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Kayshon Boutte is not returning to Louisiana State University for his senior season in 2023. The 20-year-old wide receiver changed his mind and his decision comes with curious timing.
Boutte, a former five-star recruit in the Class of 2020, grew up in the Bayou State and committed to play for the Tigers in 2018. He gave little consideration to going anywhere but LSU. He was always going to play in purple and gold under the lights in Death Valley.
However, Kayshon Boutte’s career did not quite go as he had expected.
Boutte is an incredible athlete with all of the “intangibles” for a pass-catcher. The 6-foot-0, 205-pound junior is quick and shifty with strong hands and the ability to take over games when called upon.
The only problem was that Boutte was not called upon as often as he might have liked. Especially in 2022.
As a freshman, during the COVID-shortened season, Boutte caught 45 passes for a career-high 735 yards and five touchdowns with a rotation of Max Johnson, T.J. Finley and Myles Brennan at quarterback. As a sophomore, in 2021, he dealt with injury, but still managed to catch nine touchdowns and averaged 13.4 yards per catch in six games.
Boutte did not match that production in 2022. With Jayden Daniels at quarterback, he caught a career-high 48 passes but averaged just 11.2 yards per catch (still impressive) and scored only twice.
Despite the fact that he was the team’s second-leading receiver, there was a clear disconnect with Boutte and Daniels throughout the season. Especially early on.
It was hard not to notice that something was off.
Boutte even said — in Week 8 (!!) — that the connection between him and his quarterback was still evolving.
Things started to come together at the end of the year, but Boutte’s was nowhere near the Biletnikoff Award numbers that he expected from himself and others expected from him. It was a very meh year.
Kayshon Boutte announced that he was returning to LSU.
No matter the reason, perhaps because he didn’t have the opportunity to display his first-round talent in 2022, Boutte said that he was going back to play one last year with the Tigers in 2023. He wanted to win a national championship.
That was on December 5th.
Last week, prior to the Christmas holiday, Daniels also announced the same.
Many (if not most) thought that he would turn pro, with an opportunity to take advantage of a lackluster quarterback draft class. That would have opened up the position for Nussmeier, a four-star in waiting, or Walker Howard, a four-star from last year’s class.
Instead, Daniels is running it back. Boutte was set to join him.
And then the latter changed his mind and declared for the NFL Draft.
Boutte did not expand on his decision. He did not give reason for the change of heart.
However, the timing of his declaration is curious and notable.
Boutte and Daniels didn’t click. They never quite got to that point.
Perhaps the former decided that the NFL money was too good to pass up. Perhaps he decided that going pro would be the better move for the health of his body.
Or, maybe, Boutte was not interested in playing another year with Daniels at the helm in Baton Rouge?
Makes you think…
No matter the reason, Boutte will join a class with USC’s Jordan Addison, TCU’s Quentin Johnston, OSU’s Jaxson Smith-Njigba, BC’s Zay Flowers, UNC’s Josh Downs, Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, SMU’s Rashee Rice and Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims, among others. It’s a deep class, but there is no denying that Boutte made LSU better when he was on the field as one of the most dynamic players in the SEC.