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February 23, 2012

Brazil's mixed emotions

The past few days have brought athletic highs and lows for LSU football commitment Jeryl Brazil.

The speedster from Loranger set a state record while winning the 55-meter dash on Feb. 18 at the LHSAA's Indoor Championships. Competing at LSU's Carl Maddox Fieldhouse, Brazil broke Trindon Holliday's prep mark by running the race in a blistering 6.25 seconds.

"I was determined to win," Brazil told TigerBait.com early on Wednesday night. "I couldn't lose. I don't like losing. I knew I had to do my best and run the best that I could."

But in a story first reported by TigerBait.com on Wednesday, LSU defensive backs coach Ron Cooper is leaving to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brazil, who was contacted again later in the evening, was taking that news hard.

"To be honest, it really is heart-breaking," Brazil said. "That's the first coach I built that relationship with. That's who I was going to be playing under. He saw the talent in me when nobody else did. The fact that he's leaving is a scary thought."

Asked if Cooper leaving changed his feelings about LSU, Brazil said, "It doesn't change my feelings. I know coach Frank (Wilson) and Coach Miles. But it doesn't change anything."

Coincidentally, Brazil made an unofficial visit to the LSU campus this week and stopped by to chat with Cooper and Wilson.

"I hang out with Coach Cooper's son T-Coop, a lot and I was hanging out with him this weekend," Brazil said.

Brazil was in better spirits before the news broke about Cooper and he enjoyed recapping his track championship. The 55-meter was the only event Brazil ran on Saturday.

"I had gotten beat in my previous meet so that was my motivation," Brazil said. "I was going to prove to myself that I'm fast and can beat the record. I worked to prepare myself for the meet and I went ahead and broke it."

One of the fastest players in LSU history, Holliday ran the nation's fastest times in the 55 and 60-meter dashes in 2005 and set the mark at 6.27 while competing for Northeast High in Zachary.

Brazil credited his track coach Jermaine Spencer for helping him post the record-smashing performance.

"He helps me with it and shows me what I need to do," Brazil said. "He's been a big help in my success."

Up next on his track schedule in three weeks, Brazil will run the 60-meter dash at the indoor nationals in New York. Florida State football signee Marvin Bracy, who ran the world's fastest 55-meters this year in an amazing 6.08 seconds, will provide stiff competition in the event.

Even in track season, football is never far from Brazil's mind.

"Track helps me improve my speed through the running and workouts," he said. "I like to improve on my speed. I feel that I can be faster than I am now. So basically, track is for my football."

Listed as an athlete, Brazil said that LSU plans to utilize him at cornerback.

"I mix in (football) workouts with my track workouts," Brazil said. "At least two times a week, I do one-on-ones with my teammates to get reps at covering and things like that."

LSU's first commitment for the Class of 2013 remains firm in his pledge, but the offers keep coming. Ole Miss and Florida State made offers last week and he also has a recent offer from Tennessee.

Brazil also said that he will attend LSU's football camp in June.



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