BATON ROUGE, La. – A picture often can become clear with the benefit of hindsight.
LSU coaches and fans were surprised Wednesday when five-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. signed with Alabama after declaring LSU as his leader throughout his years-long recruitment. But Surtain’s father, Patrick Surtain, Sr., might have provided a glimpse into his son’s thinking during a radio interview last week.
“Coaching stability,” Surtain Sr. said on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge when asked what his son was considering in choosing a school.
Nick Saban just finished his 11th season in Tuscaloosa – his longest tenure at any one stop – and polished off his fifth national title with the Tide in January.
The hardware certainly played a role, too.
“Obviously, he wants to win,” the elder Surtain said. “I was telling Pat this is one of the times he has to be selfish in the decision-making process. He can’t worry about hurting anybody’s feelings. He’s got to do what’s best for him and be comfortable around the people because, ultimately, that’s what makes the program – the people and who he surrounds himself with.”
Surtain Sr. prepped at New Orleans Edna Karr and still has family in south Louisiana. He played at Southern Miss before being drafted in the second round by the Miami Dolphins in 1998. Surtain earned All-Pro honors in 2002 and made three Pro Bowls during his 11-year NFL career with the Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.
Currently the coach at private-school powerhouse American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla., Surtain acknowledged interviewing for a job on Nick Saban’s staff but conceded “they chose to go in a different direction.”
Surtain Jr. is the top-ranked cornerback in this class, as well as a top-10 prospect overall.
(You can follow Matt Moscona on Twitter @MattMoscona)
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