The 10 best Louisiana born players who didn't play at LSU


LSU does a good job at keeping talent in-state.

As the only Power Five program in Louisiana, LSU has a unique advantage shared by only a few other major programs. It hasn't been perfect, though. There have been big misses.

Some of these players LSU tried to recruit and struck out. Others flew under LSU's radar but went on to be NFL stars.

Here, we're going to look at the 10 best Louisiana-born players this century that didn't don the purple and gold. We begin with a big-name quarterback who ended up at a division rival.

Eli Manning


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Perhaps Eli Manning was always bound for Ole Miss, his father's alma mater, but the New Orleans native visited LSU. It was the [autotag]Gerry DiNardo[/autotag] era. It wasn't LSU's greatest point, but the Tigers had some strong teams with solid run games.

According to DiNardo, Archie and Eli Manning spent an entire day checking out LSU's facilities and campus. It wasn't enough. Eli headed across the Louisiana border for Oxford.

He went 1-2 against the Tigers in his time as a starter. LSU was led by [autotag]Nick Saban[/autotag] all three of those games. It would have been cool to see Eli and Saban together at LSU, but that era worked out well for the Tigers, winning the 2003 national title.

Dak Prescott


Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Here we have another QB who did damage at a division rival, though a much different recruitment situation. The story goes that [autotag]Les Miles[/autotag] saw Prescott as a tight end, not a quarterback.

He chose Mississippi State, where he'd eventually lead the Bulldogs to a No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll.

He gave the LSU defense plenty of trouble, despite notching just one win. Against LSU, he eclipsed 100 yards rushing twice. In his final meeting with LSU, he threw for 335 yards and completed 65.4% of his passes.

All of this occurred at a time when LSU struggled at the QB position. The 2015 team would have looked a little different in Dak was paired in the backfield with Leonard Fournette.

Matt Forte


David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Forte didn't generate much attention from LSU. He attended LSU's camp, but didn't pick up an offer. Flying under the radar in the 2004 class, Forte stayed in Louisiana at Tulane.

He turned out to be a prolific back, racking up 5,250 total yards in his collegiate career. He faced LSU twice with the Green Wave, but had just 131 total yards against a couple of strong LSU fronts.

Forte had a long and productive NFL career.

Mike Wallace


Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Wallace is a native of New Orleans and played his high school ball at O. Perry Walker.

His high school coach was [autotag]Frank Wilson[/autotag], LSU's current running backs coach who has a reputation for being an ace recruiter in Louisiana.

Wilson began his collegiate coaching career at Ole Miss under [autotag]Ed Orgeron[/autotag]. Wallace followed Wilson and chose to play for the Rebels.

Wallace's final game against LSU saw the speedy receiver post 99 yards and catch two touchdowns. He went on to put up 8,072 receiving yards in an NFL career that spanned almost a decade.

Ike Taylor


Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Like Forte, Taylor flew under the radar. He played his high school ball in New Orleans and walked on at ULL. He didn't even play cornerback until his senior season, but impressed enough to be selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft.

Taylor's final collegiate year was 2002, so he would have been a part of those Nick Saban defenses at LSU.

CeeDee Lamb


David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Lamb was born in Louisiana but relocated to Texas following Hurricane Katrina. That makes him a Texas recruit.

However, we have seen several players return to LSU despite moving away before high school, including star linebacker [autotag]Harold Perkins[/autotag]. LSU never picked up that much steam with Lamb and he went on to star at Oklahoma where he turned into a first-round pick.

DeVonta Smith


Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of LSU's biggest recruiting misses in some time. LSU was in this one late, but Smith committed to Alabama on signing day in 2017. It was a classic Tigers vs. Tide recruiting battle.

The rest is history. Smith left a mark at Alabama, catching the game-winner in the national championship as a freshman and winning the Heisman in 2020.

LSU came up short on this one, and it came back to haunt the Tigers.

Travis Etienne


[Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

Here's another guy who LSU missed on that helped lead another school to a national title. LSU made a push for Etienne, but it was too late. He was bound for Clemson.

He became one of the ACC's most prolific rushers. Until [autotag]Clyde Edwards-Helaire[/autotag] in 2019, LSU lacked a star at running back for much of Etienne's college days.

LSU would have benefitted from his services.

Landon Collins


Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

You might remember Landon Collins' commitment.

Nationally televised, he put on the Alabama hat. His mom's reaction caused a bit of a stir. She didn't look happy with his choice, saying the family wanted Collins to attend LSU.

He was a five-star and one of LSU's top targets. Collins went on to be one of the SEC's best defenders and a first-round draft pick.

To this day, he's one of LSU's biggest recruiting losses of this century.

Jeffery Simmons


Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to Lamb, Simmons moved away from Louisiana at a young age, making him a Mississippi recruit. He took his talents to Mississippi State, where he was a force on the defensive line.

He caused problems for LSU in 2017, where the Bulldogs put a 37-7 beating on the Tigers. The Titans spent a first-round pick on Simmons in 2019.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire


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