Kayshon Boutte’s former coach has high praise: ‘He’s the steal of the draft’


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Kayshon Boutte might be the engineer of the biggest hype train of any New England Patriots 2023 rookie outside of Christian Gonzalez. Whereas Gonzalez fell a few spots on Night 1 of the draft, he still was a first-round pick. Boutte, however, fell all the way to the sixth round on Day 3. Any contributions in his rookie or even sophomore seasons in the NFL would represent a massive win for both he and the organization.

But he’s still a sixth-rounder, and the likelihood he comes in and goes off or makes a splash or validates the early comps to Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stef Diggs are pretty slim. Yet don’t tell that to his high school coach, who’s ready for his former star to go off.

“Get ready. Get y’all’s popcorn. Y’all going to see the show.”

As told to Chris Mason in a piece for MassLive.com, Ryan Antoine, head football coach at Westgate High School in New Iberia, Louisiana, is a big believer in Boutte’s talent and his ability to take it to the next level, going so far as to say, “He’s the steal of the draft.”

High praise indeed. If both he and Gonzalez live up to their hype, then it seems they can decide amongst themselves who the real steal of the 2023 NFL Draft is.

Antoine has known Boutte from his childhood playing days, remarking that his competitiveness is one of his finest attributes, opening an opportunity for him to crack the varsity lineup his freshman year. Boutte played a plethora of positions in high school, but it’s wide receiver where he caught on and made the most plays, plays that led him to be a five star recruit to the football factory of LSU.

Pats fans might be most curious as to why Boutte was so successful early on in his playing days at LSU, but then failed to live up to early billing. An ankle injury derailed a promising sophomore campaign, then Brian Kelly took over as head coach at LSU from Ed Orgeron, and things just didn’t seem to click. Though he popped at times, like when he had six catches for 107 yards and a TD versus Georgia in the SEC Championship in December, he never took over, and his stock fell. New England bought low, grabbing him with the 187th pick at the draft and now hopes he can attain a new high.

Obviously it’s Antoine’s job to sell Boutte, hype him up and be in his corner - not every high school coach’s former star makes the NFL! But it does seem Boutte has skills that could help make him a successful pro receiver. It’s just about whether they can translate, and if he’s in the right program. As for New England being the right destination for Boutte, Antoine believes it’s the perfect landing spot.

“I think going to an organization like the Patriots with Coach Belichick, I think you’re going to see monumental leaps,” he told MassLive, later adding, “To be honest with you, Kayshon still hasn’t scratched the surface of his potential.”

Should that be true, and Boutte is able to scratch the surface of his potential, and beyond, then he may just be not only the steal of the draft, but also the one to end New England’s long drought of successful wide receivers from the NFL Draft.

We’ll certainly have our popcorn ready for that.

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