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Friday, October 12, 2012
Bama wants LSU commit Logan Stokes

By Dave Hooker

Logan Stokes knows what many LSU fans think about him. After all, he has a computer.

The tight end commitment from Booneville (Miss.) Northeast Community College has seen Tiger fans question his talent on message boards. He's also been a little dismayed that early highlight video of him that surfaced on the internet was more of a lowlight.

Why? Because the video was shot when Stokes was just learning to play tight end. He had been a defensive end his whole life. He's also now bigger and stronger. When Stokes showed up to junior college he was a 6-foot-5, 225-pound athlete. Now, he's 6-6 and 240 pounds.

"He's a pretty kid on the hoof," Northeast Mississippi head coach Ricky Smithers said. "He can run. Catches the ball. His blocking was suspect so we played him at H-Back, a motion guy, dumped the ball to him."

Despite his talent, Stokes is still learning an offense that is still growing. He's not going to leave Northeast with any receiving records, but if one needs proof of just how good he is, ask Alabama's coaches. They are willing to break junior college code to get Stokes on campus.

Smithers, like most junior college coaches, protects his players. If they're committed, they're 100-percent committed. If they're placed by a college coming out of high school, they're going to end up at the college they signed with.

Simple, right? Well, not necessarily. Recruiting is a win-at-all-costs game. So when Smithers informed Alabama's coaches that Stokes was committed, they still pursued him.

"Once we commit, his policy here is you want to talk to [committed players], you need to go through him," Stokes said. "[Alabama's coaches] contacted me on Facebook. I don't think he was too excited about that."

Alabama's coaches also tried to contact Stokes through his high school coaches at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High.

What LSU fans, however, should take from the whole situation is that Stokes is very much an SEC-caliber prospect, even if he doesn't have tons of catches.

LSU fans also will be getting a player that has twice overcome adversity on the football field. When Stokes came out of high school, he had scholarship offers from smaller schools. Yet he had the belief in himself to go to junior college to try to up his stock.

"It was close," Stokes said when asked if he almost went to a smaller four-year school. "I really considered Southern Illinois. I took a visit there and they took an in-home visit … I told them, 'No, thanks'. I appreciate the offer but I'm just going to take my chances at junior college."

So Stokes was off to Mississippi. Then, shortly after arriving on campus, Smithers moved Stokes to tight end.

"At first I didn't want to move," Stokes said. "Then it just came natural. I liked it. It worked out best for me. I'm glad I made the decision to come here."

Stokes was offered by LSU, whose coaches hoped to get a jump on the competition they knew would come. Subsequently, he quickly committed.

"It's real nice," Stokes said. "If I wasn't committed it puts a lot of pressure on you. You get nervous wanting to know who's watching you. If you know where you're going you can just relax and play. It's a big relief knowing you had somewhere to go. You still need to perform but you don't have to think about it as much."

Stokes could have an early impact in Baton Rouge. He'll enroll in January and said that LSU's offense is very similar to what Northeast runs. If he doesn't find the field immediately, he can redshirt then have two more years of eligibility to play.

As for Alabama, their coaches won't likely quit recruiting Stokes.

"I'm 100-percent to LSU," Stokes said.

Despite the message board posters that question him.