RECRUITING: Commitments and grades

National Signing Day is three weeks away and the Tigers are sitting at 22 commitments counting one "gray shirt" from 2005 in Trindon Holliday.

The majority of this class will be academically qualified when freshmen report to fall camp in August but there are a few prospects who have been working earnestly in the classroom so that they will be able to play as true freshmen.

 

One player who is going to be counted on to lend some depth to the offensive line is New Iberia (La.) guard Zhamal Thomas.

 

In the beginning it appeared that the 6-4, 315-pounder would be a long shot to qualify academically and would likely have to sit out or go the junior college route but a strong semester in the classroom has paid big dividends for the big man.

 

"I just got my ACT score back from the last time I took it and when they averaged all of my scores together my coach said they came out to a 17.5," Thomas said. "After the second semester I should be eligible because I have some classes that will pick up my GPA. I made all B's the first semester and if I do that again then I'll be qualified."

 

Another guard the coaches are counting on is four-star lineman Steven Singleton of Buford, Ga.

 

Singleton racked up numerous post-season awards for his performance on the gridiron including first team all-state and lineman of the year in Gwinnett County.

 

The 6-3, 292-pounder has also had a good year academically and claims that he is now fully qualified.

 

"I know I have a 2.95 GPA and my counselor told me just the other day that I am qualified as long as I keep getting good grades," Singleton said. "I've taken the SAT several times but I can't remember my score. I just know my counselor said I'm qualified."

 

LSU has the state's top two running back prospects already committed in Charles Scott (6-0, 220, 4.5) and Richard Murphy (6-1, 195, 4.5).

 

The Tigers are also in good shape with five-star back Keiland Williams (6-0, 220, 4.5) and if the Hargrave Military Academy product jumps on board then that would give LSU its most heralded freshman crop of running backs ever.

 

Scott and Williams have both met eligibility requirements but Murphy still has a little work to do.

 

"I made a 16 the first time and then I made another 16 this last time," Murphy said regarding the ACT. "I'm taking an ACT prep class that should help me get where I need to be when I take it again Feb. 11."

 

Murphy said his core GPA is a little over a 2.7 and he is confident that he will be fully qualified by the time he prepares to head down to Baton Rouge in June.

 

West Monroe (La.) safety/linebacker Shomari Clemons (6-2, 205, 4.6)  gave Miles his verbal back in July but he had a long road ahead of him on the academic side.

 

At the time he committed, Clemons acknowledged the fact that he did not place much of an emphasis on his school work his first two years of high school and he got behind.

 

However, he has worked just as hard in the classroom as he has on the field and now says he is very close to qualifying.

 

"My GPA is close to a 2.5 and it might even be there after the first part of the year," he said. "I scored a 17 on my ACT but I'll be retaking that again in February."

 

What will Clemons do if he fails to qualify?

 

"I'm really not even thinking about that because I'm going to qualify," he said. "If something happens and I don't then I'll go to a junior college."

 

Mobile (Ala.) Davidson wide receiver London Crawford (6-2, 186, 4.5) is still waiting to get his score from his latest attempt at the ACT. The first time he took it he made a 16 which put him very close to qualifying.

 

"I should be getting the score back any day now," he said. "I've got the GPA but I'm just waiting on that test score."

 

Two of the Tigers' top commitments are also still on the fence in Elton (La.) defensive tackle Al Woods (6-3, 315, 5.2) and Waco (Texas) University cornerback Perish Cox.

 

Both have the necessary grade point average but the last time we spoke to them they were still waiting on their results from when they took the ACT in December.

 

Tiger Rag will hopefully catch up with Woods and Cox later this week to get an update on their status.


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