CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — In July Rakavian Poydras was sure the University of Memphis had everything he was looking for in a college football team.
The Tigers had offered the Clarksville High football star a scholarship and Poydras verbally committed to the school in the summer, in part to limit the distractions he’d face going into his senior high school season.
But there’s a reason why colleges continue to recruit high school athletes who haven’t signed any letter of intent.
After a few months of introspection and the persistent communication of Middle Tennessee State University, Poydras decommitted from Memphis last week and has verbally committed to MTSU.
“I think I just feel more comfortable at MTSU long term,” Poydras told The Leaf-Chronicle Monday afternoon. “I just came to the conclusion that I had better options for me at MTSU than at Memphis. Memphis is a great school and so is MTSU, but I felt that MTSU is the better school for me.”
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound offensive/defensive lineman said the Blue Raiders kept in contact with him and his family, and more importantly with Poydras’ mother.
“They really kept in contact with her,” he said. “They often asked how I was doing and how my family was doing. I think they made a huge impression on her from that standpoint that they showed that they were more about than just football. That made a big impact on my mother.”
Poydras stressed that he was never pressured to decommit from Memphis by his family, but that he felt he could contribute immediately if he was in Murfreesboro.
Memphis has cracked the national rankings this season. The Tigers are No. 15 in the Associated Press poll and 16th in the coaches’ poll, and that fact hasn’t been lost on Poydras who said the school still maintains some contact with him despite his latest decision. He said the Tigers have told him their scholarship offer still stands.
“It was a hard decision really,” he said. “I’ve watched them play and they’ve been playing lights out. It was really hard to decommit after Memphis beat Ole Miss. But my goal is to see if I can contribute as a freshman and not be a redshirt.”
Poydras said that he and the Memphis coaches never talked about him redshirting, but Poydras hinted that it would be more likely if he chose Memphis.
“I’d like to get some playing time,” he said. “Memphis is a bigger school so I would understand if I had to be a redshirt, but that’s not the case at MTSU.”
Poydras received offers from Austin Peay, Tennessee State, Murray State, Samford, MTSU and Memphis. In July the Clarksville High standout said he had narrowed his choices to the Tigers and Blue Raiders.
Poydras transferred to Clarksville High. He’s been a starter for Shelby since he was a freshman at Northeast. During his two years with the Eagles, Poydras helped Northeast to a 17-10 record, including a Class 5A state quarterfinal finish as a freshman in 2012 and a state semifinal berth as a sophomore in 2013. Last year, Clarksville High finished 5-6 after losing in the first round of the 5A playoffs.
Shelby said he and his coaching staff often try to caution athletes from verbally committing until they’ve had a chance to weigh all the options.
“We try to encourage them not to verbally commit every time someone walks into the door,” Shelby said. “I’ve only had two kids decommit from a school, and Rakavian is the second one. We want them to take their time and do their homework on the schools athletically and academically. But Rakavian is doing what is best for him.”
Reach Prep writer George Robinson at 931-245-0747 and on Twitter @Cville_Sports.