LSU Tigers: Sione Palelei

Critical positions in SEC recruiting 

September, 3, 2013

Each year college coaches prioritize their recruiting needs. Whether it's offensive or defensive linemen or skilled positions, there always seems to be an area that needs more attention than others. Here's a closer look at the most important position for each SEC team in recruiting this year.

Summer recruit wrap: LSU 

July, 23, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- With the spring/summer camp season winding down and August camp almost ready to start, here are 10 things we learned about LSU recruiting this summer.

Taking it slow

There was much optimism that with Louisiana enjoying arguably its strongest, deepest recruiting class since recruiting services started evaluating classes, LSU might not only finish with the nation's best class, the Tigers might run away and hide with it. That hasn't been the case as Louisiana's top seven players, included top target Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine). Remain uncommitted. The good news? LSU has nine ESPN 300 commitments already.

Harris becomes recruiter

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For LSU, camp yields dividends 

July, 22, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- With so many of the state's top prospects on campus for the LSU July elite camp, it would have been a shame if the Tigers finished the week without any new commitments.

At week's end, three new 2014 prospects decided they wanted to be Tigers, starting with kicker Cameron Gamble (Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound) Saturday, continuing with three-star running back Sione Palelei (Gonzales, La./East Ascension) Wednesday, then concluding with the big prize of the week, ESPN 300 quarterback Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) on Thursday.

With the new commitments, LSU is up to 14 for the recruiting season, including nine in the ESPN 300.

Here were the week's highlights:

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Palelei fits the Cam Cameron offense 

July, 17, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- When you think of a Cam Cameron offense, one of the first things that comes to mind is his use of fast, versatile running backs in space who can make a tackler miss.

Think LaDainian Tomlinson during Cameron's days as offensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers. Or perhaps Ray Rice in Baltimore.

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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Running back Sione Palelei (Gonzales La./East Ascension) is supposed to be a speed guy, but when he checked in for his one day of participation in LSU's July Elite camp Tuesday, he weighed in at a powerful 5-foot-10, 202 pounds with little body fat.

Did that mean he sacrificed his signature speed that makes him a sub-11 second 100-meter runner? Hardly. He turned around and ran a 4.45 40-yard dash.

The math added up. He's a 200-pound 2014 running back back with great speed and fantastic quickness in the open field. He was exactly what the Tigers were looking for to complement what they hope will be an upcoming commitment from national No. 1 recruit Leonard Fournette.

So LSU offered the three-star back at the end of camp, and Palelei accepted on the spot, becoming the 13th member of LSU's 2014 recruiting class.

"I was filled with joy," Palelei said when he got the offer. "I've wanted to come to LSU and now I've been given the chance. I'm happy."

Palelei worked hard to make it happen. After a 1,000-yard junior season for the Spartans, Palelei worked hard to redefine his body, adding weight while not negating his signature speed.

"It was brutal," he said. "Working out twice a day, taking one day off a week. It was tough, but worth it."

Palelei has seen his stock rise steadily through the spring. A native of Utah who moved to Louisiana in eighth grade, he got offers from BYU, Utah and from Hawaii, which hoped to draw his interest based on his Polynesian roots. He has since added offers from the likes of Minnesota and Arkansas.

But the offer he wanted came on Tuesday, and Palelei accepted it faster than one of his signature lightning-quick cuts on the football field. In a flash, the speedy Palelei was a Tiger.

LSU recruiting: Positions of need 

July, 2, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU is targeting many of the top athletes in the ESPN 300, some because the Tigers' strong brand name makes it an attractive option and others because the fertile Louisiana recruiting base is strong this year, even by the state's lofty standards.

Leonard Fournette
Alex Scarborough/ESPNLSU has its eyes on top recruit Leonard Fournette.
But what needs is LSU trying to meet?

That's a little trickier to figure out at LSU than many other schools because the frequency of underclassmen departures. But we can take a guess based on likely attrition.

