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July 2, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Gary Laney

Gary Laney
  (1:59 PM)

With Louisiana guys showing up well at the Opening and LSU having received a recent commitment from safety John Battle IV, we have a lot to talk about. So let's get started, shall we?

Gatigerfan (The peach state)

Hello Gary, I haven't heard much about Lawrence jones please don't tell me we lose out on him like we did with Landon Collins, and also any word on Jeremy Hill yet?

Gary Laney
  (2:01 PM)

Laurence "Hootie" Jones is who you are talking about and I'm afraid I can't really ease your mind in regards to him. It looks like a two-team race between LSU and Alabama for him and I can't pick either team with any confidence. As for Hill, I've been hearing that there will likely be a suspension, though not necessarily a long-term suspension. But there has been nothing official.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

I noticed that Battle was a soft commit. What exactly is a soft commit vs. a hard commit?

Gary Laney
  (2:04 PM)

A soft commit is when a player plans to continue to entertain other options. Personally, I think LSU is fine with Battle. Good fit and he seems enthusiastic.

Steve (washington dc)

Gary, do you see an espn 150 player committing to LSU this month? If so, who would you guess it would be?

Gary Laney
  (2:06 PM)

I'd be surprised if LSU didn't make it out of July without at least one ESPN 300 commit and likely one in the top 150. Brandon Harris announces July 18 and it looks like an LSU-Auburn battle. Trey Quinn may want to end the process before August camp and LSU is in the mix. Let's see where Garrald McDowell is at month's end. And there can always be surprises.

Gatigerfan (The peach state)

Also, what big in state prospect do you see LSU not signing in this class, I know it's loaded but I know we can't get them all.

Gary Laney
  (2:10 PM)

You can start with the ones LSU does not seem to be recruiting, like wide receiver Cameron Sims out of Monroe's Ouachita High and Mattrell McGraw out of John Curtis. LSU joined in on the McDowell sweepstakes along with Godchaux out of Plaquemine. Beyond the ones they aren't pursuing, I'll say that North Louisiana is really wavering on the Tigers right now. Robinson and Jones are far from locks and while I think Harris will ultimately pick LSU, Auburn is very much in the picture as well.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

LSU is still in a position to land some big names and become the number one class for 2014. Is there a player or two that you feel makes or breaks this recruiting class?

Gary Laney
  (2:12 PM)

I think Fournette is big in more ways than just being the No. 1 player. If he chooses LSU, I think that may motivate some of the undecided New Orleans guys to join him. I'm thinking specifically of Noil and maybe Willis. Willis could have a similar influence.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you tihink Cameron Robinson and Speedy Noil both end up in Baton Rouge when it's all said and done? And what position will Noil play for the Tigers?

Gary Laney
  (2:14 PM)

I think LSU would be OK with splitting the pair and ecstatic with getting them both. I'd expect LSU to at least split. Noil would play wide receiver. I would not be shocked if he gets reclassified from "athlete" to "wide receiver" at some point.

Stephan (Tn)

How many of La.'s top recruits do you expect LSU to get?

Gary Laney
  (2:20 PM)

Louisiana has eight of the top 48 players in the ESPN 300. I'd be surprised if LSU doesn't land more than have, maybe 3/4 of them. Half would be a disappointment, 7 of 8 a pleasant surprise.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

Dhaquille Williams name has gone quiet since decommitting. Is he still a big target?

Gary Laney
  (2:21 PM)

A cautious yes. I think D'haquille is getting a chance to see what's out there, but LSU will also get a chance to evaluate its needs in the class.

Luis (Alexandria, LA)

Do the Tigers still have a shot at DaQuihille Williams (sp?)?

Gary Laney
  (2:22 PM)

Nice try at the spelling :-). Just joshing ya. I really would not be surprised if he's in this class.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

How do you think the LSU front seven will measure up against the powerful Bulldog running game on the road in Athens?

Gary Laney
  (2:25 PM)

I think LSU's front seven will be very good at day's end. Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson may be better as a pair of DTs than Bennie Logan and Josh Downs were last year. The LBs, I think, can be a strength of the defense. The key is finding a true middle LB, whether that be Lamin Barrow (moving from WLB), DJ Welter (who started during the spring) or somebody else. Lots of young talent among the LBs. The key to the entire front seven, in my opinion, is finding a natural MLB.

