METAIRIE, La. — Moments after making the most difficult decision of his life, Kristian Fulton finally broke down.
And it had everything to do with his college commitment.
Fulton, the nation’s No. 2 cornerback, selected LSU over Florida at the Archbishop Rummel gymnasium in front of his friends, coaches and most importantly, members of his entire family.
After placing the LSU cap on his head and meeting with a host of reporters in the ensuing seconds, Fulton had to pause.
Mom had a message.
“Your grandma would be really proud,” Michelle Fulton whispered.
And all of a sudden, the always resilient, often stoic Fulton broke down.
It was a moment of both clarity and fulfillment for Louisiana’s top-rated prospect, who ultimately elected to stay home and play for the Tigers in order to remain close to his family.
“It was like … tears of joy,” Fulton explained.
The five-star cornerback was honoring his grandmother by signing with LSU. Whether that was intentional remains unknown.
Fulton’s grandmother on his mother’s side earned her master’s degree from LSU and has often encouraged her grandson to follow in her footsteps.
The fact that his grandmother is sick made the moment that much sweeter for his mother, who admitted she may have jumped the gun on delivering Fulton the message.
“We’ve had some personal issues with my mother,” Michelle Fulton said. “I just told him that she would be really proud, and it just touched him. She may have mentioned it to him, but he’s visited with her for a few months and she told me to tell him to go to LSU. She said, ‘Tell him that’s where I went. Tell him to go there.’”
“I said, ‘Well, Mama, we’re working on it.’”
The Fulton Family got their wish,but it was anything but a close decision.
Fulton ultimately made up his mind on the morning of his announcement. He decided upon LSU based on a gut feeling, but it was impossible to ignore the impact that family had on his future.
“I was still nervous this morning,” Fulton admitted. “It was just a big decision in my life. It’s where I’m going to spend my next four years, and that made it difficult, but my parents — they helped me a lot with this decision.
“My gut told me to go to LSU … What really sold me on with LSU was me just being comfortable. Sure, I was comfortable all the three other schools, but (at LSU), my parents could get to me if something went wrong. My family has helped me out. They’ve had my back through everything, and they’ve been watching me play since I was 5.”
“This not only made me happy,” Fulton added, “it made them happy for sure.”
An added twist in all of this is that Fulton’s other brother, Keith Fulton, recently transferred to Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La.
Keith is two years older than Kristian, and in 2018, the two will clash on the football field when Keith’s Lions take on Kristian’s Tigers.
In order words, the Fulton Family will have plenty of reunions as Kristian’s parents try to make both of their sons’ home games.
“By Keith being at Southeastern, I can go to Southeastern one weekend and Michelle can go to LSU,” said Kristian’s father, Keith Fulton Sr. “That’s important.”
“This shows that we’ve done a good job,” added Michelle Fulton. “Our family is close, and now they’ll get a chance to see each other on the weekends when one isn’t playing and vice versa. We can go up and see Kristian at LSU and Keith at Southeastern, and I can’t ask for anything better.”