Carius Curne’s Coach Sets the Record Straight on Supposedly Canceled LSU Visit

Carius Curne, Missouri football, Arkansas football, LSU football
photo credit: Twitter/Carius Curne / LSU Athletics

Lance Clark said some of his Marion High School football players have never been to Memphis, even though it’s just a few minutes across the Mississippi River. Some will enlist in the military, but a majority will pick up a trade and settle in the small northeast Arkansas town. Such is life for kids being raised in the Delta area of the country where harsh circumstances squash dreams. 

Clark, who came to the school in 2021 after serving as associate head coach at Little Rock Christian for three years, is encouraging his players to dream big and think beyond life in Marion. It is possible to make a splash on a bigger stage, as former All-SEC linebacker Jerry Franklin most certainly did for the Razorbacks.

At one time, that was a stretch for offensive lineman Carius Curne. Now, the future isn’t a problem for the highly recruited 6-foot-5, 325-pound offensive lineman entering his senior year of high school. However, making a decision that will change his life is the challenge. 

“He is a top-10 NFL pick, if he realizes his potential, and he can do that at any of the schools he chooses,” Clark said. On one hand, that sounds extremely hopeful, perhaps as likely as BC sports betting would put the odds for Vancouver’s CFL team getting into the NFL. On the other hand, this kind of optimism seems less far fetched when you watch the way Curne tosses around his opponents like they were bags of rice in this clip:

LSU Football Visit Confusion around Carius Curne

Clark and Patriots offensive coordinator Zack Tribble have been instrumental in navigating him through the process that can confuse even the worldliest recruit with the most means. Carius Curne lacks both and the fact that he only recently started a Twitter account and only accesses Facebook on a desktop is proof. 

“He needs help making the decision and colleges are more than happy to make that decision for him,” Clark said. “That is their job to convince him to make a decision in front of them. We don’t care where he goes, but we just want him to make the best decision for him and think it all through.”

Curne, who initially committed to Arkansas but later decommitted (more on that in a minute), has whittled his final three choices to the Hogs, Missouri and LSU. Contrary to some reports, Clark said as of Wednesday that Curne is visiting LSU football this weekend. He said confusion arose when Curne told some reporters he wasn’t sure if he was going on the visit to Baton Rouge. That uncertainty came because, at the time, he didn’t think he had anyone to take him. The only visits he’s been on have been with the help of the Marion coaching staff, but Clark said that logistical matter has been handled. 

So, when he returns from LSU this weekend, Curne will huddle with Clark and Tribble and make a decision that will be made public via a video announcement released by the school on June 19, Clark said. 

“When he makes the decision, we want him to make the announcement and move on and enjoy his senior year,” Clark said.

Arkansas, Others Enter the Mix

When Arkansas first discovered Carius Curne, it tried to keep him a hidden gem. In fact, Clark said the reason the Razorbacks didn’t offer him right away was because it didn’t want other schools to follow suit. That plan didn’t quite work out.

Since picking up a Memphis offer after his sophomore year, Curne’s recruitment has taken off and he’s no longer hidden. Ranked as a four-star prospect by the major recruiting services, including as high as No. 25 nationally by On3, Curne has a decent list of offers that is SEC heavy, including Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Mississippi State to go along with his Top 3. He also has offers from Purdue and SMU, among others.

Clark said Curne would have even more offers and would be ranked higher by some recruiting services had he attended more camps, especially the camps orchestrated by the specific recruiting services. 

“He didn’t go to all of the recruiting camps and some schools like Ohio State didn’t offer him because they knew he wouldn’t come there for a camp,” Clark said. “He is underrated, but you can also look at the offers as far quality compared to quantity. He has some good offers.”

Curne, who didn’t play school football until 9th grade, was raw his sophomore season, Clark said. The coaching staff put a highlight tape together, but because he was a work in progress coupled with his limited means, a decision was made to hit just a few camps. He attended a camp at SMU early last June where several college coaches were in attendance and got an offer from SMU, Liberty and Texas State. At a team camp in Fayetteville a few days later, Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman offered him. 

Curne committed to Arkansas and later changed his mind, but these kinds of U-turns are increasingly commonplace. Sometimes, they go in Arkansas’ favor, as was the situation Thursday when lineman Kash Courtney decommitted from Baylor to pledge to Arkansas and former Bears OL coach Eric Mateos instead.

In Curne’s case, Clark said that had less to do with Arkansas and more to do with the young man’s impulsivity.

“He wanted to commit to every school on the visit,” Clark said. “But, now he is taking a step back and looking at each school and enjoying the process. It was a little overwhelming at first.”

Longtime Arkansas recruiting guru Otis Kirk reports that Curne was pleased that Arkansas continued to recruit him despite his decommitment. Kirk said Arkansas could be a favorite.

In the end, Clark wants Curne to embrace the challenge of making the best decision for himself as opposed to leaning too much on his school’s coaching staff for guidance.

“We will sit down and talk about each school and go over what each one brings, and he will make a decision,” Clark said. He added that next week “we want him to slam the buzzer and make the decision. He’s come a long way in the process.”

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Check out some highlights of Carius Curne from this past season:

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More coverage of Arkansas football recruiting from BoAS…

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