Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Juco WR Leslie close to joining LSU
By Gary Laney
LSU recruitniks got a bit of good new Friday from 2013 recruit Quantavius Leslie, via Twitter.
"Heard the best news this semester," he tweeted from his account (@hi_i_q). "FINALLY got cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Now all is left is this Algebra class."
Did that mean the junior college transfer from Hinds Community College in Mississippi is all set to enroll at LSU?
Not quite, said Lee Wilbanks, Hinds' recruiting coordinator.
"He's still got to graduate," Wilbanks said Monday. "His coursework may have passed the clearinghouse, but he's still got work left to do."
Leslie had extra work this semester, because when he failed to graduate at the end of the fall semester, it was for a degree no longer offered, forcing him to add classes to graduate with a different associate's degree.
If he does it, LSU will have what it currently lacks with its wide receivers -- a tall, downfield playmaker. At 6-foot-3 and with rare speed, Leslie averaged 21 yards per catch for Hinds in 2012, earning his LSU offer. His length something LSU has lacked since Rueben Randle left LSU for the New York Giants, and LSU fans have been hopeful Leslie will be able to come in to give the Tigers an immediate big, downfield receiver to go with Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham -- two productive, but not big, returning Tigers receivers.
For a while, it didn't look like LSU would get its big target.
The initial plan was for Leslie to complete his studies at the end of the fall semester, as he needed his associate's degree to be eligible to play in NCAA Division I. He did not finish his coursework on schedule, forcing him to stay at Hinds an extra semester.
It's a testament to his talents that LSU stuck with his commitment, despite the fact he was not able to arrive for spring practice with fellow junior college transfers Logan Stokes and Fehoko Fanaika. For the big receiver, LSU was willing to wait.
In December, Wilbanks was concerned LSU would not stick with Leslie. The scare seemed to be a wake-up call for the receiver.
Wilbanks vouched for Leslie's character but said Leslie got caught taking his academics for granted and wound up having to scramble.
"He's a really good kid," Wilbanks said. "He's just a country kid, and you'll never have to worry about him with anything off the field. But he's just a kid who, every now and then, you've got to kick him on his butt to get him started. He's got to get that out of him."
Maybe this academic scare was his wake-up call.
"He's doing everything he needs to do right now," Wilbanks said. "He's working with his teachers outside of class, doing what he has to do."
That includes passing the college algebra course Leslie alluded to in the tweet. Wilbanks said Leslie might not ace the course, but he stands a good chance of getting the passing grade he needs.
"I told him he's coming towards the finish line now," Wilbanks said. "Are you going to finish strong, or are you going to stumble?"
In the meantime, Leslie works out every afternoon with Hinds' track and field team. He's not a track athlete, but working with the track team puts him on a better schedule academically, since the football team works out early in the morning. It also allows Leslie to get extra running in. His daily workout regimen is one that was prescribed to him by LSU.
"But I told him, it's better to miss a workout than to miss class," Wilbanks said. "Miss a workout because you're with a teacher, that's fine. But don't miss a class.
"You're too close now."