Have you ever lied to someone on a first date?
There are people that lie on a first date to sound cool and people that are so cool that what they say also happens to be true.
Jay Johnson’s first date with LSU fans was his opening press conference where he said:
“Scott (Woodward) mentioned the previous stops that I went, and at the time all of those were rebuilds. I look at this as a reboot.”
Johnson was truthful. Junior outfielder Gavin Dugas, the leading home-run hitter for the Tigers, announcing he will come back to school means LSU returns its entire starting lineup in 2022.
Pitchers Devin Fontenot and Ma’Khail Hilliard have also announced they’re returning to help out a bullpin that still has some question marks.
But rebooting also requires new tools, new philosophies and new faces. Coach Johnson brought in those as well.
Arizona DH Jacob Berry. An All-American as a freshman last season that hit .352 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI and earned Collegiate Baseball’s National Co-Freshman of the Year honor. In a podcast interview, Coach Johnson called Berry “the best switch hitter I’ve ever seen.”
Samford catcher Tyler McManus who hit .367 (30 at bats) against Mississippi State, Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M throughout the course of the 2021 season.
LSU Eunice infielder Jack Merrifield who was named the 2021 National Defensive Player of the Year by the National Junior College Athletic Association. Merrifield was perfect from the field with no errors in 57 chances.
University of San Francisco RHP Eric Reyzelman who last season pitched 35 innings while opponents batted .234 against him with a 6.17 ERA and has a fastball that sits 94-97 mph.
Okay… so we all lie a little bit on a first date.
But Jay Johnson is proving that his reputation as a recruiter, or rebooter, has been justified at LSU so far.