LSU WR Kayshon Boutte changes mind days before Citrus Bowl, declares for NFL draft

Kayshon Boutte isn’t staying at LSU for the 2023 season after all.

The wide receiver announced after the regular season that he was going to return for another season of college football.

“LSU has been nothing but amazing to me,” Boutte wrote in his initial statement. “My growth under the new staff has helped me to reach new levels. While we did not achieve the overall goal, we still fought and produced results that will be a stepping stone for future success. The goal is always to win a national championship at LSU and that will never change. We made strides this year but ultimately fell short. That is why I believe we can accomplish many things moving forward.”

But LSU announced Wednesday that Boutte wouldn’t play in the Citrus Bowl on Monday against Purdue while also saying he was enrolled at LSU for the spring semester. No reason was given for Boutte’s sudden absence from the game until later in the day when he said he was heading to the NFL and declaring for the draft.

Boutte’s initial decision to stay in college was a surprise, as is his reversal days before the bowl game. Though he didn’t put up eye-popping statistics in 2022, he could be taken in the first three rounds of the draft.

Boutte was especially good as a sophomore in 2021. He played in just six games but had 38 catches for 509 yards and caught nine TDs. That performance came after he had 45 catches and 735 yards in 10 games as a freshman.

His stats dipped in 2022 with 48 catches across 11 games for 538 yards and just two TDs.

Boutte joins WR Jaray Jenkins, edge rusher BJ Ojulari and CB Mekhi Garner as LSU players who won’t play against Purdue and will prep for the draft. Purdue, meanwhile, won’t have starting QB Aidan O’Connell, top TE Payne Durham and leading receiver Charlie Jones.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Kayshon Boutte #7 of the LSU Tigers breaks away for a touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half of the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte is heading to the 2023 NFL draft. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) (Todd Kirkland via Getty Images)