Any LSU football recruiting fans watching John Battle’s commitment announcement Friday may have panicked for a moment as he slipped a purple Tigers cap on his head, then quickly pulled it off.
But Battle, who wants to be a broadcast journalism major, was merely enjoying being the star of the show. He reached off camera and grabbed a purple-and-gold LSU hat instead.
Apparently the Tigers had their latest commitment after he visited LSU’s journalism school and was given the assurance he would be able to run track in college.
“LSU, baby,” Battle said with a broad smile as he made his announcement on SouthFloridaHighSchoolSports.com. “It’s DBU.”
A resident of Hallandale Beach, Fla., which lies between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Battle is the latest in a long line of South Florida prospects. The list includes former LSU All-America cornerback Patrick Peterson and his brother, incoming freshman wide receiver Avery Peterson, both of Pompano Beach, and incoming freshman defensive tackle Maquedius Bain from Fort Lauderdale.
Battle (6-foot-1, 171 pounds) said he had 32 offers, calling Tennessee, South Carolina, N.C. State, Louisville, Southern California and South Florida his other finalists. In the end, LSU’s combination of athletics and academics, plus his relationship with secondary coach Corey Raymond, sealed the deal to make him the Tigers’ 12th commitment for the Class of 2014.
“All the schools had great things about them,” Battle said. “It came down to how comfortable I felt with the broadcast (journalism) program and whether I could run track. I have a great relationship with coach Corey Raymond. We had some great times up there (in Baton Rouge). Hanging out with Les Miles, he’s a great coach and has a drive to win. That’s big boy football (at LSU), and it doesn’t get better than being in the SEC.”
Battle is a consensus three-star prospect, according to the four major recruiting services. His highest rating comes from ESPN, which ranks him the nation’s No. 27 safety prospect. But J.C. Shurburtt, a national recruiting analyst for 24/7 Sports, said Battle has plenty of upside.
“Battle has good hips and instincts and was probably a little overlooked given that he’s in an area that has a high concentration of talent at his position,” he said. “This is a prospect that several SEC programs had higher on their boards than his recruiting ranking indicates.”
Battle is the seventh LSU commitment for 2014 from outside Louisiana and the third this month overall, following Alexandria Senior High wide receiver D.J. Chark (6-1, 176) and Oklahoma City Douglass defensive end Deondre Clark (6-3, 238).
LSU has one other 2014 commitment from Florida — linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed (6-2, 205) from Fort Pierce Central — but there are reports he may wind up at Louisville.
LSU football commitments
Donnie Alexander, LB, 6-1, 196, New Orleans Edna Karr
John Battle, S, 6-1, 171, Hallandale Beach (Fla.) Hallandale
Garrett Brumfield, OG, 6-4, 285, University
D.J. Chark, WR, 6-1, 176, Alexandria (HS)
Deondre Clark, DE, 6-3, 238, Oklahoma City Douglass
William Clapp, OG, 6-4, 270, New Orleans Brother Martin
Chris Hardeman, CB, 5-9, 180, Houston Alief Taylor
Ed Paris, CB, 6-1, 195, Arlington (Texas) Timberview
Sharieff Rhaheed, LB, 6-2, 205, Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central
Tony Upchurch, WR, 6-2, 210, Pearland (Texas) Glenda Dawson.
Devin Voorhies, ATH, 6-1, 185, Woodville (Miss.) Wilkinson County
Jacory Washington, TE, 6-5, 211, Westlake (HS)
Kevin Toliver II, CB, 6-1, 180, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian