Malachi Dupre can see himself, Leonard Fournette and Brandon Harris having an immediate impact at LSU very early next season.
“That would be something,” said Dupre, a five-star wide receiver from John Curtis, on Wednesday after signing with the Tigers. “We’ve all got a lot of hard work to do to if we’re going to live up to our rankings. But the three of us can help LSU do some very big things.”
LSU already had Fournette, the running back from St. Augustine who is the consensus No. 1 recruit in the nation at any position, and Harris, a four-star quarterback from Bossier City Parkway who enrolled in January, in the fold well before Wednesday.
But landing Dupre was a battle that went past midnight Tuesday when the 6-foot-3, 188-pounder finally decided on the Tigers over Florida State and ULCA. Alabama and Ole Miss also had been in the mix.
Signing Dupre is expected to give LSU a No. 2 or 3 final ranking among the national recruiting services behind Alabama.
“We just sat around and discussed it as a family,” Dupre said. “I knew I could be successful and be part of successful teams wherever I went. I finally had to do what was in my heart, and that was to go to LSU.”
At his signing, Fournette said he hadn’t spoken to Dupre since they played together at the UnderArmour All-America game, but that he wasn’t surprised at his decision.
“I think we’ve made a dedication to Louisiana, period,” he said. “I’m excited for him and this is a great statement. Great things are coming from both of us.”
Dupre’s mother, Rosiland, said it was a long and carefully considered process.
“We prayed for his heart to tell him the right thing to do,” she said. “There was a lot of back and forth right up to the last minute, but it definitely brought us closer.”
Dupre’s arrival at LSU this fall coincides with the early NFL departures of wide receiver mainstays Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, opening the opportunity for Young to step into the No. 1 spot right away.
“It’s definitely a position of need,” he said. “But if Odell and Jarvis had stayed, I wasn’t afraid of the competition. Wherever you are, you want to be around great guys who will push you to get better. So that really wasn’t part of my decision.”
Coach J.T. Cutis agreed.
“Florida State and UCLA both lost their best receivers,” he said. “So all of that pretty much evened out.
Dupre’s abilities, which earned him the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver designation from most recruiting services, belied his senior stats (34 receptions, 607 yards, six touchdowns), which came playing in Curtis’ veer offense and in many one-sided games.
“(LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron) has some great offensive schemes,” Dupre said. “I’m really excited about the system I’m going into.”
Dupre added that once he had made his final decision, he and his family did not tell anyone except for the coaches of the schools they were saying “No thanks” before the 9:30 a.m. signing ceremony at the Curtis gym, which aired on ESPNU and featured three of his teammates, Kenny Young (UCLA), Terrance Alexander (Stanford) and Mattrell McGraw (Oregon) casting their lots with Pac-12 schools.
But Dupre said it wasn’t hard to keep the secret.
“I think I was still uncertain until I got to school this morning,” he said. “But the coaches at the other schools understood, and I feel really good about this now.”