This last weekend was an important one for the future of the LSU 2021 class as 14 recruits from across the nation gathered in Baton Rouge to take in the city and campus.
Among the uncommitted players in the pack was local Lafayette product Sage Ryan, who is one of the top safeties in the country. Ryan has seen the campus a fair amount of times but never with some of his fellow recruits, who he's had the opportunity to bond with over the last few months.
"It was real cool, I was able to get a feel for how college really is with some of those guys and it was just a fun atmosphere, a fun group to hang with," Ryan said. "It was real fun, we got to do a lot of stuff around campus and it's kinda like we took over that campus this weekend and LSU didn't even know."
Among the activities the group was able to do was visit Mike the Tiger, eat dinner at Ruffino's restaurant and cap off the evening with a trip to Top Golf.
"We got to build a relationship with some of the top recruits," Ryan said. "I've been in contact with Maason [Smith] a lot so we was catching up. Also got to see Korey [Foreman], Raesjon [Davis], Chris, [Hilton]. I kinda already knew half of them because they've been hitting me up on social media so it was cool to get to talk to them in person."
Ryan plans on dropping a top-three very soon with the hopes of taking his three official visits soon there after if recruiting is opened back up. If that opportunity doesn't present itself, Ryan said his commitment could come at any time and doesn't really have a specific timeline.
"It's going pretty good the last few weeks, not too stressful," Ryan said. "Then I'll just go ahead and commit after that. I doubt that I'm going to commit right before the season. With me, it could come any time, any day and it just depends on it being the right decision at the right time."
In terms of his relationship with LSU, that connection has only grown stronger in the last few months. Ryan doesn't go a day without speaking with somebody from the LSU program whether it's cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, safeties coach Bill Busch or Ed Orgeron.
"I got a great relationship with all of those guys," Ryan said. "They do a pretty good job of recruiting and checking in on me. I'm communicating with them every day."
The LHSAA will move forward with its season starting on Oct. 8 which is music to local recruits like Ryan's ears. Ryan is preparing for his senior season at Lafayette Christian High School, where he hopes to finish on a strong note.
"It's real exciting, I was kind of in doubt about the season but they finally ruled that we could play," Ryan said. "I'm just ready to be a leader to the young guys and the guys under me. I'm ready to get going and play my last year."
Here's Ryan's SI All-American player profile and scouting report:
Frame: Compact frame with muscular build in upper and lower half. Developed quads with clear definition.
Athleticism: Dynamic accelerator with true conversion of speed to power. Can get to top speed in short order with sustainability. One of the fastest track sprinters in Louisiana, which says plenty at nearly 200 pounds. Sub 4.5-second timings in the 40-yard dash to boot. Strong, explosive leaper from stationary or mobile positioning.
Instincts: Mentality of an enforcer with strong downhill commitment. Great speed combines very well with lower-body power to create devastating hits in space or in traffic. Finds most success in linear game but has some lateral ability with great center of gravity.
Polish: Built to play in the box despite great speed. Impacts all three phases of the game at prep level with rover responsibility on defense. Can come off the hash with purpose and separate the ball from the intended target but lacks some coverage fundamentals. Could stand to improve hip fluidity and leverage in space.
Bottom Line: Ryan can flash in the secondary like few others in the 2021 class from a speed and power standpoint. He has the instincts of a linebacker with the build and speed of a defensive back, making him a candidate for safety or nickel type roles in a modern defense. As his coverage consistency begins to match his pursuit of ball careers and thump on contact, he will make it hard on a defensive coordinator to keep him off the field in the SEC.