gulf Coast with 34 tackles through four games.

“I haven’t gotten a 1-on-1 yet,” Buggs said. “It’s either been a tight end or triple team with the (running) back on my side.”

The extra attention comes as no surprise after Buggs burst onto the JUCO scene a year ago with 59 tackles and four sacks. While Buggs could be flattered by the extra blockers he’s facing as a sophomore, he admitted it does get old.

“It’s been frustrating at times. I’m usually quick getting into the backfield but its slowing me down a little going through all those triple teams,” Buggs said. “I still feel like I’ve still responded well.”

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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