Where does LSU go from here in recruiting quarterbacks for the Class of 2006?
With Alex Cate opting to take his skills to Oklahoma State, that leaves LSU searching for someone to take his place and the options are rather limited at this time.
The only other quarterback LSU has been in contact with since Cate committed over the summer is Tim Tebow.
Many felt that Cate's decision would give LSU a better chance at pulling Tebow to bayou country but that does not appear to be the case at all.
Several analysts have quoted Tebow as saying that Cate leaving will not have any impact on his decision one way or the other. He also said the same thing about Jevan Snead de-committing from Florida and leaving the Gators without a signal caller too.
If anyone would benefit from the recent turn of events at both schools one thinks it would have to be Florida. The Gators are the hometown team and Gainesville is not that far away from St. Augustine so the distance factor has to cross his mind somewhat. Also, the depth chart at Florida looks a lot better than it does at LSU.
Speaking of the depth charts, Tebow said that they will not be the determining factor when he makes his decision but he is well aware of how his five finalists stack up at the quarterback position.
I fully expect that when it comes time for Tebow to make his decision it will come down to Alabama and Florida.
And the winner is? At this point, I say Bama but I think Florida is going to make things very interesting for the next three and a half weeks.
A player LSU was in good standing with before Alex Cate gave his verbal back over the summer was Chris Smelley.
I put in a couple of calls during the week but could not reach anyone at Smelley's house or on his cell phone. He is one to keep an eye on because after him there does not appear to be anyone else on LSU's board unless someone new pops up.
Jai Eugene will be taking his first official visit this weekend when he heads up to Ann Arbor to check out the Michigan/Ohio State match up.
I spoke with Scout.com's No. 1 rated corner briefly during the week and he said he still talks to someone from the LSU staff several times a week. Miami is putting the full-court press on Eugene and is being real aggressive in their pursuit of the blue-chip corner but will it be enough to get him to leave home?
Some LSU fans have expresses some concerns over an Internet profile of Eugene where he is in a green jacket and the Miami Hurricanes' stadium is in the background. I asked Eugene if that was a sign or anything and he just laughed and said that one of his friends did that and people should not read anything into it.
I also asked the talented corner if Chaz Washington's decision to commit to Miami would have any impact on his decision and he replied, "None at all. Chaz asked me if I was going to go to Miami with him and I told him he has to do what is best for him because that is what I am going to do. So no, that will not affect my decision."
Eugene has been chosen to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January and while many prospects like to announce their commitments at the game, Eugene will not be one of them as he said he plans on announcing his choice on signing day.
I still say the chances of him going anywhere but LSU are very slim, as do others close to his situation, but it is worth noting that the Canes are making things very interesting.
I got a call late Thursday evening from someone I have been trying to reach and what a nice surprise it was when I heard this is Dexter Manley, Jr.
The 6-4, 260 pound defensive end said he is in contact with LSU on a weekly basis and he spoke to Karl Dunbar on Tuesday.
"He said he wants me to play for him and he is really excited about me coming in," Manley said. "He said he wants two more defensive ends in this class and that is me and Louis Holmes. He said he wants speed, power and size, and that is what he sees in the both of us."
Manley said he will be coming to town on Thanksgiving Day and will spend it with the coaches.
I asked him if there was a chance he could commit on the trip and he said, "There is definitely a high chance I could commit. I already have a good relationship with coach Dunbar and if I have the same kind with all of the other coaches and we hit it off then there is a good chance."
Three weeks ago, Lee Tilley was close to committing to LSU but a late push from the Auburn coaching staff has put the War Eagles heavily into the mix and possibly even into his top spot.
All of the talk surrounding this young man has centered on LSU and Auburn but South Carolina is also worth keeping an eye on and could come up from nowhere to land the big prize.
There is all kind of speculation being tossed around on message boards as to what is going on with Tilley and some seem to think that LSU has backed off some on the big tackle.
I've maintained close contact with Tilley and one of his coaches over the past six weeks and in no way have either indicated that they feel like LSU has put them on the backburner. In fact, I was told that as recent as this past week Tilley was told that LSU will take his commitment if he is ready to give it. That is not from a source but rather from one of his coaches.
I think this is just a case of the Auburn coaches doing a better job of recruiting the Ohio native and maybe a case of the LSU staff feeling like they had the big man in the bag. Auburn wasn't really in the picture up until three weeks ago but now the Plainsmen could hold the upper hand.
As for the backburner issue, if that is in fact the case, then that makes no sense to me at all.
I can't imagine that Les Miles, or Stacey Searels for that matter, would not want a player of Tilley's caliber when the offensive tackle spot is a major need in this class. He has the size at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds to play on the edge and he has good feet for a big man.
It is critical that LSU gets a couple of offensive tackles that can contribute, possibly next year and definitely two years down the road, and getting this kid in school in January to where he can take part in spring practice would go a long ways towards shoring up the tackle position.
Tilley said he has already made his decision and he will let the cat out of the bag on Monday so until then the speculation and rumors will continue to run rampant.
I've been told by someone very close to the program that the coaches feel like they have a decent shot with the country's No. 3 rated offensive lineman in Ian Symonette, who some consider the top tackle prospect in America.
Everything I've been hearing from my leading source in Texas is that it's a Miami/LSU battle with the Hurricanes holding the lead. That is exactly what I have gotten from Symonette every time I've spoken to him, not that he has said anything like that, but what I've gathered from reading between the lines.
Symonette is scheduled to take his official visit to LSU the second weekend in December and then Miami will be the following weekend. After that Miami trip I hope to have a better feel for where he is leaning.
One Texas tackle that has been removed from LSU's wish list is Chris Stewart as he has committed to Notre Dame.
Several of LSU's early commitments have hinted at the possibility of taking some other official visits and some have already visited other schools. At this time, though, none have de-committed with the exceptions of Alex Cate and Anthony Boudreaux.
We will never know the complete story on Cate but I've been told by some reliable sources that the LSU coaches are livid about the way Alex's father is portraying the situation when he gives interviews. Word is that the coaches were a lot more truthful and up front with the Cates then they are letting on to and it may be after signing day before we get their side of the story due to NCAA rules prohibiting coaches from commenting publicly on recruits.
Bani Gbadyu took a visit to Penn State and will head to Georgia this weekend before he sits down with his family and decides if LSU is the best place for him. I expect Gbadyu to de-commit before Christmas and to end up at Penn State because that will be a better fit and transition for him and his family.
Kelvin Sheppard visited Tennessee last weekend and he had a lot of good things to say about the trip but when I asked him if he was still committed to LSU, he replied, "Oh yes. Me and Perry (Riley) are both still committed and excited about going to LSU."
Marcus Tillman, Troy Giddens and Al Woods are also flirting with the idea of taking some visits but if they do there is absolutely nothing to worry about. It would be just getting away for the weekend to enjoy a trip and nothing more.
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