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LSU cornerback Eli Ricks (1) on the field, Friday, August 6, 2021, on the Tigers' first day of fall practice.

Former LSU cornerback Eli Ricks said when the school announced it was letting coach Ed Orgeron go, he knew it was time for him to go as well.

“Ed Orgeron was the main reason why I committed to LSU out of high school,” Ricks told 247Sports. “He’s my guy, that’s the coach I’ve known since I was 10 years old. I first met him at a USC camp, and we had an instant connection and a great relationship ever since.

“Once he left, I knew it was going to be hard to play for a new head coach that I wasn’t already familiar with. It’s going to be my third defense in three years there as well. (Former defensive coordinator and current Baylor coach) Dave Aranda was my lead recruiter out of high school, and he left LSU for Baylor my first week on campus. Now with Coach O leaving, I just felt like this was the move for me to make.”

Reports surfaced Monday that Ricks planned to enter the transfer portal. He has been out since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum after LSU lost Oct. 9 at Kentucky.

The former five-star prospect is arguably the top available transfer in the country right now. He told 247Sports that so far he has four schools on his short list as possible transfer destinations: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and USC.

Ricks graduated from IMG Academy in Florida but grew up in Southern California.

Ricks told 247Sports he never visited Alabama when he was recruited by LSU, but that he has been in touch with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and his family.

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“It’s a great program with a great track record of developing defensive backs and getting them drafted,” Ricks said. “With Bama, I know it’s competitive there, but I’m a competitive guy and I’m going to be ready to compete wherever I go.”

Ricks said he hasn’t talked to Georgia coach Kirby Smart but has visited with defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae.

“I love their style of play and how they play defense,” he said. “Their defensive line is so good that the corners don’t get a lot of action, but I think I would fit in really well there.”

Ricks said Ohio State was his No. 2 choice out of high school. He and Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud played Pop Warner football together when they were 7, he said.

“They’re a winning program and that’s important to me,” Ricks said. “I like coach (Ryan) Day, and he was one of the guys I talked with back in high school, too. He’s a great coach, and there’s a lot of things about Ohio State that stand out.”

Ricks said he hopes to make his decision by mid-December and enroll in January.

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com