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Friday, November 30, 2012
Mailbag: Was Miles serious? Probably not

By Gary Laney

Taking your questions on LSU football and recruiting:

Do you think the talks with Arkansas were ever serious for Les Miles? Did Miles use it as leverage for more money?

Miles used the word "sincere" to describe his dialogue with Arkansas over its job opening. That's probably a good word choice because it reflects that Miles took it seriously and listened, but falls short of any suggestion that Miles was ever anywhere near leaving Baton Rouge.

Perhaps there was some strategy involved here by Miles' agent, George Bass, to get his client a raise.

I have no problem with that. Miles' hadn't had a raise to his base salary since just after he led LSU to the national championship in the 2007 season. Athletic Director Joe Alleva said a raise was coming after LSU's upcoming bowl game and was expedited by the Arkansas rumor. Miles, one of the most consistent winners in all of college football, deserved the raise.

Josh in Lake Charles, La.: Any predictions on the Barbe-West Monroe game? It should be a barn burner.

I'll be in Lake Charles, La. Friday to see Lake Charles Barbe play West Monroe in a semifinal game in Louisiana's Class 5A (the highest enrollment class in the state). Both teams are loaded with prospects.

Barbe has an offense that is like a high school version of Oregon. There's speed everywhere, great receivers and a quarterback who can throw and run. Receiver Trey Quinn, a 2014 ESPN Watch List member, has 103 catches and just under 2,000 receiving yards in 13 prep games, which is just absurd. Tight end Desean Smith is headed for LSU next year and quarterback Kennon Fontenot, a future baseball draft prospect, is like a prep Johnny Manziel with his ability to extend plays with his legs.

But West Monroe, with 2014 offensive line Watch List star Cameron Robinson, is a physical bunch. Monroe-area teams dominate Louisiana prep football, usually with superior physicality. The Rebels are a ball-control team and I'm betting Barbe has a hard time getting WM's offense off the field.

I suspect the physicality of West Monroe carries the day, but I'm anticipating a great game. By the end of next weekend, don't be surprised if greater Monroe ends up with state championships in three of the five enrollment classes.

Juan in Houston: Rank LSU's chances at landing these top prospects: Ricky Seals-Jones, Robert Nkemdiche, Kendell Beckwith, and Tim Williams. Can LSU land all four?

In this order: 1. Beckwith, 2. Seals-Jones, 3. Williams, 4. Nkemdiche.

Let's just shove the whole Nkemdiche thing aside right now and assume he's going to end up at Ole Miss. There's still a chance, of course, given that he publicly said he wants to visit LSU and LSU is about to lose some defensive ends to the NFL and graduation. It still sounds like a longshot.

Of the other three, I'm hearing a lot of optimism about Beckwith, the linebacker/defensive end hybrid who is Louisiana's top player. It looks like LSU might be be in good shape there. There's a feeling around town that Williams, who attends school at LSU's on-campus grade school, might be ready to leave the LSU campus for college.

I'd say LSU's chances also aren't great with Seals-Jones, but crazier things have happened.

If LSU lands all four, Les Miles might do a cartwheel at the Bayou Bash on national signing day. And I'll add this: Don't expect Les to do a cartwheel.

Doug in Oklahoma: Any sleepers we should keep an eye on?

I'll toss one name out there now and suggest there could be more later.

Kevin Spears, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver out of New Orleans Holy Cross is a late bloomer who has only played a couple of years of football, but has had a productive season. Like Seals-Jones, he's big and might be a fall-back if the Tigers don't land Seals-Jones.

The cool thing about this weekend is Spears, who was once a basketball-first athlete, might get to go head-to-head with Texas A&M commit Noel Ellis of New Orleans Karr in a Class 4A semifinal game.