GeauxTigerNation recruiting writer David Helman is back with another GeauxTigerNation mailbag, taking questions about the Tigers' recruiting efforts this year.
From @JustinMcCain: How do you see LSU finishing out this 2013 recruiting class? Any surprises? There's usually at least one.
The one thing I can guarantee is that we'll all be surprised by the way this class finishes out -- for better or for worse. We've seen it go both ways before, such as in 2009 when the Tigers landed stud prospect Sam Montgomery all the way from South Carolina on national signing day. Obviously, we all know how successful Montgomery has been since then. And of course, just last year, LSU lost Louisiana's top two prospects, safety Landon Collins and linebacker Torshiro Davis, to out-of-state suitors.
With 22 of 25 spots filled before we've played a single game, there's bound to be some changes. The Tigers may well lose a player or two to decommitments or academic eligibility issues. But there's still plenty of talent out there that LSU can secure if they lose anyone. There are two big, obvious names in Louisiana (more on them in a minute). But I also think the Tigers add another member to their monstrous class of defensive linemen -- probably Greg Gilmore, if I had to guess. It's also worth pointing out that the high school season is just beginning. The coaching staff will be going out to look at players during their senior seasons, and a guy they weren't sold on in the summer might find himself on the radar through his play.
From @MarkerLight_Ind: How many more slots does LSU have for this recruiting class/can they go over 25 and count some early enrollees back to last year?
The rules on signing limits and regulations seem like the they require a law degree sometimes, but it seems like the idea of "back counting" is being phased out of SEC recruiting pretty quickly. Teams are now allowed to sign 25 players, and only 25 players, in the period between Dec. 1 and May 31. And unlike in the past, a player counts toward a class if he signs his national letter of intent -- even if he never steps foot on campus.
That's probably part of the reason the LSU coaching staff was so keen to bring in Rob Bolden to replace Jeremy Liggins -- they had already lost that scholarship, so they might as well fill it.
If you look at ESPN's LSU commitment list, you'll see it gives the Tigers 23 commits for 2013. But one of those is 2012 wide receiver Avery Johnson, who entered Hargrave Military Academy after failing to qualify academically. If I'm interpreting the rules right, Johnson should not count toward the 2013 class, provided he enrolls early this January -- which is what he has stated he intends to do. But that still leaves LSU with just three more spots in this class.
From @pittstillfan: Any insight on Tim Williams, Kendell Beckwith, or other B.R./N.O. area prospects' school wish lists?
Williams and Beckwith are going to be the names on everyone's mind for the rest of football season -- especially after last January, when the Tigers lost Collins from nearby Dutchtown at the 11th hour. Williams plays for LSU Laboratory School, which literally plays its games in the shadow of LSU's football operations center. Beckwith is up at East Feliciana -- a mere 20-minute drive up U.S. 61 from Baton Rouge.
Logic says that these guys are LSU locks, but you never know. The last time I talked to Williams he had just recently returned from a summer camp at FSU and was high on the Seminoles. He also considers LSU a favorite, and Alabama will undoubtedly factor into the equation. With Beckwith it's been LSU and Alabama seemingly his entire recruitment, and he doesn't look overly interested in anyone else.
Both guys seem determined to wait until after their seasons to make any kind of decision. So LSU fans will just have to be patient and think happy thoughts.
Those are probably the only local guys being considered for the remainder of this class. As for 2014, Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine), Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) Gerald Willis (New Orleans/Edna Karr) and Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./LSU Laboratory) are all area kids to keep an eye on -- and the Tigers are hard after all of them.