“Family over everything.”
That was the overriding message after Lafayette Christian Academy five-star safety Sage Ryan committed to LSU during a news conference Saturday morning in his school’s gymnasium.
Ryan – the nation’s top-ranked safety – chose LSU over Alabama and Clemson.
“To be in this position is amazing,” Ryan said. “My family guided me through this process. Like my uncle (LCA director of football operations Trev Faulk) said it was family over everything. My people are in Louisiana, so that’s what I went with.”
The emotions were raw when Ryan unzipped his black hoodie and revealed a white LSU polo shirt. He later added an LSU hat and heart-felt embrace with his mother and Faulk who were by his side.
Ryan’s ties to LSU’s program were strong with not only Faulk, a former standout linebacker for the Tigers, but current LSU running backs coach Kevin Faulk, a former All-American running back at the school where he’s inducted in the school’s hall of fame.
National reports surfaced during the latter part of the week that Alabama had surfaced as the choice for Ryan, who said he made his decision Wednesday but not without some anxious moments for fans of either school.
“It was real close,” he said. “It was 50-50 out of LSU and Alabama. I really couldn’t go wrong with either program. I loved the way they both recruited me. I love both places, Bryant-Denny (Stadium), LSU’s Tiger Stadium. I put it in my mind I would be successful at either place, but I chose LSU.”
Ryan has been among the driving forces in LCA’s last two state championships, including last in year in Division II where he was a Class 2A All-State selection with more than 1,700 yards of all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns.
He also excels on special teams where he combined for six touchdowns on either kickoff or punt returns.
‘Big Stage Sage’ was at his usual best in Friday’s District 6-2A showdown with Notre Dame where Ryan carried 11 times for 173 yards and 3 TDs and caught two passes for 25 yards in the Knights’ 42-21 victory.
“I said the main thing was to focus on Friday and then Saturday would take care of itself,” Ryan said.
Ryan’s the nation’s No. 28 overall prospect, top-rated safety and No. 2 prospect in Louisiana. His mix of speed (4.45-40), strength, athleticism and instincts make him a candidate to play several different positions at LSU where he’s capable of playing either safety, cornerback or nickelback.
“I know I could succeed at both schools,” Ryan told Rivals.com “I liked them both and they both persuaded me, but a spot isn’t guaranteed. They have four to six five-stars on the team (already). It’s all five-stars and they preached to me that I have to work for the job.”
Ryan’s the 20th commitment in LSU’s Class of 2021 which received a bump to No. 4 in 247Sports’ national rankings. He’s also the Tigers highest-rated prospect, first five-star recruit and fifth in-state commitment.
“It was just a family thing,” Ryan said. “I just felt more comfortable at home.”