Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly mailbag, a question-and-answer forum between readers and LSU team and recruiting reporter Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we touch on LSU’s pursuit of two dual-threat quarterbacks, where the Tigers stand with one of the state’s most prolific athletes and what to expect at wide receiver next year.
To submit a question for Spiegelman, tweet at @SamSpiegs on Twitter on Monday nights.
Is it possible LSU takes two QBs this class?
— Deric T (@dathompson02) November 7, 2017
Remember that just last year, LSU reeled in two All-American quarterbacks in Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse. There was a point in the 2018 recruiting cycle where it seemed unlikely that the team would even be able to take one quarterback this year.
However, quarterback emerged as a major position of need after Lindsey Scott Jr. elected to transfer to the junior college ranks. With an uncertain future lingering over junior Justin McMillan, who has been surpassed on the depth chart by Brennan, and Danny Etling set to graduate after the 2017 season, there is no way that LSU can afford not to bring in a quarterback in this recruiting class.
LSU is recruiting a handful of quarterbacks at this juncture, both committed and uncommitted, but it’s highly unlikely that the team will be able to address all the position of needs and also secure two quarterbacks. It’s more reasonable to assume that the Tigers bring in one quarterback in 2018 to be developed behind Brennan and Narcisse, and from there the coaching staff will evaluate whether one or two more quarterbacks will be needed in the 2019 class based on any future roster developments.
Where does lsu stand with Pooka Williams?
— Honeywood_82 (@Honeywood82) November 7, 2017
LSU is at the top of the list for 3-star Hahnville (La.) High School athlete Pooka Williams, who remains very firm in his commitment to Kansas. If Williams elects to reopen his recruitment or make a late flip elsewhere before signing his letter of intent during the early signing period in December, then LSU is on the short list of options.
In speaking with the prolific athlete — who LSU likes as both an all-purpose back and someone who could see snaps in the slot — LSU is a little late to the party in recruiting the in-state prospect. That hasn’t entirely hurt the Tigers’ chances of keeping Williams in The Boot, but Kansas’ early push and the ability to secure an early commitment certainly works in the Big 12 school’s favor of holding on through December.
Keep in mind that LSU is currently in a strong position with several elite 2018 slot receivers such as Lawrence Keys III and Justin Watkins and running backs such as Harold Joiner. The team holds a commitment from 3-star Alabama athlete Tae Provens, who is absolutely solid and will enroll early. LSU would need to lose some confidence with some of those targets before it pushes all of its chips on the table to flip Williams away from the Jayhawks.
Can you compare Gerry Bohanan and James Foster?
— Harold Woods (@Klutch6ene13) November 7, 2017
I’d be glad to.
Let’s start with James Foster, the quarterback that LSU offered just last month and immediately vaulted toward the top of the team’s board for 2018. The first thing to note is Foster’s size, who measures up at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds.
Foster has an equally impressive arm. He can sling the ball all over the field, particularly on deep passes, and has the arm strength to make every throw. What stands out the most is his anticipation. On deep and intermediate routes, Foster puts the ball in the right position where only his receiver can make a play. The coaches at Sidney Lanier (Ala.) High School wanted Foster to learn how to read defenses effectively, so they put him in a system where he forced to go through his options before making the throw. It shows, too, as Foster makes a habit of hitting his receiver in stride or making the right checkdowns.
Additionally, his big frame translates well to the running game. Foster is a dual-threat and big enough to strike fear in opposing defenses. His mobility adds a whole other element to his game.
Gerry Bohanon boasts a lot of similar traits as Foster, largely because he, too, is a dual-threat quarterback who can makes plays with his arm and his legs.
The 4-star Arkansas passer possesses great arm strength, which helps him thrive on intermediate and deep passes down the field. Bohanon is especially accurate on his long balls, which is certainly impressive as he connects on go routes and puts the ball right on the money.
As a runner, Bohanon is probably more electric than Foster. In open space, he is shifty and elusive and boasts great speed for the position. When he’s running at full speed, it spells trouble for would-be tacklers.
One thing Bohanon will need to work on is his footwork, but he often is able to make plays while on the run at the high school level.
Who do you see as the starting WRs next year? Is there a freshman that's in play that can come in an make an impact immediately?
— Michael Williams (@Williamsm1980) November 7, 2017
Well, it can’t go unnoticed that sophomore Stephen Sullivan ranks seventh on the team in receiving this season. Sullivan has 6 receptions for 146 yards (fifth on the team) with a touchdown and is also being utilized on some running and sweep plays over the past month.
Another sophomore, Drake Davis, also has seen a good chunk of action in the receiving game. A big-play threat, Davis is averaging nearly 15 yards per reception with 134 yards and a touchdown on the year. It’s worth noting that he saw most of his action in the rotation earlier this year.
The last member of that 2016 recruiting class, Dee Anderson, is quickly seeing his playing time increase week to week. The big-bodied wide receiver has seen more snaps in each game over the past few weeks, particularly on the road at Alabama.
With that in mind, I project Davis and Sullivan to be LSU’s top two receivers on the outside and Derrick Dillon in the slot when spring football rolls around. Anderson should be involved as well, carving out a role as the best vertical threat. Among the current freshmen, I’d point to Racey McMath and Justin Jefferson as two to watch. I expect them to compete for playing time behind Davis and Sullivan.
Keep in mind that Texas Tech transfer Jonathan Giles will be eligible for the 2018 season and should see time in the slot along with Dillon. Right now, offensive coordinator Matt Canada has interchanged Russell Gage and Dillon in the slot and for jet-sweeps, a role that should be waiting for Giles next year.
Do you think derrius guice is leaving this year or not?
— Kjj.Williams🚀 (@BuckettgttrKjj) November 7, 2017
Derrius Guice will certainly leave after this season. The stud junior tailback has always been vocal that he plans to leave for the NFL when he’s eligible to do so to better take care of his family. That’s something I fully expect to happen when LSU’s season comes to a close.
Guice has overcome an injury-plagued start to his junior campaign to set a single-game rushing record in the 40-24 victory at Ole Miss. That marked his third 250-plus-yard rushing effort for Guice.
LSU’s starting tailback is rounding into shape and doing so for an LSU football team that has picked up its play during the second half of the season. He is being projected as a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, so it seems like the timing is lining up perfectly for Guice to follow his dreams of playing professional football after the season.
Remember that the Tigers will also lose senior running back Darrel Williams, who will also be selected in next year’s draft.