BATON ROUGE, La. - Ryan Perrilloux seemed like a perfect fit for LSU.
The Louisiana native had the rocket arm, mobility and versatility to make him a constant big-play threat and one of the most sought-after quarterback prospects in the country. He even had the French last name.
In spurts as a backup or fill-in starter last season, the sophomore showed the potential to rise to stardom, winning MVP honors in the Tigers’ Southeastern Conference championship game triumph over Tennessee.
His lack of discipline off the field, however, became an increasing distraction for head coach Les Miles, who finally decided Perrilloux’s presence on the roster was more trouble than it was worth.
Perrilloux was kicked off the defending national championship team Friday after a college career marked by legal and disciplinary problems.
Perrilloux “didn’t fulfill his obligation as an LSU student-athlete,” Miles said in a statement. “Ryan was given every opportunity to be a part of this football team.”
Miles did not attribute his decision to any specific recent violation.
Still, it was clear Perrilloux’s repeated breaking of team rules, and sometimes the law, made Miles worry whether it was worth keeping the talented heir-apparent to the starting job and risk another off-the-field distraction next season.
The timing of Miles’ decision gives Perrilloux a chance to transfer to a lower-division program by next fall.
“We hope that a new beginning will benefit him,” Miles said. “I wish Ryan and his family nothing but the best in any of his future endeavors.”
The move also allows LSU to go into the summer without any lingering questions over whether Perrilloux, who was suspended during spring drills for missing team meetings and classes, would rejoin them when practice resumed in August and behave like a leader thereafter.
A backup to Matt Flynn last season, Perrilloux showed glimpses of great promise, drilling receivers downfield or punishing tacklers while running the option.
He played sparingly in LSU’s victory over Ohio State for the national title. But the starting job for this coming season appeared to be his, provided he could avoid trouble off the field.
Perrilloux’s lawyer, Nathan Fisher, declined to comment Friday. Reached at her home in LaPlace, Perrilloux’s mother, Bobbie Breaux, said she and her son preferred not to discuss the matter publicly at this time but may do so later.
The quarterback is expected to finish the spring semester, LSU officials said. He must do so to remain eligible to play next season if he transfers.
Perrilloux also was suspended last summer, when he was on the fringe of a counterfeiting investigation and was caught trying to enter a Baton Rouge casino with false identification.
After being reinstated in August and playing well in the early fall, he was involved in a nightclub fight in November, causing him to miss a game at Alabama. He was later cleared of wrongdoing.
Miles again suspended Perrilloux, whose father died Feb. 7, in mid-February after he missed a team meeting, skipped some classes and was late for conditioning workouts.
Perrilloux had to meet academic requirements and do extra conditioning before he was reinstated April 6, in time to go with the Tigers to meet President Bush at the White House. Perrilloux was not allowed to play in LSU’s spring game.
During the spring, redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee and junior Andrew Hatch, a transfer from Harvard, split time as the quarterback of the Tigers and now will enter next season as the leading candidates for the starting job.
Appearing in 12 of LSU’s 14 games last season with two starts, Perrilloux completed 51 of 75 passes (68 percent) for 694 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Perrilloux also rushed 50 times for 207 yards and two touchdowns.
Perrilloux’s second start came in the SEC championship game, when Flynn was too hurt to play. Perrilloux completed 20 of 30 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown in a 21-14 victory.
Perrilloux was widely considered the nation’s most coveted quarterback recruit when he played at East St. John High School in Louisiana.
His former coach at East St. John, Larry Dauterive, said he had not heard from his former player but had taken more than a dozen calls from Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) programs hoping to land Perrilloux as a transfer.
“I want to see him surface. I want to see him get on the field because he’s such a talented athlete,” Dauterive said. “I’ve been doing this 39 years and I’ve never seen anybody do with a football what he can do. I don’t know if his priorities are screwed up or what. He’s the best athlete I’ve ever been around — ever.”
Dauterive said he never had a problem with Perrilloux and is “flabbergasted” by the troubles he’s had in college.
“He’s a phenom,” Dauterive said. “And to throw that away, it’s mind-boggling to me. I just hope he comes to his senses.”
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