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Quiet weekend at LSU's picnic 

May, 28, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Sometimes a picnic is just a picnic.

LSU hosted its annual Bayou Picnic recruiting day Saturday, an invitation-only event targeting select high-profile recruiting targets. And while some recruits were on "commitment alert," the Tigers had not landed any new commitments by the time Memorial Day weekend ended.

That's not to say it wasn't a significant event in the recruiting process.

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Louisiana deep with potential LSU targets 

April, 24, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- We all know LSU's top targets.

Louisiana has nine ESPN 150 prospects, nine which have LSU ofers and two who have already committed to the Tigers.

Who else might the Tigers target in state? Here's a look at some dark horses outside the ESPN 150, excluding already committed players such as William Clapp and Donnie Alexander:

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RB Palelei adds bulk, adding interest 

March, 26, 2013
ZACHARY, La. -- When Sione Palelei's father was considering moving his family from Utah to Louisiana when Sione was in seventh grade, he told his son that the football in Louisiana was "big," as Sione puts it.

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Lessons Learned: Baton Rouge NUC 

March, 24, 2013
ZACHARY, La. -- Sione Palelei's name is as fun to say as the 2014 running back is to watch.

The Utah transplant who stars for East Ascension High in Gonzales, La., was named the Most Valuable Player of the National Underclassman 5-star camp at Zachary High on Sunday.

Here is what we learned at the invitation-only event that drew players from southeast Texas to the Florida panhandle.

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NUC Baton Rouge: New names to watch 

March, 4, 2013
ZACHARY, La. -- Most of the big, proven names from Louisiana skipped the National Underclassman Combine in the Baton Rouge suburb of Zachary Sunday.

With Nike recently having had its SPARQ combine in New Orleans and Under Armour events coming up, many top names passed on working out on Zachary's artificial turf.

Tight end Jacory Washington (Westlake, La./Westlake) stayed in street clothes until one-on-one drills. Running backs Sione Palelei (Gonzales, La//East Ascension and local favorite Forrest Town (Zachary, La./Zachary), who finished third out of some 1,500 participants at the recent SPARQ combine in Houston, were there in street clothes as well.

Martell Hawthorne
Gary Laney/ESPNMartell Hawthorne's opened eyes with his performance at the NUC Baton Rouge.
We've covered the performances of big names such as LSU commits Washington and Devin Voorhies (Woodville, Miss./Wilkinson County), but there were more names worth keeping an eye on, including the younger brother of a current Alabama defensive back. Here are a few of them:

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2014 LSU recruiting preview: QB and RB 

February, 27, 2013
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 FournetteAlex Scarborough/ESPN.comLSU 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:

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LSU can fill (almost) every '14 need locally 

February, 12, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- There's a perception in Louisiana that as long as LSU puts a recruiting fence around the state, so to speak, the Tigers will have a top 10-15 team annually.

There is truth to this notion, but also some exaggeration.

In most years, there are positions where LSU might feel compelled to leave the state to fill the need.

So that makes the 2014 class that much more remarkable.

Save quarterback, one can find major prospects in Louisiana at every position. This is a year when LSU can sign a great class without leaving the state. Here's how:

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2014 position preview: Running backs 

November, 6, 2012
The lack of a running back in LSU's 2013 recruiting class signals two obvious situations. First, as has been repeated plenty, the Tigers are absolutely loaded at the position with five quality players, none of whom are seniors. Second, it creates a pretty big need for a ball carrier -- more likely two -- in the 2014 class, as three of those five scholarship backs are guaranteed to leave after the 2013 season, if not sooner.

The emergence of true freshman Jeremy Hill gives plenty of hope for the future of the position. But any of the trio of Alfred Blue, Michael Ford or Spencer Ware could depart at this season's end. And even if not, all three will graduate after next season. So the time is now to restock the stable, and 2014 looks like a good class to do so.


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