Some thought after the 2008-09 season, that it was a foregone conclusion, that LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell would be leaving school early to declare for the draft.
The 6-foot-3, 210 pound receiver has already achieved team success (a 2007 National Championship) and individual success (led the SEC in receptions, tied for the lead in touchdowns, and was second in receiving yards in 2008), while at LSU.
He was also projected to be a first round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and at the very least he would have been an early second-round selection.
So why come back?
Because LaFell is looking to become more than just one of the better receivers of his time or just one of the best LSU receivers in the past 10 years, he is trying to become one of the greatest LSU receivers ever.
Becoming one of the greatest receivers in LSU history isn’t a small task, either.
LSU has had eight different wide receivers taken in the NFL Draft since 2002—five in the first two rounds—and some of those players left LSU considered as some of the best to ever step foot in Death Valley.
Josh Reed, taken in the second round of the 2002 Draft by the Buffalo Bills, still holds nine different school records in receiving categories, including most catches in a season (94), most receiving yards in a season (1,740), and most receiving yards for a career (3,001).
Dwayne Bowe, taken in the first round of the 2007 Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, is currently the record holder in three different receiving categories at LSU, including touchdown receptions in a season (12) and over a career (26).
Michael Clayton, taken in the first round of the 2004 Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is only one reception off of the school’s all-time receptions record held by Wendell Davis and he was the first player drafted from LSU’s 2003 National Championship team.
These three are considered to be not only some of the greatest to ever dawn an LSU jersey, but some of the greatest to ever come through the SEC.
While LaFell has had an impressive career at LSU, if he would have left last year, he would not have been thought of in the same regard as these three athletes who were and still are to this day.
But with a great performance this season, LaFell will no longer be considered as one of the good ones, he will be looked upon as one of the great ones.
If he were to catch 66 passes and 13 touchdowns this season, he would be the all-time leader in those categories at LSU.
That’s right, more than Reed, Bowe, or Clayton had ever caught.
And if he were to just duplicate his numbers from last season (63 catches, 929 yards and eight touchdowns), he would leave LSU as third in school-history in receptions, third in receiving yards, and second in touchdown catches.
With career numbers like that, there would be no denying his status as one of the all-time great receivers in the history of LSU.
Returning to school does have risk; however, as LaFell puts himself in a position to lose money in next year’s draft by either getting hurt this season or underperforming...having his stock drop in the eyes of NFL scouts.
If you have a chance to go past being one of the best and put yourself in a position to be considered the best, how can you pass that up?