Dylan Moses is one that got away.
Whenever LSU might forget that, something seems to happen to remind it.
Moses has been linked with the Tigers since 2012, when LSU opened eyes nationally by offering a football scholarship to the young linebacker as he was preparing to enter eighth grade. The 14-year-old Baton Rouge native called the offer “a dream come true.”
The courtship of Moses took a lot of twists and turns, from him verbally committing to the Tigers to him ultimately choosing to sign with Alabama instead.
During his SEC all-freshman season last year, Moses had one of his most memorable performances when he made 1.5 sacks in the Crimson Tide’s 24-10 victory against the Tigers.
And now, as Alabama and LSU prepare to meet again Nov. 3, another reminder has presented itself.
The Tigers’ defensive leader, linebacker Devin White, will miss the first half of the game as he serves an automatic suspension for being called for targeting during LSU’s 19-3 victory against Mississippi State on Oct. 20 at Tiger Stadium.
The targeting call lit up social media as Tigers fans insisted White’s hit was clean and undeserving of a penalty, let alone a targeting infraction and suspension. Some went so far as to wonder if there wasn’t something nefarious at work, given that the SEC office is located in the middle of Crimson Tide country in Birmingham.
Noted political strategist and LSU fan James Carville has espoused a theory that the conference was behind the call, and billboards have popped up, imploring “Free Devin White.”
But regardless of conspiracy theories and other reactions, the disciplinary action against White serves as another reminder that Moses got away.
The Tigers think they can weather the storm for a half until White is reinstated as defensive coordinator Dave Aranda tweaks his scheme and determines how best to rotate sophomore Patrick Queen and freshmen Micah Baskerville and Damone Clark in White’s absence.
‘It’s going to take a group effort,” coach Ed Orgeron said. “It’s next man up. We can’t blink.”
Aranda will be replacing the Tigers’ leading tackler (76) with three players who have a combined 32. Baskerville has 18, Queen has 13 and Clark one.
By the way, Moses is second on Alabama with 42 tackles, and he has 7.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.
Of course, if Moses had wound up at LSU, as many had anticipated, he wouldn’t be the fill-in for White. He’d already be starting, and no doubt White’s numbers would be less gaudy.
But Moses’ presence certainly would have made it easier for the Tigers to mitigate the loss of White.
Moses started his prep career at University High on the LSU campus before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year.
He was the consensus No. 1 linebacker and one of the top recruits in the country coming out of high school.
Moses followed the path of Landon Collins in 2012 and Tim Williams in 2013, among others, on the path from Baton Rouge to Tuscaloosa.
In the last 10 years, LSU has managed to sign two-thirds of the Louisiana high school players who were ranked among the nation’s top 100 prospects.
But those who got away all stung to some degree.
The ones from Baton Rouge stung more.
The ones who went to Alabama stung even more.
And then there’s Dylan Moses.