Paul: Alright, it's bye week cdub, and as we head down the home stretch of the season, recruiting will only get hotter and hotter the rest of the way. You gave us a nice summary of where we stand with Laurence "Hootie" Jones on Monday, but there's still plenty of other dominoes to fall in this class. Some LSU fans are growing weary because we haven't seen a ton of recruiting action (in terms of commitments) in a long while. Optimists says, "Well, that's because we're waiting on 5-star, All-Star game commits). Pessimists are a bit more bleak.
What do you make of the lack of commitments?
cdub: I think that is going to turn into the norm when it comes to recruiting the more that announcements and the Army and Under Armour All-American games are hyped up. You are going to have the initial rush of recruits that want to end their recruitment before their senior year in high school starts up and commit in the summer. Then you have the others, whether they are asked by the games themselves or decide to on their own, to make their decision known on national television.
There will always be a few commitments sprinkled in here and there during the season that have seen enough, maybe after their visit to LSU, but I think we are trending towards what feels like two separate commitment periods and left with anguish and waiting
Paul: Yeah, that's a good point. This class is already in pretty good position, sitting around the 11th best class in the nation, with a ton of huge targets still on the board. Are there any current commits LSU fans should be worried about? Or are there any commits you think may not be part of this class for any reason?
cdub: I don't think there is any worry left in any of the commits on board. We got a brief scare earlier with Deondre Clark and a potential Ole Miss switch, but for whatever reason they went in a different direction. I think the mom angle Les works paid off and his mom just wasnt sold on Ole Miss. Everyone else seems to be locked on for NSD.
Same goes for the second part. I think everyone that is in is staying in. Normally around this time you hear a name or two with academic problems, but it doesn't seem to be the case. You also have injuries to Palelei and Godchaux that would get most coaches to reconsider, but Miles has been adamant about maintaining a scholarship offer to those kids and it will remain that way. Finally, people wonder about Cameron Gamble, who isn't the full-on field goal kicker for his high school team, but Miles and McCaughney saw what they needed to see and felt like he should be in this loaded class.
Paul: I always wonder about some guys that may be more middle-ground prospects when recruiting season starts to heat up, especially with LSU having so many big targets left on board. For instance, a guy like D.J. Chark, Tony Upchurch, or even Donnie Alexander, could they lose a spot to a superstar we have on tap?
cdub: You do always want to avoid the "Well, we kind of need you to start looking elsewhere" line of reasoning to a recruit or the whole surprise greyshirt method that can catch a recruit's family off guard and upset these 17-18 year old kids that might feel they aren't good enough and have to accept it if they want to go to the school of their dreams. That is what got messy for Elliott Porter (although it did wind up working out in the end for him), but it isn't the worst thing in the world.
Staying on point though, we have 15 commitments now, and just for the point of this, let's assume we only bring in 25, the limit (albeit a dumb idea) set forth by the SEC. That leaves 10 open spots for guys like: Leonard Fournette, Malachi Dupre, Speedy Noil, Gerald Willis, Clifton Garrett, Tony Brown and Hootie Jones. You imagine that Garrald McDowell and Kenny Young are also a part of this class. Add all of those and you are left with one spot. We could take this class to the bank and call it a day, but then what happens if numerous surprise names like Travonte Valentine, Adoree Jackson, Kentavius Street want in? That's where the problem comes in, and I would think the staff has a plan in mind and have discussed it with the said recruits to avoid another Porter mishap.
Long answer short, No, I don't think anybody in this class will lose their scholarship, but some may be asked to take that greyshirt if we do only sign 25 and have to wait to be a part of the 2015 class
As we have seen on many occasions (Ron Brooks and Mo Claiborne), some recruits greatly surpass their star ratings and add even more to excellent classes. Who is your sleeper of this class or the guy who will exceed his rating the most?
Paul: Right now, for me, the two main guys are Donnie Alexander and John Battle.
Alexander fits the mold of your typical Chavis LB. Slimmer, faster and aggressive. What I like about him is that when he hits folks, he hits them. He's tenacious. Battle is a good all-around athlete, but he reminds me a bit of Jalen Mills in that he just seems to have good instincts on the field.
It's kind of a tough/interesting question this year, because we have so few guys that aren't highly thought of nationally. I suppose I could pick a 4-star and project he would outperform his ranking, but that'd be more expected than, not, I think.
