DONALDSONVILLE — There were speeches and a highlight reel that displayed what Donaldsonville High wide receiver Stephen Sullivan did as a senior football player.
After about 30 minutes, the crowd assembled at the Donaldsonville High commons area Saturday night got its chance. Friends, teammates, coaches and family members erupted into cheers when Sullivan reached into a golden box and pulled out an LSU hat.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Sullivan announced he was recommitting to the Tigers during the gathering that attracted 40 or so people.
And LSU got a Christmas present a day late. A four-star recruit, Sullivan is listed as Louisiana’s No. 8 player in the Class of 2016 by 247 Sports. He is rated 17th nationally among wide receivers and 101st overall.
“I had to look at how far my family would have to drive and where I’d fit in and what fits me,” Sullivan said. “I felt like LSU was the best fit for me.”
Sullivan committed to LSU before his junior season. He decommitted from the Tigers during the fall and announced last week that his finalists were LSU, TCU and Mississippi State. He said the job situation involving LSU coach Les Miles had some impact on his decision but added that he knew the Tigers were going to be his choice when Miles retained his job.
“I realized there were other things out there in the world I needed to see to make sure I was making the right decision,” Sullivan said. “And after I saw those things, I realized there was no place like LSU. TCU and Mississippi State are both great schools. But I could only pick one school, and LSU it was.”
Sullivan had more than 1,000 receiving yards as a senior for the Class 3A Tigers.
DHS assistant coach Jay Dykes was among of the coaches who praised Sullivan.
“I’m glad it’s LSU, but to us as coaches, it was never ‘who,’ it was that he had the opportunity to do this,” Dykes said. “When he committed to LSU when he was a sophomore, everybody was happy. But I couldn’t blame him when he decided to decommit. It’s a process and this is a time in his life that’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
“Any obstacles and barriers he’s dealt with on a daily basis and he always did the right thing. He worked himself into this position. To me, that’s more of a testimonial to the kind of person he is than the fact he was offered a scholarship by the flagship university.”
Dykes described Sullivan as physically an “SEC-type guy. He’s got all the tools. He’s a blank frame and once he gets inside that system at LSU, he’s going to do nothing but blossom.” Sullivan dismissed questions about the LSU offense and the Tigers’ other receivers.
“I plan to go in there competing, trying to get a spot ... trying to get on the field,” Sullivan said.