Commentary

Ricardo Louis finds the perfect fit

Four-star athlete was almost FSU bound but believed Auburn where he belonged

Originally Published: February 2, 2012
By J.T. Wilcox | ESPN RecruitingNation

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- After a two-week span where Miami Beach star Ricardo Louis vacillated between Auburn and Florida State, he kept the 75 people gathered in the school's media center waiting an extra 40 minutes.

He had to get a haircut.

[+] EnlargeRicardo Louis
J.T. Wilcox for ESPN.comRicardo Louis was finally relieved to have the recruiting process over, as he picked the Auburn Tigers on national signing day.
Freshly coifed, Louis put on an Auburn hat and announced his intent to play for the Tigers next season Wednesday afternoon.

Louis, a versatile 6-foot-2 athlete with 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash, kept everyone in suspense of his decision to the last minute. Prior to making his announcement, he reached for the Florida State hat on the table and briefly picked it up then he put it down and grabbed the Auburn hat.

As of last week, Louis broke his original commitment to the Tigers and made a verbal commitment to Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles. Days after that, he decommitted from Florida State and opened up the process again.

Ultimately, the No. 21 ranked player on the ESPN 150 said it was the feeling of family that swayed his decision to join the Tigers -- who went 8-5 last season.

"I got a very good feeling when I went there on my visit," Louis said. "It felt a lot like home -- a lot like how it feels for me [at Miami Beach]. I feel like I'm making the right choice."

Then why the indecision so close to signing day?

"Florida State came in and was saying a lot of the same stuff that Auburn was, and I had to consider it because it's a state school and I'd be able to be fairly close home," Louis said. "But I gave it a lot of thought, and I know Auburn is the right choice for me."

Louis' decision also sat well with his father, Roland, who flanked his son during the announcement and donned an orange and blue Auburn hat after.

"My dad has been my inspiration my whole life," Louis said. "He's been a great example of what it takes to be a man and he's been my side my entire life. He's always inspired me and kept me in line to get to this point."

Louis said his dad has always played an active role in his football career and it didn't change when college recruiters came knocking.

"I made sure I did my research about all the schools that recruited my son, especially when he told me that he was going to choose between Auburn and FSU," the elder Louis said. "I feel like Auburn gives him the best combination of athletics and academics, and I am very happy with his choice."

"Of course I'd like for him to be right here in Miami, so I can see him play every week, but that's just the selfish parent in me."

For the War Eagle faithful, they'll get to see an athlete who played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, linebacker, and safety at the high school level -- excelling at each one but especially as a running back and receiver.

During his senior season, Louis accounted for 14 total offensive touchdowns and registered over 60 tackles on defense. Louis' high school coach Ralph Jimenez threw out a name that is sure to make the Auburn Nation smile.

"He's kind of Cam Newton-ish," Jimenez, who coached Louis since he was a freshman, said. "He's got that winning smile, and he's a great kid that works hard and is hungry."

"Auburn is getting a great one."

Because of his playmaking ability and speed, Louis will likely be solely a wide receiver for the Chick-fil-A-Bowl winners -- something Louis said coach Gene Chizik confirmed.

"Coach Chizik just told me that he wants me to come there and be a man," Louis said. "I want to go in and work hard, learn the system so I can play right away, and make plays."