First look at Gabriel Bryant

LSU passing game coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken will have to replace a pair of three-year starters following the 2006 campaign so look for the Tigers to sign at least two wide receivers in the Class of 2007.

Monken wasted little time in trying to fill his needs as he already landed one of his top targets when Jonesboro Hodge (La.) athlete Gabriel Bryant (6-2, 190, 4.5) committed to the Tigers.

Bryant played his junior season at Crossett (Ark.) after spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at Jonesboro Hodge. He was Crossett's go-to guy in the passing game as he pulled in 31 catches for 647 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Head coach Joey Pender just took over the reigns at Jonesboro Hodge so he has not had the luxury of coaching Bryant but he knows all too well just what type of player he is.

"I knew about Gabriel from my days at Winnfield so I knew how good of an athlete we were getting," Pender said. "I've seen film on him from last year when he was up in Arkansas and the thing that stands out about him is he makes plays when things break down. He is very dangerous when he has the ball."

Pender plans on utilizing Bryant's skills primarily at quarterback but he will see plenty of action in every phase of the game.

"We're drawing up our offense right now and it will be designed a lot around his abilities," Pender said. "We're throwing a lot of things at him and he is picking it all up pretty quickly. We plan on playing him some at defensive back and also in the returns game too so he will be a busy young man next Fall."

Pender said that even though his star athlete will not be catching many passes next year that should not affect what coaches and scouts think of his future as a receiver.

"Like I told coach (Les) Miles, I had a kid who played quarterback for me a long time ago in Marty Booker and he went on to have a pretty successful career as a receiver in the NFL," he said. "Gabriel has a lot of the same tools. To me they are both alike in the sense that they could do just about anything they wanted on the field."

Bryant's commitment may have taken some people by surprise because he was not mentioned on many early recruiting lists for 2007 but the LSU coaching staff definitely knew he was.

"I've been knowing Stacey Searels (LSU offensive line coach) for years and when I told him about him he said he knew already of him," Pender said. "They had video on him and they really liked what they saw. Then when I talked to coach Miles he said they wanted him. Miles offered and Gabriel wanted to be a Tiger."

Pender said he could not recall exactly what Bryant's grades were but he said that he should not have any problems qualifying academically.

Bryant was commitment No. 1 for Miles and the Tigers in 2007 so who will be next?

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