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Friday, April 26, 2013
GTN Mailbag: 130 percent Fournette

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- GTN writer Gary Laney took your questions:

From: Jesse in Galvez, La.: You said you thought LSU has a 70 percent chance at getting Leonard Fournette. A different article says Alabama has a 60 percent chance at him. Do you guys not talk to each other, or are you not good at math?

Gary Laney: Maybe Fournette is so good, there's 130 percent of him to go around?

Just kidding. While I am math challenged, that's got nothing to do with the seemingly conflicting pieces of information.

Greg Ostendorf, who does a great job covering recruiting at our Alabama site, TideNation, was writing an article for a completely different audience and, no, we didn't consult each other for our percentages. They simply reflect differing opinions from different writers.

Looking back at it, I still feel pretty good about the 70 percent number I put on it. I think LSU is in pretty good shape, in terms of the time it has put in to develop a relationship with Fournette and where it sits philsophically and personnel-wise. LSU has a need for an impact running back, so Fournette would be in a perfect position to be a featured player right out of the bat.

Another factor that probably gets overlooked nationally is Louisiana's deep recruiting class. This is one of Louisiana's deepest recruiting years in the history of the storied state. So far, all of LSU's in-state targets have either committed to LSU or remain uncommitted. If these guys keep coming off the board in LSU's corner, the more enticing it will be for the remaining uncommitted players to join them.

Last weekend Garrett Brumfield became the fourth in-state player and second ESPN 150 in-state player to commit. The Tigers are leaders, or co-leaders, for several others.

How deep is Louisiana? It's possible for LSU to fail to land Fournette, the nation's top-rated player, and still land enough in-state talent to be the foundation of a No. 1-rated class overall. The state is that loaded. If the pieces of this kind of class start to come together, people will want to be part of it.

From: Tony (Richmond, Calif.): If Leonard Fournette commits to LSU, when is the last time, prior to his pledge, that the Tigers landed the top recruit in the country?

GL: He would be the first of the ESPN era and probably the first of the internet recruiting site era.

LSU has landed plenty of players who were ranked No. 1 at their positions, from current Tiger Anthony Johnson (defensive tackle in 2011) to Ryan Perrilloux (dual-threat quarterback in 2005), but Fournette would be the first top overall player to choose the Tigers.

From Randy (Houston): Is Leonard Fournette the greatest running back to come out of Louisiana?

GL: That's a tough question considering LSU's rich history at the position.

You can categorize backs in so many ways. You take a guy like Cecil Collins, who for my money is the closest physical talent I've seen to Fournette, but of course Collins had off-field issues. Then you take a guy like Marshall Faulk, who is one of the great all-around backs to ever play the game, but he had a modest high school career and played collegiately at San Diego State. He certainly wasn't considered the prospect Fournette is considered now.

Then you have a guy like Germaine Williams, who was the state's all-time leading prep rusher coming out of high school, but had modest success at LSU and I'm not sure if he was necessarily looked at as the elite talent coming out of high school like Fournette is.

The closest guy I can think of is Kevin Faulk. He was a highly-regarded. He was a productive high school superstar. Right now, I'd have to put Faulk at the top of the list and give Fournette something to aspire to. One thing Faulk did Fournette has not (yet) is lead his team to a high school state title.