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Thursday, January 31, 2013
The One Who Got Away: Ryan Perrilloux

By Max Olson

One of the greatest signing day stunners will go down in history as, believe it or not, a mutually beneficial one.

Texas has been on the losing end of some legendary recruiting battles -- Marcus Dupree and Eric Dickerson top the list -- but when it comes to decommitments, few top the story of Ryan Perrilloux.

Ryan Perrilloux
Elite quarterback Ryan Perrilloux flipped from Texas to LSU on signing day.
Ever since the Reserve (La.) East St. John superstar committed to Texas in July 2004, rumors had been bubbling in the Bayou that Perrilloux eventually would end up with LSU.

Even the departure of Nick Saban to the NFL didn’t quell the whispers. In fact, it might have helped LSU’s case. New coach Les Miles made signing the dual-threat quarterback priority No. 1. All along, though, Perrilloux stuck to his story. He was 100 percent committed to becoming a Longhorn.

The drama never dissipated in the final months of his recruitment. Perrilloux took official visits to LSU and Mississippi State. Despite falling for Miles and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, he continued to publicly declare his allegiance to Texas.

Finally, on signing day, the craziness reached its crescendo. Perrilloux flipped to LSU during a news conference at his high school. One of the wildest recruiting battles the Longhorns have ever known ended in heartbreak.

The deal-breaker? Vince Young. Perrilloux feared he’d be signing up for two seasons on the bench.

In the end, the flip truly was for the best. With Perrilloux out of the picture, Texas was stuck with the other quarterback it signed in 2005, a kid out of Class 2A Jim Ned named Colt McCoy. He went on to rewrite the school’s record books and win more games (45) than any quarterback in NCAA history.

For Miles, the masterful recruiting victory was exactly what he needed to kick off his Tigers coaching tenure. He sent a clear message on that Feb. 2 morning: The state’s best recruits will play for LSU.

And Miles was sure glad he stole Perrilloux at the end of the 2007 season. The sophomore filled in for an injured Matt Flynn and led LSU to a SEC title game victory over Tennessee. The Tigers went on to win it all that season.

That was one of the only highlights of Perrilloux’s three trouble-filled seasons in Baton Rouge. He was kicked off the team and finished his career at Jacksonville State before playing one season in the NFL. At least he’s got something to show for it: Perrilloux added a Super Bowl XLVI ring for his stint with the New York Giants.

He might’ve been one of the great recruiting busts of the past decade, but there’s no denying the Perrilloux saga ended up paying off for both Texas and LSU.