By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
The first time LSU came calling, Mickey Joseph — then a blue-chip athlete at Archbishop Shaw in the late ’80s, the target of every Division 1 power from coast to coast — said no.
Can’t blame Mom for that.
“Back in the day, if my dad would’ve listened to Pete Jenkins, I would have been a Tiger,” said Joseph. “Because my mom was on board.”
Joseph ultimately chose Nebraska, where he tallied more than 1,000 career rushing yards as an option quarterback in Tom Osborne’s triple option attack.
This time, the call came from Ed Orgeron, and Joseph didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity to become LSU’s wide receivers coach.
“Top job in America,” said Joseph of his new gig. “When he gave me the call, it was yes. I said, ‘Coach, I’m coming.'”
Joseph — whom Orgeron called “a Louisiana legend” — joins LSU from Louisiana Tech, where he spent a single season as running backs coach. Previous stops include Nicholls State, Grambling State, Alcorn State, and Central Oklahoma.
His first task to tackle will be shoring up LSU’s recruiting efforts in New Orleans. Joseph downplayed a report from SECCountry.com from earlier in the week of a potential boycott among Big Easy high school coaches.
“I have strong relationships with those coaches in New Orleans,” he said. “I’ve been recruiting New Orleans since 1999. I either grew up with those guys or mentored those guys along the way. I’ve spoken to all those guys. It was never a meeting where it was going to be discussed about a boycott. Those guys are really in it for their kids. We don’t know how that got started or got out there, but it was never a meeting about that.”
It’s been a big month for the Joseph family. In January, Mickey’s brother, Vance, was named the head coach of the Denver Broncos, after a successful season as Miami’s defensive coordinator. Mickey said he could’ve pursued a position in the NFL alongside Vance, but felt his present and future resided elsewhere.
“Vance and I took two different paths,” he said. “I really enjoy the every day life with the student-athlete, grooming young men to be a grown man when he leaves here. I take pride in it.
“I think that’s my calling. That’s where I want to be — in college.”
That’s where he’ll spend the foreseeable future, mentoring LSU’s wideouts. DJ Chark will return as the position’s leader, but Joseph will be tasked with finding a few more targets among LSU’s seven other scholarship wideouts. Early favorites for playing time include sophomores Dee Anderson, Stephen Sullivan, Drake Davis, junior Derrick Dillon, and senior Russell Gage.
“They’re going to buy into what I want,” he said. “It’s about technique. When you play in the SEC, the guy across from you is going to have as much talent as you. It’s the little things that win college football games, and that’s what we’re going to work on.