In Focus: Badara Traore
Senior Offensive Lineman Pursues Significant Academic and Athletic Goals
Two bus rides and two train rides sat ahead of Badara Traore as his alarm buzzed at 5:30 a.m. each morning during high school.
Traore would leave his Hyde Park neighborhood in Boston between 6 and 6:30 a.m. in order to make it to Matignon High School by 8 a.m. each day.
“It was a great experience,” Traore recalled. “Some days I didn’t feel like going to school, so some days I just had to wake up and go. I had to go do what I had to do, taking two trains and two buses every morning going across the city. It was great.”
Traore’s parents, Bakary and Rouguiatou Kaba, made the decision that Badara would attend a better high school than the one in their home neighborhood, which resulted in the long commute.
“Going to a public school in the neighborhood, there was a lot of violence and crime,” Traore said. “My mom and dad didn’t want me to be a part of that. They decided I would go to a Catholic private school to get a great education and become someone someday.”
Out of high school, Traore had a stellar junior college career at ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was rated as the nation’s No. 6 overall junior college player before making the decision to attend LSU for his final two years.
“Coach (Ed) Orgeron brought me in, and I felt like it was a great spot for me,” he said. “I felt like it was a family. I felt like it was home away from home coming from Boston, Massachusetts. I just felt comfortable with the coaching staff, comfortable with the players and everybody else.”
During spring practice in 2019, Coach Orgeron called Badara, “One of the most improved players on the team.” In Traore’s first season at LSU, he played all 13 games and earned two starts. This season, he has played in seven games, including one start in the season opener against Georgia Southern. Like others on the team, Traore has high expectations for the current football season and for his future career.
“I want to win a national championship,” he said. “That’s for sure, I want to win a championship. As an individual goal, I want to play at the next level. I want to play in the NFL and provide for my family. My mom works hard and my dad works hard, so they deserve it. I owe them an education, to graduate and to make the NFL to help provide for them.”
One of the best recruiting tools for the 6-foot-7-inch, 320-pound offensive tackle was the cuisine of South Louisiana.
“The positive of moving from Boston to Louisiana was the food,” Traore explained. “The negative was the weather, especially during fall camp. That weather in August and September with that heat and humidity was the negative part. One reason why I committed here though was because of the food.”
“Boudin,” he said confidently. “I love boudin, jambalaya and crawfish. It’s not crawfish season anymore, but when it’s crawfish season, I am at that Crawfish on the Geaux spot every day.”
Majoring in interdisciplinary studies, Traore is set to graduate in December and will be the first person in his family to earn a college degree.
Traore doesn’t have to take two trains and two buses to class at LSU each day, but he remembers and is motivated by his past experiences in Boston.
“It humbles me,” Traore explained. “I always remember what I am playing for. I am not just playing for myself, I am playing for people back where I am from in Boston. I am giving people hope that you can play football in the South. You can come to LSU from the North and come do anything you want. I did it, so other people can do it, especially at a program like LSU.”