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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
2014 LSU recruiting preview: QB and RB

By Gary Laney

The second in a series of previews of players LSU might target in the 2014 recruiting class. Tuesday, we looked at wide recievers and tight ends.

Leonard Fournette
LSU has tried to make itself as attractive as possible to running back Leonard Fournette.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Will LSU sign a quarterback in 2014? And how many running backs will the Tigers pursue after not signing one in 2013?

Those are the questions for LSU as it approaches its offensive backfield recruiting for 2014. The guess here is LSU will take a quarterback and about three running backs, one of whom it hopes is the player who is probably the biggest priority recruit in the class.

Here are the potential targets:

Running back

Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine): Has LSU gambled too much to pursue a once-in-a-generation talent like Fournette?

That's a legitimate question. The Tigers lost two running backs to the NFL draft and will lose at least one of its remaining four after this season, when Alfred Blue will be a senior. Another big year could send 2012 rushing leader Jeremy Hill to the NFL, as well.

Yet, LSU passed on taking a 2013 running back, perhaps wanting to build the perception of need for Fournette, a talent with a rare combination of size (6-foot-1, 230 pounds), speed and instincts that makes him worth taking the gamble.

If the Tigers don't get Fournette, it will be a tough blow as they try to replenish a position at which they usually have numbers. If the blueprint works as planned, Hill will be NFL ready after this season and Fournette will roll in with a chance to compete with a couple of holdovers -- perhaps Kenny Hilliard, if he doesn't have a breakout year of his own in 2013 -- to start.

If Fournette doesn't come? That's a good question

Sione Palelei (Gonzales, La./East Ascension): Palelei, who holds offers from a couple of Utah schools, could be a change-of-pace back for the Tigers. Blessed with extraordinary speed but small in stature, he could be an interesting option at a school that normally values bigger, physical backs.

Darrell Williams (Marrero, La./John Ehret): Williams is a Les Miles-style back, a bruising 215-pounder with the physicality to finish runs.

Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage): With LSU focused on Fournette, it might not go after another big-name running back like Michel. And, appropriately, Michel named a top five that did not include LSU.

But if something were to happen negatively in the Fournette process, look for LSU to increase its efforts on a back like the lightning-fast Michel or others.

Quarterbacks

Chase Litton (Tampa, Fla./Wharton): LSU offered Litton last March, getting an early start in the competition for the pro-style passer.

Since then, LSU has changed offensive coordinators (and quarterbacks coach) to Cam Cameron, so it's yet to be seen if that will impact Litton's recruitment. LSU will lose starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger after this year, so it likely will pursue a quarterback to replenish the position.

If it wants one like Mettenberger -- a tall, pro-style thrower -- Litton might fit the mold.

Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway): At 6-foot-3, Harris has the size and speed to be an under-the-radar, dual-threat quarterback. Les Miles recently stopped by Parkway during a north Louisiana trip, so there might be legitimate interest there.

Louisiana hasn't sent a quarterback to LSU since Jordan Jefferson in the class of 2008. At this point, Harris might be the best bet to break the drought.

Quentin Gibson (Marrero, La./Archbishop Shaw): Tall and slender, Gibson and the Shaw camp say he has put on weight. If the measureables are there, Gibson can climb quickly with solid spring and summer camp showings.

While his release is unconvential, he has been an accurate and prolific passer for Shaw.

Donovan Isom (Destrehan, La.): A product of the same high school that produced Jefferson, Isom has a pro body (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) and a strong arm. When LSU held its "Boys from the Boot" junior day, Isom was the only quarterback there, perhaps a testament to where he stands in the process.