What about you? What guys do you like?
cdub: I'm going to agree with you on John Battle for sure. I'll admit that after watching his junior film, I was left thinking "Well, I see the potential due to his size and attributes, but I'm just not seeing it. Then after watching the senior film on HUDL, I was hooked. He is likely due a bump in the ratings by the time his senior season comes to a close, but we are noting it now so it makes us look better. I definitely feel his future is at safety, but he is as close as you can get to having cornerback skills at safety. He plays the ball well in the air, has great ability in returning a turnover, and has no problem running up to the line to make a play. Takes some questionable angles on occasion (which can easily be fixed), but is able to make it up with his speed and size.
I'll toss out another name just to be a little different from you and say D.J. Chark.
D.J. Chark: 6'0.5" 175 lbs.
Odell Beckham Jr.: 5'11 175 lbs. (as a high school senior)
When I watch Chark's film, albeit it mostly being go routes, I see a good bit of OBJ in him. Chark will need to add a little muscle onto him to reach Beckham now (6' 193 lbs.), but I think Chark can be that type of receiver. We focus on the guys like Dupre, Noil and Quinn because they are the best trio of receivers to come out of the state, but I think Chark will turn some heads as well once he becomes a better route runner.
Paul: Chark is one of those guys I'm curious about. He's definitely a flyer with some STs ability, but does he get lost in the shuffle with all those big timers you mentioned? Or does he use it as motivation, because he'll never get the attention paid to Dupre, Noil and Quinn? We've seen guys like that rise up the ranks before, Christian LaCouture this season, even. LaCouture didn't get the plaudits of Gilmore, or even Bain really, but here he is, the only one of the three in the rotation.
Obviously this class is nowhere near done, but of the current commits, who do you see as guys with an immediate chance to contribute?
cdub: We have all seen Les is not afraid to put freshman out there, especially evidenced by Rashard Robinson, who was as late as you can come to be admitted in time for school which meant he got no preseason practice. If you have the talent and the want to win, you will get out there. With that said, I can definitely see Ed Paris and Trey Quinn immediately contributing from game one. Loston is graduated after this year, leaving his spot open and there's still a good bit of uncertainty at the other safety spot, leaving a lot of opportunity for a talented player like Paris to see the field. He has the ability to play both of the safety spots with his size and athleticism. With Quinn, you have to believe that Beckham and Landry are both likely to leave early with the years they are having. Both are top-tier wide receivers who could start from day 1 in the NFL as well. Add in Boone graduating and you are left with Dural as the only receiver to get any sort of playing time this season, and even he has seen that shortened recently. That leaves a lot of chances to get on the field early and Quinn may be the most polished receiver of the commits we have now and potential commits Dupre and Noil.
There's a few others like Brumfield or Clapp, Voorhies or Battle, and Deondre Clark who could see the field, but it will depend on how they come into camp.
Everyone likes surprises, unless it's a pink slip, divorce papers or...you get the picture. But most surprises are good things, and we all love that down-to-the-end NSD signee we seem to get on a yearly basis now. If we do get a surprise commit, who do you think it would be?
Paul: Since it seems like the bulk of our surprises come from the East Coast, and on the defensive line, I'll go with Kentavius Street. Street's flirted with us for a while, and we're definitely up on his list, but I still think it'd be a shocker to pull him on NSD.
cdub: I like it, and I could definitely see us reeling in Street at the buzzer. I'm going to stick on the east coast as well, but go a little more south. I think it's going to be Travonte Valentine. Monstrous DT with athleticism as well, and it sounds me may benefit from his academic standing and not being able to get into Miami. I wish we could sneak in and steal Chad Thomas from Miami, but he seems to be more solid to them than Valentine.
Paul: I gave thought to Valentine as well, especially with all the positive noise around him lately. I also have this, likely illogical, maybe just indigestion, feel about Adoree Jackson. Kid just seems to love us.
cdub: He is someone else I can see us sneaking in to get. Adoree had a lot of great things to say about LSU before the season, and then things just got quiet with him until recently. It was then huge for us to get him on a visit, especially one with his parents.
It will still be a fight to beat Florida, who is indeed getting an official visit from him after all. I think we have a shot at him, but we don't need him to have a stellar defensive back class. Consider him icing on the cake.