Lane chooses LSU; waits on baseball offer

Neville's prep All-American Robert Lane ended some of the speculation surrounding his future in athletics when the two-sport star pledged his services to LSU on Thursday.<br><br>Lane is the most heralded quarterback to commit to the Tigers since Josh Booty signed back with Curley Hallman in 1994. However, the comparisons with Booty will continue until Lane determines his true destiny next summer after the Major League baseball draft.

"I compared it to all the other schools and after I talked to my mom and dad I decided to go with my gut feeling," Lane said. "You can't beat LSU. It's one of the top programs in the country in football and baseball. That is where I really wanted to go and I'm very happy with my decision."


While many athletes want to make their decision known so the coaches and members of the media will stop bombarding their house with phone calls that is not Lane's reason for ending the recruiting process.


"I wanted to have this over with by hunting season and the beginning of district play so I could concentrate on hunting and winning district," he said.


The accolades for Lane (6-3, 215) keep rolling in based on his outstanding performance on the gridiron last season. All he did was complete 56 percent of his passes for 2,614 yards and 30 scores, while also adding 634 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground.


As good as he is on the football field, though, his numbers on the baseball diamond also warrant high praise. He smashed 12 homers and hit for a .518 average as a junior, prompting many professional scouts to label the third baseman as a potential high first round pick in next June's draft.


If he has to make a decision between professional baseball and college football, Lane figures to have received some good advice from a young man who went through the same dilemma. Lane spoke with former LSU quarterback Josh Booty and said he got some good advice on how to handle the delicate situation.


Booty signed with LSU out of high school but opted to give pro baseball a try when he was drafted third overall by the Florida Marlins. After spending a few seasons with the Marlins organization, Booty decided he had a better chance with football and returned to his home state to play for the school he always loved.


"I just called him and talked to him because I am in the same predicament he was in," Lane said. "I just got some advice on how he went through it and how he went through the process and everything. I also asked him what he thought about coach Saban and coach Fisher and he really liked them both. He did not have a great time at LSU in production-wise but he really liked LSU."


Lane has spent his summer working on the finer points of his game in both sports. He recently returned from the Elite 11 Quarterback Challenge in California and he spent some time on the Auburn campus at one of the Tigers' summer baseball camps.


The Elite 11 camp gave him an opportunity to spend time with some of the premier high school quarterbacks from around the country, along with getting some good advice from one of the top quarterback coaches around in Bob Johnson.


"It was probably one of the best times I ever had in my life," Lane said. "I was worried going into the deal about the guys not getting along and some maybe being a little different than the others. But we all got along great and came out like brothers."


Lane is the second nationally-ranked signal-caller to commit to the Tigers for the class of 2003 joining Matt Flynn of Tyler, Texas, who is rated 12th by


"I really like (assistant baseball) coach Turtle Thomas, coach (Jimbo) Fisher and coach Saban," said Lane, who is fully qualified with 3.2 GPA and a 20 on the ACT. "When I first talked to them I just felt comfortable around them. It's hard to explain the feeling you get but it felt like I could be successful with them.


"Also, playing in front of 92,000 people on game night and in Tiger Stadium does not get any better than that. I'll probably be wide-eyed and have chills running down my spine that first time I run through the goalposts but that is what you play the game for."


He said he gets the same question all of the time from fans in Monroe and from around the state. Which is it going to be? Is he going to play both sports in college or is he going to take the money and run?


Lane says he would like to be able to play football and then report to the team that drafts him for summer workouts, similar to former LSU quarterback Jamie Howard and former Michigan quarterback Drew Henson.


"That is what I want to do if it can happen," Lane said. "The only problem is they do not pay as much because they do not have you full time. We'll have to worry about that later."

Unfortunately, fans are going to have to wait a little longer than National Signing day in February before they learn of Lane's fate.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories