BATON ROUGE, La. — As it turns out, Malachi Dupre’s loudest and most persuasive fans are his teammates on the LSU football team.
“At the end of the day, my teammates, at the end of practice yesterday I broke it down,” Dupre said. “And everyone was saying ‘One more year! One more year!’ I’m glad that I’ve got that type of support. I’m glad that everyone feels that way.”
Like Leonard Fournette, Jamal Adams and a long list of Dupre’s junior teammates at LSU, the wide receiver has the biggest decision of his life ahead of him: should he stay for his senior season or declare one year early for the NFL Draft? But unlike Fournette, who declared last week, Dupre is still undecided.
Dupre spoke to the media about his future Tuesday, saying that he isn’t leaning one way or the other when it comes to his future. Dupre explained that all he’s focused on right now is getting better, because whether he chooses to stay at LSU or head to the pros, he needs to improve his craft so he can be prepared.
Last week, a report surfaced on DraftAnalyst.com that indicated Dupre had decided to declare for the draft. Dupre said he was caught off guard by this report, mostly because it did not come from him or anything he’d told anyone up to that point.
“I just didn’t know where it came from,” Dupre said. “I didn’t say that and I didn’t tell anyone that that was true and I didn’t tell anyone that I was going to enter the draft. I said that I hadn’t made my decision yet. Just when it came out I was surprised because I was really wondering where it came from and I really didn’t have a voice in that. I really couldn’t get out there and say what I wanted to say. It’s not true.”
Still, the fact that the report isn’t true doesn’t guarantee that Dupre will return. Dupre is ranked as the No. 10 wide receiver in his class by NFL Draft Scout, the No. 6 receiver by WalterFootball and the No. 3 receiver by ESPN’s Todd McShay. As recently as this summer, Dupre was considered to be a first-round prospect, and a strong showing at the NFL Combine and his LSU Pro Day could vault the 6-foot-3, 190 lbs. target back into that range.
That said, Dupre had an underwhelming 2016 season. He caught 34 passes for 454 yards and three touchdowns — all team highs — but that was a major step back from the 43 catches, 698 yards and six touchdowns he posted as a sophomore in 2015.
Dupre knows all of this. He said he’s received his draft packet and scouting report that details where and when he might be picked were he to declare. And he said he can barely go outside without someone trying to sway him to stay at LSU. But he said he can’t let that noise get to him.
“I’m hearing people everywhere I go,” Dupre said. “Stay another year, this that and the other. It’s just difficult to avoid it because that’s all I hear everywhere I go. Whether it’s inside of here or my teammates telling me one more year, the coaches.
“I appreciate all that. But at the end of the day, I just want to play football right now for LSU because that’s where I am. That’s what’s important to me.”
Dupre mentioned on multiple occasions that he’s preparing for LSU’s Citrus Bowl appearance vs. Louisville above all else, including LSU’s future were he to stay another year. Dupre said he hasn’t sat down and spoken with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada yet, saying of Canada “he’ll tell me what he has to tell me.”
But this decision isn’t up to Canada. This decision isn’t up to Ed Orgeron or Dupre’s teammates or friends or parents. As senior cornerback Tre’Davious White said last week, a decision like this can only be made internally. If you’re not 100 percent sure of your choice, you shouldn’t make it.
And that’s where Dupre is at right now.
“I’ve got to do what’s best for me,” Dupre said. “If that’s coming back another year, if I feel like that’s what’s best for me, I feel like I will.”