Mari IL [via mobile]

What are the potential trap games

Gary Laney
  (2:28 PM)

The one that jumps out the most is Mississippi State between Georgia and Florida. We know MSU is quality now, but LSU has dominated the series, so it might be in danger of not taking this one seriously enough. I would also say Ole Miss after Florida, but I think the Rebels have everybody's attention, given their recruiting success last year.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

Speaking of Speedy, is LSU out of his mind?

Gary Laney
  (2:29 PM)

In a few words, "Not at all." By the way, how about that 44-inch vertical leap at the SPARQ yesterday? Unbelievable.

Stephan (Tn)

Do you expect LSU's offense to improve dramatically this year and if so don't you think that would have a lot to do with some of the recruits decision on whether to sign with LSU?

Gary Laney
  (2:31 PM)

Oh, I think you are absolutely right Stephan. When LSU has fallen short in recent years, it's been on the offensive side. That's no secret. And you have an offensive heavy class in state. If Leonard Fournette were a middle linebacker and the four stud Louisiana receivers in the top 70 were DBs, I'd bet LSU would have half the top players in the state committed already. I think there is a little bit of wait-and-see with how the offense looks under Cam Cameron.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you think the Tigers make it in the NCAA Tournament this year?

Gary Laney
  (2:33 PM)

I'm assuming you're talking basketball. And my answer is yes. They kept Johnny O'Bryant inside and that's a huge key, in my opinion. A key to me will be at the center spot. Can LSU go big with Odo and the Australian freshman? Or will O'Bryant be forced to play as a 5 man. Guard play will be fine, I think.

Scott Hammond (Saint Amant, La)

How many WR's do you expect the Tigers to sign? The state has a bumper crop but the Tigers offense only has so many reps to go around...

Gary Laney
  (2:35 PM)

I think they target five, then at the back end of the class they will be in a situation where they are evaluating what's left vs. needs vs. what they can get next year. Look at it this year, I don't know if many would have thought LSU was in the market for another LB when they took Duke Riley late last year. I'd expect LSU to "comfortably" take five, then maybe add another depending on what's out there towards the end.

Gary Laney
  (2:36 PM)

Sorry, for the inconsistency in the answer above. LSU will take five, then maybe add another. But if it comes to that, I would expect that maybe Chark would be part of the DB class.

Ben (Richmond, KY)

Gary, I was always a little skeptical on the Rhaheed commitment (now decommitment). I never questioned his allegiance to LSU. I was really more confused in why we recruited him. What position were we looking at him for? His size and weight did not really fit the mold of a DE or OLB. I wish the kid well in his future, but I think this a loss we could afford to take.

Gary Laney
  (2:38 PM)

It could be in both sides' best interest. I look at LSU's linebackers and see no shortage of athletic, sort of undersized guys. They need a Sheppard or a Minter to man the middle. Garrett or Kenny Young would fit that mold, in my opinion, although some see Young outside. I like Kenny's physicality and I think he can bulk up to play inside.

Neil (TX)

If Cam Robinson goes elsewhere, does LSU have any other OT targets?

Gary Laney
  (2:42 PM)

I think you'll see more offensive linemen emerge on LSU's radar. LSU would have a need, especially if the Ethan Pocic at center move remains something LSU considers permanent (Pocic is currently listed as a C on LSU's roster).

Justin L. (Cut Off, LA)

It seems that LSU is in the lead for Lb Clifton Garrett, what are the chances that when signing day comes, he actually ends up in purple and Gold?

Gary Laney
  (2:44 PM)

I think LSU is 50-50 against the field. I've heard things about other contenders, particularly Ole Miss. I like LSU's chances here.

Bradley (Baton Rouge)

What incoming freshman will make an immediate impact in 2013? I know the obvious is Tredavious White. Any chance Kendell Beckwith would see time at MLB?

Gary Laney
  (2:47 PM)

I think Beckwith will have an opportunity if LSU struggles to find a natural fit at MLB. There has been some resistance to moving Barrow, so the opportunity may present itself. Another to keep at eye on is Rashard Robinson at CB, though I must note that Robinson has yet to arrive at LSU for summer workouts as he tries to clear up an NCAA clearinghouse issue. There is a lot of optimism that he will do so successfully. My big question with him, at this point, is will he be hurt by missing the weight room workouts in June and part of July.

Kevin (Reno, NV)

Are the Tigers preparing for the previously suspended Casey Pachal under center when they travel to Jerry's World to face TCU?

