BATON ROUGE, La. — In a few short hours on Feb. 7, LSU cornerback Kelvin Joseph went from being part of the future of DBU to the future of DBU.
Two months later, LSU fans don’t need much of a reminder. After being solidly connected to LSU for the better part of three years, 5-star cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. chose Alabama over the Tigers on National Signing Day. A few hours prior, 4-star cornerback Mario Goodrich chose Clemson over LSU. That left Joseph, a 4-star safety from Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge, as the only defensive back the Tigers signed in the Class of 2018.
As a result of whiffs on Surtain and Goodrich, Joseph will move from safety to cornerback when he enrolls at LSU this summer. That’s a change Joseph did not anticipate. Not because he isn’t ready to play cornerback, but because he didn’t think he’d have to.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be like that,” Joseph said of National Signing Day. “I thought we were going to end up getting two more, or at least one. But when it happened like that on Signing Day I just went with it. It was too late. There was nothing I could do. I just went with the flow. I guess it’s a good opportunity for me.”
Joseph clarified that the two additional defensive backs he expected to choose LSU were Surtain and Goodrich. Of course, Goodrich’s situation was tricky because it was contingent upon the Tigers having an available spot in the class to accept his scholarship. But Surtain was the Tigers’ No. 1 priority.
Missing out on him was a surprise to many, especially Joseph, who less than a month prior to Signing Day played with Surtain at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Thinking back on those practices, Joseph said he remembers Surtain having a noticeable LSU lean.
“He said it was looking good,” Joseph said. “He said they were in the lead. Then I guess they lost.”
Without Surtain or Goodrich in the class, the responsibility of upholding the DBU legacy falls squarely on Joseph. He’s not shying away from that responsibility, but he also did what he could to avoid being alone during the recruiting process.
“When I talked to them, I was going to tell them about LSU. But I can’t nag them,” he said. “Everybody’s got their own decision. If you tell somebody to go there, that doesn’t mean they’re still going to go there.”
LSU learned this the hard way in 2018.