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RYAN YAITES: LSU'S 2023 COMMIT ON A CHAMPIONSHIP MISSION


By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


"I'ma show him next game, watch I'ma get this 23 miles per hour!" Ryan Yaites laughed with his usual mischievous cackle, talking smack to his father, the biggest "doubter" of his own son's speed. Like any instinctive, caring father, Ryan's dad understands exactly how talented his son is...and of course, saves his best jokes for when highlighting the areas where his son can improve.


Just another day for the Yaites family: father & son trash-talking, Ryan's ever-expanding future in or out of football and Denton Guyer's exciting, thus-far undefeated 10-0 season and playoff run just around the corner....an opening date against Marcus High in the 6A Division II State Tournament tonight.

Fall 2022....

Ryan's senior year...

After this last home salvo, Ryan Yaites will be an LSU Tiger, living in Baton Rouge 450 miles away from his parents....for the first time in his life.

"My wife and I are excited and sad at the same time," Ryan's father told LSUOdyssey.com. "It's hard letting them grow up and leave the house. We have definitely been stocking up on the purple and gold gear, though."

Before he leaves Texas for Baton Rouge, there's still a few major high school accomplishments on the table:

Currently playing a key veteran role at the backend of Guyer's top 10 nationally rated defense, Yaites is surrounded by a well-renowned bloodhound crew, one of the deepest and most experienced in Texas.

This group may also be the defense with the most intelligence, basing their multi-call schemes around the high football IQ of their players, allowing their secondary titans, specifically Ryan Yaites, to trust themselves on the field.

Loaded in most positions, these 2022 Wildcats are lining up with studs such as Eli & Peyton Bowen and high octane linebacker Caleb Darthard, a few key Wildcat defenders who are playing out of their minds this fall.


Headlined by an all-world defense, Guyer continues to shut down opponents at will, limiting 7 of 10 opponents under 20 points allowing just 5 teams to score 7 points or less, Guyer have chopped their way through Texas 6A Division II ball possessed by a fury; Thanks to an impressive offense, led by 5 star QB Jackson Arnold, running back Trey Joyner and rising WR Josiah Martin, Guyer's defensive efforts usually generates points.

Around the program and among Texas high school football's towering coaching / media nexus, there is a feeling in the Denton community that 2022 is starting to line up in their favor.

No question, Guyer are aiming to avenge last year's state title game defeat at the hands of Austin Westlake; Though a rematch with Westlake isn't possible, returning to win a state title with his friends is the main thing Ryan has been thinking about all year.

In his element when he's clowning with closest pals Jackson Arnold or Peyton Bowen, this group's comedic chemistry rivals even their strongest on field athleticism.

"Jackson, Peyton and Ryan always talk noise to each other about each other's colleges," Ryan's Dad told us. "Of course Ryan is loving that he is winning the arguments with LSU and he always bring up the number of scholarship athletes we have."


Beyond trash-talking or pranks gone wrong, the bond between Guyer's senior power trio was forged through many years of practices, camps, wins, losses, the triumph of victory, agony of defeat....all of it.

The friendship between these three has run the gamut....which has made this next phase of the season intense to say the least.

Due to Peyton Bowen's Notre Dame commitment, Jackson Arnold's Oklahoma decision and Ryan Yaites' firm verbal to LSU, the next month will supply a series of nights where each game could be their last dance as teammates.

For Ryan, the mission is simple: bring it home....one game at a time.

After last year's title game, Ryan has been working tirelessly to deliver glory for Guyer:

Following a brilliant junior year which saw Ryan's offers pile up as he recorded 42 tackles, 8 pass break ups and an interception, 2021 turned bittersweet at the final hurdle:

In the second of two state title game losses to Westlake in 3 years, Yaites was beaten on a few key plays by their 4 star WR Jaden Greathouse....236 yards later, LSU's highly prized 2023 commit was forced to learn a harsh lesson on high school football's biggest stage.

