I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with LSU's 2020 commit T.J. Finley recently...First off let me say one thing about this young man! Very Impressive, well spoken and has the right mindset for this turbulent world we live in at times. I noticed immediately his foundation around him was strong, with numerous religious prevalent influence's rolling off his tongue like it was an everyday conversation...I shouldn't have been surprised as Mr. Finley scheduled our meeting making sure Church came first, and we could meet afterward.
That leads me to the family side of things with T.J.; I asked him who were the most influential people in your life besides the obvious answers? Maybe a Coach or Friend? He immediately brought up his grandfather, who passed away when T.J. was very young. That didn't matter; he still remembered those conversations he had with his grandfather about how to treat people with respect and how to hold yourself and what it meant to have good morals. He emphasized to T.J. watch who you are hanging with and pay attention to your surrounding. The other person he mentioned was his little brother; I found this interesting for such an elite athlete to look-up to his little brother and the reasons given made perfect sense. "My little brother looks up to me; I need to carry myself properly. This entire situation we are living in is bigger than us; you can't do it by yourself. My Little brother keeps me honest to myself." T.J. also made sure to mention Dad, Mom and his family as significant role models in his life.
In week one the Ponchatoula QB threw for 260 yards on 29 - 39 Passing with 3 TDS against Barbe High in a loss, but once again T.J. followed that up with a positive statement about his role and being the leader of the team to keep everyone focused on the overall goal.
"I Don't care about stats even if it's 50 Yards passing for the game. I want to win as a team."
His relationship with LSU remains very good and hears from the coaches on a daily basis. With the 2020 dead period coming to an end recently, T.J. mentioned Coach O and Coach Ensminger immediately texting him once the period had ended. T.J. has full intentions to attend the Nike Elite 11 camp later in the year and possibly the Rivals camp if his schedule allows.
His Competitive nature took over when I asked about other QBs recruited in the 2019 and 2021 Class. He fully expects to compete for the starting job as a true freshman. Which I would say is a good thing, you want players who have that mindset from day 1 joining an elite program like LSU. T.J. also mentioned 2020 WR Koy Moore his good friend and recent USC commit as someone he would like to flip to LSU but truly understands Koy's decision and couldn't be happier for the opportunity his good friend has to play at such storied program.
After Speaking with T.J. it was apparent he is a Role Model first and a player second, he takes that very seriously. LSU or any program could use his way of thinking inside the walls especially at the most critical position on the field. T.J. has a real leadership mentality when it comes to life and football.
Ponchatoula next game is against Denham Springs Friday, Sept 7 at 7 PM.
Written By: Josh Lemoine
4 Sept 2018