PLANTATION, Fla. — Just like that the path to LSU was over.
Patrick Surtain, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound, five-star defensive back from American Heritage, seemingly was the prize recruit for LSU coming into national signing day Wednesday.
But just like that, the thought of Surtain playing for the Tigers was over.
Alabama, winners of seven straight football games over the LSU, was victorious again when its late push in the recruiting process nabbed Surtain when he pulled out a Crimson Tide hat and announced his intentions of signing the dotted line to play for Alabama.
The University of Miami and Clemson were also in the mix in the late recruiting process for Surtain’s skill set.
Surtain’s decision came late Tuesday night, but not without an emotional backdrop.
The top uncommitted prospect entering signing day isn't coming to Baton Rouge.
“Coach (Nick) Saban has been doing a great job with his players, and every year they are competing for a nation championship,” Surtain said. “It was a tough decision. LSU was my school, and last night when I was thinking about this, I broke down in tears. That’s how tough it was. I think this was the right decision.”
Surtain entered signing day as the No. 1 ranked cornerback in the country by and the No. 11 player in the country regardless of position, according to 247Sports. He finished his career at Heritage with back-to-back Class 5A state championships and a 27-game winning streak.
As most opponents shied away from Surtain, he finished with five career interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Surtain’s pedigree was courted by LSU for two years, a fact which makes it more disappointing for Tigers fans, especially now that he’ll be calling Tuscaloosa home.
His father, Patrick Surtain Sr., is a native of New Orleans and played at Southern Miss before becoming an All-Pro defensive back in the NFL. Those ties to the region gave hope to the LSU football program.
“He’s had love for LSU since he was a kid,” said Surtain Sr. “I told him to stay humble and be selfish as a football player. Do what makes him happy, and he chose Alabama.”
Surtain was introduced to football by his father when he was five years old. His Dad said his son fell in love with the game immediately.
“Now he’s going to the most prominent university,” Surtain Sr. said. “I’m still torn, because I have such a love for LSU. Everybody was expecting him to go to LSU, but Alabama came in, and he just couldn’t pass on it.”
Surtain will have an opportunity for playing time as the secondary will have some rebuilding to do.
He will compete with Trevon Diggs, Saivion Smith, Jared Mayden and Shyheim Carter for a possible starting gig.
And Alabama plays Nov. 3 at LSU.
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