Coming into the fall there were two absolute certainties surrounding the 2022 LSU Tigers:
- They would be decent at best
- Kayshon Boutte was going to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft the second it was possible
Turns out we were wrong on both counts.
LSU, despite being picked fifth in the SEC West, won the division, and Kayshon Boutte announced he’d be returning to LSU for his senior season.
“LSU has been nothing short but amazing to me,” Boutte said in a Twitter post. “My growth under the new staff has helped me to reach new levels. While we did not achieve the overall goal, we still fought and produced results that will be a stepping stone for future success. The goal is always to win a national championship at LSU and that will never change. We made strides this year but ultimately fell short. That is why I believe we can accomplish many things moving forward.
“I believe in this team, coaches, strength staff, nutrition staff, and training staff. It is important to follow your dreams and live with the results. While some stories will end here, mine will not...
“Let’s lock in and focus on the main goal of any LSU Tiger: winning a national championship.”
This...wow. This is stunning and incredible. Boutte came into the 2022 football season as a top-10 prospect in this spring’s draft. And while Boutte may not have put up the numbers we were accustomed to seeing, there’s no doubt his talent is equal to former Tigers like Landry, Beckham, Chase, and Jefferson.
Of all the players to validate the culture change Brian Kelly has had on this program, none are bigger than Boutte. All spring many wondered would Boutte transfer; this season his body language looked downright awful and some of us (myself included) wondered why even play Boutte if he’s just going be this disengaged.
And yet Boutte’s coming back for a senior season. He’s passing on millions upon millions of dollars to come back for one more run and, as he put it, win a national championship.
Who knows the ripple effect this will have in the LSU locker room. Could BJ Ojulari come back now? Could Jaquelin Roy? It’s possible.
If more draft-eligible players like Kayshon Boutte elect to come back for year two of the Brian Kelly era, the Tigers could very well find themselves back in Atlanta this time next year. And maybe this time they’ll win it.