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Friday, December 28, 2012
Mailbag: LSU playing chicken in recruiting?

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney answers your questions on LSU recruiting.

Michael (Lafayette, La.): Does playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl hurt LSU's standing in recruiting?

Gary Laney: Probably not much, if at all. LSU's 2013 class figures to finish pretty strong, regardless of the outcome of the Clemson game Monday.

The Tigers are headed for what appears to be a top 10 class, particularly if they can land any of a number of A-list recruits still on the board, such as Priest Willis or Kendell Beckwith. Finish with several of them and LSU has an elite class, in the conversation to be among the very best.

Look, even if LSU loses to Clemson, it'll still have six 10-win seasons in eight years under Les Miles, another season in which the Tigers were truly in contention for a national championship (had LSU closed out the Alabama game, the Tigers could very well be headed for Miami instead of Atlanta) and a bunch of LSU players are about to leave early for the NFL, again. And the facilities and SEC tie-ins aren't going anywhere.

LSU's fine in the eyes of recruits.

LSU looks like it has a good class coming in. How is 2014 shaping up?

Much like 2011, when La'el Collins and Anthony Johnson gave Louisiana and LSU two of the nation's truly elite recruits, the 2014 class in Louisiana has a chance to be special. Because of that, LSU will have a chance at a top-five class even if it gets no impact players from out of state.

Running back Leonard Fournette and offensive lineman Cameron Robinson are the two who jump out, but the state is deep with high-end recruits.

If one school were to land Fournette, Robinson, Laurence Jones, Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis then fill the rest of the class with average players, it would have a very good class by most standards.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Louisiana is loaded with 2014 receivers (Noil, Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn and Cameron Sims) and offensive lineman (Robinson, Will Clapp and Garrett Brumfield) and is has elite players at several other positions. LSU already has two solid out-of-state commits for 2014, so with its fair share of the state talent, LSU could have a chance to have one of nation's best signing classes again.

LSU always loses a recruit or two to academics. Are there risks in this class?

GL: Absolutely. There are always several players who have to do work in the last half of their senior years to get eligible. LSU recently lost a commitment from fullback Kennard Swanson and it has since come out that he's having trouble qualifying, so you might be able to connect dots there.

Recently, we learned junior college wide receiver Quantavius Leslie did not graduate, as planned, at the end of the fall semester and, as a result, will not sign during the juco signing period. His junior college coaches at Hinds (Miss) were told LSU is sticking with Leslie even though he cannot enroll in the spring semester and go through spring drills as originally planned.

That LSU still has Leslie in its plans was happy news, as they feared Leslie's failure to graduate would make LSU go another direction.

Still, you have to add Leslie to the list of guys who are question marks.