Sophomore defensive back Albert Louis-Jean's decision to declare early for the NFL Draft raised more than a few eyebrows back in January. But it would appear the Eagles cornerback's decision to forego his final two years of collegiate eligibility has paid off in a big way.
The Chicago Bears signed Louis-Jean to a three-year rookie contract on Monday, according to an announcement by the team. After going undrafted in this year's NFL Draft, ALJ was invited to participate in the Bears' rookie minicamp last month on a tryout basis. Second-year Bears coach Marc Trestman must have liked what he saw.
I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised that ALJ caught on at the next level. After all, Louis-Jean was one of the more sought-after recruits in the 2011 recruiting class.
Once committed to Miami, the Brockton native reopened his commitment after the school parted ways with head coach Randy Shannon. The state's top-rated prospect then turned his attention back to the two other schools recruiting him the hardest -- Boston College and Penn State. After weighing his options, the ability to play in front of friends and family won out as Louis-Jean committed to BC. At the time, ALJ committed to the program over claimed offers from Louisville, Notre Dame, Penn State and Stanford, among others; even enrolling a semester early to workout with the team and learn the playbook.
The richly talented defensive back never truly became a shutdown corner for the Eagles in a college career marred by injury and run-ins with the coaching staff. Louis-Jean missed the entire 2012 season with a foot injury. Last season, the corner missed the 2013 season opener vs. Villanova due to an unspecified violation of team rules. As the season went on, ALJ found himself behind other on the depth chart. Perhaps the final straw came during the Eagles bowl trip to Shreveport when the Eagles backup corner didn't even travel with the team; suspended again for the dreaded "unspecified violation of team rules."
All told, Louis-Jean played just 23 games in three seasons for the maroon and gold, finishing with 36 tackles, an interception, two forced fumbles and four pass breakups.
While it didn't exactly work out between Louis-Jean and BC, here's to wishing the former Eagle nothing but success at the next stop in his career. For more on the Chicago Bears, check out Windy City Gridiron.