However, his title game performance did nothing to stop his motivation, uncanny drive, upward trajectory or wipe away his swaggering, ever-present smile...nor would it stop a wild flurry of offers coming his way, with everyone from Marcus Freeman's Notre Dame, Brent Venables' Oklahoma, Auburn, Ole Miss, Texas, Oregon and USC (among others) all feverishly pursuing Yaites.

But there was one school who made sure to do whatever possible to secure Ryan's interest: LSU.

Largely ignored by Coach Ed Orgeron's prior Tiger regime, Yaites' evolution as a celebrated favorite among LSU nation coincided with the launch of Brian Kelly's recruiting takeover, becoming just the third Tiger committing to Kelly's 2023 class.


It all started once Brian Kelly accepted the LSU job and immediately hired Kerry Cooks, his safeties coach at Notre Dame. Throughout their Irish tenure, Kelly and Cooks were recruiting Yaites in active supporting roles, though future Head Coach Marcus Freeman took the lead.

During their transition from Notre Dame to LSU, both Cooks and Kelly ratcheted up their relationship with Ryan, calling upon Kelly's longtime target to pave the way for a then-barren 2023 class and a DBU brand in need of an identity.

Only a matter of months after Kelly's arrival, Ryan committed to LSU, making him the second Tiger to verbally pledge under Brian Kelly.

Over the next 3 months, in the wake of Ryan's trailblazing LSU endorsement, Brian Kelly's 2023 class rose from the mid 40s on the 247 rankings to a bona fide top 5 class across the board......all starting from the influence of Ryan Yaites and Michael Daugherty's early Tiger commitments.

Shutting down his recruitment after an unofficial visit in October, Yaites just returned to LSU for another incredible weekend trip to watch his future team.


Using an official visit to celebrate his Father's birthday, as well as experiencing one of the greatest games in LSU history, Ryan and his parents had a blast & continue to be all in for Kelly's new era in purple & gold.

And it's not hard to see why Yaites is so in-demand and well-liked amongst his peers or by coaches & trainers around the country:

For an ex safety and defensive back obsessive such as myself, watching Ryan's 2021 and 2022 game tape is football at its instinctively primal best:


One of the more entertaining, versatile and mature high school defenders of 2023, Ryan Yaites possesses a wide range of elite skills.

Showcasing advanced pre-snap diagnosis, an exacting ability to track runners, fight through the wash and delete ball carriers in a stacked box or displaying next level tackling on an island and organization over the middle, there's no wonder Yaites' presence for Guyer has been integral over the past three seasons.

Plus, when needed, Yaites can help out any coach by moving from strong or free safety to nickel or cornerback, starting multiple games at each spot throughout his high school career. During that time, Yaites registered interceptions in every season, broke up passes when deployed in each position, and continues to improve his high grade coverage by the game.

While his tape from 2021 showcases a hungry, high-flying juggernaut poised to announce himself to the football world, these 10 games across 2022 displayed maturity & an extra added dimension of selflessness to his resume, elevating his teammates.

Yaites not only owns the mentality & multifaceted skill set to play wherever his coach needs him most, he is more than capable of finding a final, settled home at any of the 3 defensive back spots.

Classified as a safety, Ryan is really just an all around jack-of-all-trades DB.....going from safety one game, nickel the next, corner after and if necessary, all three in the same game.

In 2022, Ryan has found himself stationed at cornerback more than any other spot, and while you'd suspect a labeled safety would "dread" playing cornerback, guarding receivers mano e mano is actually the Guyer stalwart's favorite position.


But above all other stone cold attributes which make Ryan Yaites a must for LSU??

His infectious personality, locker room loyalty, on field leadership and fun-loving nature created the perfect prototype for Brian Kelly's Graduate Champions moniker.

"Goofy is what I'm always calling him, the kid is just a goof," Ryan's father laughed over the phone with me when describing his son, "But when he's on the field...he's like a different Ryan.....all business..."

By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips

©️ 2022 Uninterrupted Writings Inc


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