Print and Go Back ESPN.com: LSU Tigers [Print without images]

Friday, May 24, 2013
GTN mailbag: The No. 2 RB on the board?

By Gary Laney

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

From: Hunter Johnson: Do you think LSU would rather sign Racean Thomas or Darrel Williams at running back with Leonard Fournette, and does Kwon Alexander being from the same high school as Thomas helps us? Also any update on the situation at kicker?

Gary Laney: Strictly in terms of rankings, Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford), the No. 35 player in the ESPN 150, is obviously the more highly regarded of the two running backs and, as you alluded, being a high school teammate of Alexander, a linebacker at LSU, doesn't hurt the Tigers one bit.

Having said that, this is one of those nuanced recruiting stories. If this were a draft, LSU would obviously take Fournette first, then if it picked a second running back later in the draft and Thomas and Williams (Marrero, La./John Ehret) were both on the board, my guess is Thomas would come off the board.

But this isn't a draft. It's kids making decisions. If you are Thomas, you're an high-end recruit and you probably think you should see a lot of snaps, quickly. That might not be possible going to the same school as Fournette. If you're Williams, you might be welcoming the opportunity to play at an elite program and, while you may be considered the No. 2 guy off the bat, you might like the idea of stepping up to a more prominent role once Fournette would move on to the pros.

Of course, on the other hand, Thomas might slow-play his recruitment to see what Fournette does as well.

So it's a very nuanced situation. I don't think it's an either-or situation for the schools or players involved here. It's potential scenarios and what makes the most sense if certain scenarios come into fruition.

As for the kickers, the two walk-ons who battled in spring, Colby Delahoussaye and Trent Domingue, appear to be the primary candidates with scholarship kicker James Hairston, the Tigers' kickoff specialist, possibly in the mix.

Alex Kjellsten (Lake Charles, La./St. Louis), a scholarship-quality prospect, is also coming as a preferred walk-on.

From Jeff (Tampa, Fla.): What defensive ends are high on LSU and most likely to commit?

and Michael (Picayune, Miss.): Is LSU in the mix for Kentavious Street?

GL: Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglas) is the national project who has been showing up the most on LSU's radar, while ESPN 150 prospect Lorenzo Carter (Nocross, Ga.) is a national prospect who the Tigers have been pushing hard for.

Street (Greenville, N.C./JH Rose) is another ESPN 150 prospect who entered the LSU picture. After he was visited by LSU early this month, he said the offer he received from the Tigers "weighed on my mind," because of LSU's reputation at developing defensive linemen. Interest is there. The key for LSU will be getting him on campus for a visit.

This is a year in which LSU is going to be particularly interested in getting out-of-state defensive ends. While the overall prospect sheet is heavy with Louisiana players, that's not so much the case at defensive end, particularly since the general perception of ESPN 150 prospect Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Karr) and another highly-regarded state prospect, Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine), has them possibly shifting from end to defensive tackle in college.

From Scott (Houston): Baton Rouge has two really good 2015 running backs in Nick Brossette (University High) and Derrius Guice (Catholic High). Which one is better?

GL: That's hard to say at this point. Catholic will feature Guice more in this, his junior season after he largely split carries (often in the same backfield) as Khalil Thomas, a talented 2013 back who signed with McNeese State. It speaks to Guice's ability that as a 15-year-old sophomore he was able to share backfield carries with a college-bound senior.

Brossette, on the other hand, has put up big numbers at University since his eighth-grade year. This year, prodigious young headline maker Dylan Moses will take some of the load off of Brossette (though Moses may spend more time on defense in his freshman season).

I'd say that Guice is a little bit faster, so he might have a slight edge. Neither are quite at Fournette's level, but they are both outstanding in their own right. The 2015 class has those two backs, plus a couple of high-end offensive linemen (Jerry Tillery of Shreveport Evangel and Garrett Thomas of Many HS) who could potentially give LSU a real boost to its power-running game identity.