What could have been

After numerous attempts to try and help his beleaguered quarterback, LSU Head Coach Les Miles has finally put an end to the Ryan Perrilloux saga.

Ryan Perrilloux came to LSU as Scout.com’s Player of the Year for the Class of 2005 and was one of LSU’s most heralded high school players to ever come out of Louisiana.


He enjoyed a stellar prep career at East St. John where he accounted for 118 touchdowns on the ground and through the air in his last two years alone, and ended his career with 12,705 total yards, which still ranks second all-time in Louisiana behind Brock Berlin.


The problems began early on for Perrilloux before the ink on his national letter-of-intent was even dry as he proclaimed on National Signing Day that he would win numerous Heisman Trophies for the Tigers and paid very little respect to LSU’s young quarterback tandem of JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn.


From there the circus hit the road and it took Perrilloux through a federal counterfeiting investigation and then a casino fiasco where the talented, but troubled, quarterback got caught trying to enter with a fake I.D.


Miles suspended Perrilloux after the casino ordeal and he missed all of the summer workouts as a result of the disciplinary action.


Once the players reported to fall camp for the 2008 season, Perrilloux was reinstated and served as Matt Flynn’s backup for the Mississippi State and Virginia Tech contests.


LSU fans got their first glimpse of what Perrilloux could do when he got his first start against Middle Tennessee State.


The competition may not have been up to SEC standards but Perrilloux dazzled the Tiger Stadium crowd with his rocket of an arm and his knack for making big plays with his feet. He finished the night with 298 yards and three scores through the air and ran for 52 yards before lost yardage from sacks brought his total down to 37.


All in all, the talented signal caller completed 80 percent of his passes on the evening, but more importantly, he gave Tiger fans some hope that if Matt Flynn did not recover from the high ankle sprain he suffered against Virginia Tech then the national championship dream would still be alive.


Flynn returned to action against South Carolina and led the Tigers to victory but he did so with the help of Perrilloux’s legs that accounted for 59 yards on the ground on only eight rushes.


Speculation surfaced that Perrilloux missed some team meetings the week after South Carolina and although no statement was ever released it was very odd that for the first time all year he saw very little action when it was painfully obvious that Flynn was not close to being 100 percent against Tulane.


Many would have thought that the Tulane game would have served as a wake-up call but four weeks later Mr. Perrilloux was in the news again for a fight that happened at a local nightclub during the bye-week that preceded one of the biggest games of the year at Alabama.


Perrilloux was not charged by police for the incident at the Varsity nightclub but he was disciplined internally and did not play in the narrow win over the Crimson Tide.


Miles played Perrilloux sparingly the in the two weeks leading up to the home finale against Arkansas when once again talk of him breaking team rules began to surface.


Flynn suffered a shoulder injury against the Razorbacks but he finished the game and Perrilloux did not see the field.


Despite the regular-season ending loss to Arkansas, LSU made it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game and had a slither of hope that it could make it to the BCS Championship Game.


Tennessee was standing between the Tigers and any chance of making it to a BCS bowl, let alone the game for all of the marbles that was in LSU’s backyard.


To make matters worse, LSU had to face a Tennessee squad without its starting quarterback in Flynn and had to rely on a field general that had been very unreliable all year long.


Perrilloux stepped up and delivered a sterling performance against the Volunteers and was selected the game’s most outstanding player on the offensive side of the ball.


Once again, the standout quarterback showed what he could do on the field but there never was any question about his skills between the lines. It was his decision-making off the field that Tiger fans and the LSU coaches were concerned with.


LSU went on to win the BCS Championship and a lot of credit must go to Perrilloux because he played a big role in the Tigers’ storybook season.


Once the season ended, though, the problems began to arise again as Perrilloux was suspended for spring practice.


He was expected to return to the practice fields several times throughout the spring but he did not complete the requirements that were set forth by Miles which included work in the classroom and some extra running and conditioning work. As a result, he missed all of spring practice and did not play in the spring game.


Miles actually reinstated Perrilloux with full privileges the week before the spring game and when the Tigers left to go to Washington D.C. to meet the President of the United States he was right there with everyone else.


There was talk that President Bush took a little time to speak to Perrilloux and if that did in fact happen then it had little affect.


Exactly what the final straw was that made Miles dismiss his projected starting quarterback for the Tigers’ upcoming title defense is still unclear.


What is not unclear, though, is the fact that Miles gave Perrilloux every opportunity to turn his life around and no one can fault the Tigers’ headman for that.


“Ryan was given every opportunity to be a part of this football team,” Miles said. “In the end, he didn’t fulfill his obligation as an LSU student-athlete. We hope that a new beginning will benefit him.


“I wish Ryan and his family nothing but the best in any of his future endeavors.”


You will hear plenty of rumors of what the straw was that broke Miles’ back but rumors and innuendo do not do a kid that has some serious issues he needs to sort out any justice.


Three suspensions and more drama surrounding an LSU player than I can ever recall, the Ryan Perrilloux book is finally closed but there are many missing chapters.


A book that could have been filled with dreams that turned into reality will now be overflowing with stories of what could have been.


There are going to be plenty of comparisons made of Perilloux and talk about what he could have done on the Tiger Stadium turf over the coming days, months, and even years.


The biggest comparison will probably be made to former LSU running back Cecil Collins, who had all of the talent in the world and the ability to get paid millions of dollars to play the game of football.


Yes, Perrilloux has that same type of talent and ability.


But, for the young man’s sake, let’s hope he gets his life on track and doesn’t take the same road that Collins traveled.

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