Gary Laney
  (2:48 PM)

I'm sure they never stopped preparing for him and, at the same time, weren't necessarily preparing for anybody. Right now it's about team building and not about preparing for any specific team, even the season opener.

Ben (Richmond, KY)

Apparently, WR Saeed Blacknall has hinted that he may be a Tiger. I know you mainly cover prospects from LA, but is there anything you can tell me about this kid from NJ? Does he possess a certain skill that the local WRs may lack or be slightly inferior? Judging from his size, he looks like a pretty solid (and underrated) prospect.

Gary Laney
  (2:51 PM)

I know LSU loves him and thinks of him as a comparable talent to the in-state guys. What would LSU do if Blacknall, Dupre, Quinn and Noil all fall in line to the Tigers? That would give them six WR commits. At that point, I think Chark is a DB. Upchurch a possible hybrid TE (see how big he is now?) and the big question is do you take Williams? I'm not sure if I take Williams over any of the four uncommitted guys because they will be 3-4 year guys (given the possibility of early entry to the NFL) and Williams would be a 1-2 year guy. If you take Williams over, say, Dupre, and Williams is gone in a year, you'll be looking for another WR in the 2015 class and does that class have receivers the same quality of Dupre, Quinn, Noil and Blacknall?

Justin L. (Cut Off, LA)

Lets say Brandon Harris chooses Auburn, would we be that bad off with not going with a QB for this class?

Gary Laney
  (2:53 PM)

I'm a believer in taking a QB every class. Quarterback is a different kind of position because, ideally, only one plays. So the ones who aren't playing tend not to stick around. I think you take one every year in anticipation of future attrition. I can see some QBs leaving as the battle to replace Mettenberger for 2014 shapes up. So unless there really isn't a guy they like in this class, I think LSU takes one. Harris isn't the only possibility out there.

Henry (Montgomery, AL)

That 44" jump has me excited about the kid's (Noil's) future. Not trying to jump the gun, but if LSU gets the bulk load of their targets, I see at least two national titles beginning next year.

Gary Laney
  (2:55 PM)

Ah, but you did just jump the gun, Henry. But yes, this Louisiana class could be the foundation of a special, special team, I'd agree with that.

Stephan (Tn)

Have you heard anything on Blue's recovery, and how many backs does LSU have? and don't you think that could influence Fournetts decision on signing with LSU knowing he'll be the top back as a freshman?

Gary Laney
  (2:57 PM)

Blue was fine even in the spring, but was held out of contact simply as a precaution. If they were getting ready for TCU instead of a spring game in April, Blue would have played and been close to 100 percent. I do think the RB depth situation is, at least in part, by design to make LSU a more attractive option. There is no question that Fournette would see significant playing time as a freshman given LSU's RB situation. That is not as clear at Alabama.

Scott (Los Angeles)

Do you think there will be any more surprises before Aug. 31, in the way of suspensions? Seems to be spreading around the SEC lately. Even Vandy!

Gary Laney
  (2:58 PM)

One thing you can expect in the SEC is the unexpected suspension. I'll just leave it at that.

JT (Mountain Home, AR)

80+ snaps per game (average) is on the high end of college football. How many offensive snaps do you see the tigers getting this season?

Gary Laney
  (3:00 PM)

I don't think LSU quite gets there this season, though it could. I can't see a front-running Les Miles team staying with an up-tempo approach. Instead, it'll grind it. I can see that happening in the Kent State, Furman and UAB games in particularly and would expect it to happen in at least a couple of lopsided SEC games. I would not, however, be surprised to see LSU hit the 80 snap mark in some competitive games this fall, particularly if numbers at RB are an issue.

Andrew (Atlanta)

What do you think about the secondary this year? Obviously we are younger than we have been in a while. Do you see Tre White having an immediate impact? Also, do you think Welter or Barrow takes the middle spot? Hoping for Debo, Barrow, Kwon to man the LB spots this year!

Gary Laney
  (3:02 PM)

Free safety is a key position. Loston will have his best year at SS and the talent at CB is impressive. I lean toward Barrow at MLB. I expect Welter to be a guy who has been prepared to take significant snaps at MLB through his spring experience, but not necessarily as a starter.

Gary Laney
  (3:03 PM)

Folks, I've run out of time. Have a few questions unanswered that I'll address for Friday's mailbag. Any more mailbag questions? Send them to glaneyespn@gmail.com or @glaneyespn on Twitter. See you guys next week!