DEVILLE: Fallout from Perrilloux saga
Ryan perrilloux
Ryan perrilloux
Editor
Posted Feb 5, 2005


Over the past 12 months (maybe even longer), the name Ryan Perrilloux has become a household name around the state of Louisiana as well as the entire country in terms of high school football recruiting.

A growing debate over recent months has featured grown men arguing over where they believe Perrilloux, the nation’s top rated high school quarterback by some services, would attend college.

 

Last summer, Perrilloux sparked the debate when he committed to Texas. However, he then fanned the flames saying he wasn’t sure about Texas and began toying with the notion of choosing LSU, Mississippi State… even South Florida.

 

As summer turned into fall, Perrilloux wowed and dazzled fans across the country in leading his East St. John team into the state playoffs. While Nick Saban and the Tigers were rolling to a 9-2 regular season in what ended up being the coach’s final year on the bayou, Perrilloux racked up virtually every honor possible including being named Player of the Year by USA Today.

 

And while Perrilloux piled up touchdowns on the field scoring 67 (37 passing, 30 rushing) in his senior season, he had the ability to dole out sound bytes with the same propensity. The media blitz surrounding Perrilloux grew to record heights as the 6-2, 207-pound superstar became quite the media hound. Phrases like “shock the world” and “jaws will drop” kept reporters coming back for more.

 

One year removed from the most notorious happening ever in prep football recruiting, that being the saga of infamous Miami linebacker Willie Williams, the media circus surrounding Perrilloux became an Internet soap opera.

 

“Will he or won’t he? Can he or can’t he? Where will Ryan go?”

 

Fans and the media alike hung on his every word and Perrilloux relished the almost god-like status. On a visit to LSU a week before signing day, Perrilloux was wooed by the Tiger student section at a basketball game. As he walked to his seat, the students chanted Pair-A-Lew, Pair-A-Lew!!

 

After watching the likes of Randy Moss (mooning), Terrell Owens (the Sharpie incident) and Joe Horn (cell phone) allow such attention to go straight to their heads, one can only imagine what this must do to an 18-year-old high school senior being revered as royalty everywhere he goes.

 

That being said, when USAToday.com published a story Wednesday morning in which Perrilloux was quoted as to why he chose LSU, what he said was not a shocker.

 

Perrilloux told Houston-based freelance writer Thayer Evans, “JaMarcus Russell struggled last year and Matt Flynn is definitely not a better quarterback than me.”

 

WHOA!!

 

This guy makes friends fast.

 

However, in the fallout of the USA Today article, LSU issued a press release stating Perrilloux was misquoted. The university said the statement Perrilloux made at his press conference read this way: “JaMarcus kind of struggled a little bit. Matt Flynn really didn’t play too much. Marcus Randall was a senior so I decided LSU probably was the best spot for me.”

 

And don’t blame LSU, that WAS what Perrilloux said at the press conference.

 

However, after speaking with Evans Thursday evening, a phone conversation in which Evans allowed Tiger Rag the opportunity to listen to the tape of a one-on-one interview he had with Perrilloux following the press conference Wednesday, indeed the comments Evans printed in USA Today were accurate.

 

Also in that interview, Perrilloux was quoted as saying he would “throw for 2000 yards next season” as well as be a “Heisman Trophy candidate.”

 

Wow!

 

While Perrilloux is a gifted athlete and his statistics at the high school level are eye-popping, these are pretty strong statements from a guy who will be challenging the likes JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn, who just two years earlier came to LSU with the same type credentials as himself. Plus, toss in the added incentive Flynn and Russell now have after hearing those comments, Perrilloux had better be as good as he says he is.

 

While Perrilloux’s comments are quite shocking as well as abrasive, you cannot totally fault the prep star for allowing his abilities and accomplishments to go to his head. Imagine if you were a high school senior and every media outlet in America was coming to your high school on a daily basis all the while hanging on your every word. It is obvious the craze surrounding recruiting has gotten a bit out of hand. From regional television recruiting broadcasts to publishing a recruit’s personal journal on national websites and in newspapers, the media has created the current level of egotism that surrounds recruiting.

 

Watching Martellus Bennett on Fox Sports News Tuesday night flipping a coin on regional television then choosing neither school featured on the coin to the everyday saga of Perrilloux, it is no wonder why these over-hyped prep stars get the big head.

 

While the Perrilloux issue will fade as the dawn of a new recruiting season is upon us, you must wonder what will be the fallout from what Perrilloux subsequently did or did not say.

 

First and foremost, the policy of freshman not speaking to the media enforced during Saban’s five seasons in Baton Rouge should be kept in tact by Miles, which should save LSU from any potential disasters in the coming year, a critical one for Miles and his staff.

 

Next, Perrilloux needs to spend some quality time with Seimone Augustus. Without a doubt the premiere women’s college basketball player in the country, Augustus was heralded by athletic director Skip Bertman as the “most important recruit in the history of LSU athletics.”

 

Those are some pretty lofty expectations.

 

But Augustus, with little fanfare or self-absorption, has helped turn the Lady Tigers into the class of women’s college hoops. Still as shy as she was the first day on campus, Augustus is clearly the most dominant player in her sport.

 

And if not Augustus, how about Michael Clayton or Marcus Spears? These guys got it done without a lot of hype after coming to LSU rated as the best at their respective positions.

 

Perrilloux had better take a lesson from these LSU greats because humble pie will be a bitter pill to swallow come the August.

 

---

 

Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag Magazine. He can be reached by e-mail at matt@tigerrag.com.



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