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Insider

Exit of Gonzales shouldn't hurt recruiting

1/11/2012

At the very least, the departure of Billy Gonzales for Illinois gives Les Miles a coaching vacancy to fill yet again.

Miles must be used to it by now, given that only one of his nine coaches and coordinators -- offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa -- has held his position for longer than three years.

It goes with the territory of running a successful program.

Gonzales came over from Urban Meyer’s Florida staff at the end of the 2009 season, taking a position as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator -- the goal being to spark a stagnant LSU passing game.

It didn’t exactly go as planned. The Tigers finished No. 107 through the air in 2010 before jumping one spot to No. 106 in 2011.

Of course, there’s plenty to be said for inconsistent quarterback play during that stretch, as well.

Gonzales’ most successful charge as wide receivers coach was Rueben Randle, who finished 2011 with 52 receptions for 917 yards and eight touchdowns. If Randle elects to enter the NFL draft later this week, he would be the only LSU receiver drafted during Gonzales’ brief tenure.

LSU fans won’t confuse Gonzales’ recruiting abilities with those of Rivals.com Recruiter of the Year Frank Wilson, but he did land two big contributions to the program this year.

Gonzales delivered commitments from two four-star prospects from the state of Florida this fall. Florida has been a strong point for Gonzales since his time with the Gators. Two of the Tigers’ current Florida products -- quarterback Jerrard Randall and receiver Kadron Boone -- were Gonzales recruits.

Offensive tackle Patrick Miller and wide receiver Avery Johnson committed to LSU’s 2012 class after being recruited by Gonzales.

Considering that Johnson is an LSU legacy to older brother Patrick Peterson, and Miller is slated to enroll early next week, those are two commitments the Tigers look unlikely to lose because of Gonzales’ departure.