Ten key prospects that left Louisiana for college
With recent in-state recruiting losses around the country it’s time to take a look at some key states and the big ones that got away. We continue today with the state of Louisiana, where only a few big ones got away in the past four years.
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
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1. Travis Etienne, Clemson (2017)
The skinny: Etienne was initially committed to Texas A&M, but then re-opened his recruitment two months later. After trimming his list to Clemson, LSU and Tennessee - and taking official visits to Clemson and Tennessee in January - he committed to the Tigers a week before National Signing Day.
After two consecutive monster seasons, during which he totaled 3,272 yards and 43 touchdowns on the ground, Etienne will be back to further entrench himself in the Clemson record books.
Farrell’s take: Etienne was a big miss for LSU, obviously, as the Tigers came in on him way too late. But the Tigers have done OK without him, for sure, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and that national title. But Etienne has emerged as arguably the best running back in football, and future players like him can’t get away with any consistency.
2. Devonta Smith, Alabama (2017)
The skinny: DeVonta Smith took January official visits to Alabama, Miami, Florida State and LSU before committing to the Tide on National Signing Day. Alabama was considered the heavy leader for quite some time, but both the Seminoles and in-state Tigers made a charge at the end.
Smith began to showcase his game-breaking skills in 2018, but he truly exploded onto the national scene in 2019 with 68 receptions for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Farrell’s take: Smith has emerged as one of the top wide receivers in the country and was a big loss out of the state for LSU. We liked him a lot, but didn’t see this kind of production coming with so much talent at Alabama, which makes this a bigger loss as future wide receivers from the state will continue to consider the Tide.
3. Phidadrian Mathis, Alabama (2017)
The skinny: Mathis trimmed his list of top schools down to Alabama, LSU and TCU before committing to the Tide a few days before National Signing Day. A week before his decision he played host to both Alabama’s Nick Saban and LSU’s Ed Orgeron for home visits.
Mathis established himself as a key part of the Tide’s interior defensive line last season with 27 tackles and one forced fumble. Even more is expected from the veteran this fall.
Farrell’s take: Mathis hasn’t been great, but he’s been good and is yet another in-state loss to Saban and company, which isn’t good. He’s going to be tough to handle this year, and Alabama continues to hurt LSU on the defensive and offensive lines.
4. Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia (2020)
The skinny: Van Pran committed to Georgia a few weeks before the start of his senior season over Texas A&M, Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama and Arkansas. However, he did not sign during the Early Signing Period, which led to some doubts. Those doubts continued as his recruiting coach, Sam Pittman, left for the head job at Arkansas. The Tide and Florida emerged as threats in January, but when it came time to put pen to paper he signed with the Bulldogs.
Van Pran is being groomed to be the Bulldogs’ center of the future, but with Trey Hill firmly at that position now, a redshirt is possible.
Farrell’s take: Van Pran is another good big man who got away and should have an excellent career as a center at UGA. LSU would have liked to keep him, especially because it’s so hard to find natural centers.
5. Adrian Ealy, Oklahoma (2017)
The skinny: Long considered a lean to Oklahoma, Ealy finally committed to the Sooners in early January. A group of schools were also in the hunt, but the main two that made a push were LSU and Arizona.
After playing in five games in 2018, Ealy started 12 games last season at right tackle. He is once again set to start at right tackle this season.
Farrell’s take: Ealy is an entrenched starter for an Oklahoma team that churns out elite NFL offensive linemen, so he would be a nice player for LSU to plug in somewhere had the Tigers kept him. The Sooners are becoming more of a threat to Louisiana, and this one helps.
6. Christian Harris, Alabama (2019)
The skinny: Harris committed to Texas A&M during the summer leading up to his senior season, but then flipped to Alabama at the end of November. He took an official visit to Tuscaloosa less than a week before his flip.
Harris had an impressive true freshman season with the Tide, finishing with 61 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss.
Farrell’s take: Another tough loss to Alabama, but at least this wasn’t a flip from LSU, which would hurt more. He’s a very active player and was one of the best true freshmen in the SEC last year.
7. Brad Stewart, Florida (2017)
The skinny: Stewart had been a heavy lean to Florida for quite some time, and he decided to end his process with a commitment during his official visit in late January. He also took January official visits to Arkansas, Arizona State and TCU.
Stewart has totaled 69 tackles and two interceptions over the last two seasons in Gainesville.
Farrell’s take: Stewart wasn’t offered or pursued much by LSU, but he’s carved out a solid career at Florida and should continue to make an impact this year as well. LSU is fine at defensive back, but Stewart picked off Joe Burrow for a TD a couple seasons ago, so that’s something.
8. Eric Reed Jr., Auburn (2020)
The skinny: Reed Jr. initially committed to Ole Miss during the summer leading up to his senior season, but then re-opened his process in early December after coach Matt Luke was fired. He focused on LSU, Auburn, Notre Dame and Georgia, but an official visit to The Plains sealed the deal for the Tigers.
Reed Jr. has shown his potential this fall and is listed on the depth chart, but unless injuries hit the cornerback position, a redshirt is possible.
Farrell’s take: Reed Jr. is another talented defensive back who left the state. LSU can’t land them all, but to lose him to an SEC West rival isn’t great.
9. Ar’darius Washington, TCU (2018)
After redshirting in 2018, Washington burst onto the scene in 2019 with 46 tackles and five interceptions. The starting weak safety for the Frogs again this fall, an All-American caliber season is expected by many.
Farrell’s take: Washington is a commitment loss, and he has turned into an amazing player. Again, LSU is deep at defensive back, but he’d certainly be an impact guy for them.
10. Major Burns, Georgia (2020)
The skinny: Burns initially committed to Texas A&M, then re-opened his process and committed to LSU, which lasted about six months. On the open market yet again in mid-December, Burns ended up committing to Georgia less than a week later during the Early Signing Period.
Enrolling early has helped Burns’ progress at Georgia. There is depth and talent at the safety position, but he is already pushing for playing time.
Farrell’s take: Burns is lower on this list because he was kind of pushed out of the nest by LSU, but as a four-star talent staying in the SEC he could make a big impact.