Backs on the Bayou

Down in Louisiana, where the alligators grow so mean, the running backs get so good and college recruiters flock like pelicans around a fishing pier in search of the next big fish i.e. a Billy Cannon, Jim Taylor, Terry Robiski, Charles Alexander, Dalton Hilliard, Kevin Faulk, LaBrandon Toefield, Domanick Davis or Jacob Hester.

That's just a partial list of running backs born in the state of Louisiana that stayed home and played for LSU. And that legacy of excellence lives on in Louisiana's 2009 crop of running backs, but Tennessee is hoping to lure at least one away from the Tigers.

To better their odds the Vols have already extended offers to three Louisiana running backs and are actively recruiting another.

Topping their list is EDDIE LACY, who attends Dutchtown High School in Giesmar, La. Ranked No. 17 among the nation's running backs, Lacy, 5-11, 205, runs a 4.44 and has the power beat a defense inside or outside. He rushed for 1,800 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2007. He set a school record with 269 yards on 22 carries, scoring three touchdowns highlighted by a 76-yard ramble. As a sophomore Eddie Lacy gained 1,207 yards on 178 carries with 19 touchdowns. He has a 33-inch vertical, a 4.22 short shuttle and a 315-pound bench press. Although LSU has yet to offer it is currently holding a slim edge over Tennessee, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Georgia and Miami. Other colleges to offer are Minnesota, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and Ole Miss. With a list this long and his stated intention to make a late decision it looks like his list will undergo significant alterations. There's also some work he needs to do in the classroom to lift his GPA, but Lacy's physical ability alone makes him an intriguing prospect.

MONTRELL CONNER, 6-1. 210, hails from Monroe where he attends Ouachita Parrish High School. Ranked the nation's No. 25 running back by Scout.com, Conner could also play linebacker in college. He rushed for over 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns to earn All-District honors in 2007. Known as "Choo Choo" in Monroe, Montrell Conner has a long list of offers that includes his favorites Mississippi State, USC and Tennessee. Offers have also come from Florida, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Alabama, Miami, Ole MIss, Colorado and, of course, LSU is involved. As one of his three favorites the Vols are sure to get a visit from Choo Choo. "I love how they run that Tennessee program," he told Scout.com's Yancy Porter. "They do everything the right way and in a great order. I will definitely take an official visit there and camp there this summer."

RIDGE TURNER, 5-9, 175, a talented albeit undersized signal caller, there's nothing small about the stats he compiled for South Plaquemines High School in Port Sulphur. A big-play artist with 4.50 speed, Turner set the state season record for total offense as a junior with 5,544 yards and an astonishing 69 TDs. On the year, he completed 219-of-298 passes for 3,726 yards and 43 TDs against only 6 interceptions. Ridge Turner also ran for 1,818 yards and 26 TDs on 195 carries. Named LSWA Class 1A All-State and LFCA Class 1A 1st Team All-State. Could be a talent in the mode of Lucas Taylor who came to UT as a high school quarterback and was switched to receiver. Among the interest contenders are Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Miami, Tennessee and West Virginia.

ALEX SINGLETON, 5-11, 216, plays running back for East St. John High School in Reserve, La., gained 1,507 yards and scored 22 touchdowns as a junior. Against Patterson he picked up 125 yards and two TDs on the ground as well as throwing for a 38-pass score. Though he is credited with running a 4.6 he struggled to break 4.9 (4.86) at the Scout.com Combine in New Orleans. Still UT liked Alex Singleton enough to offer him last year. That's still Singleton's single offer but he is getting calls from Kansas, Auburn, LSU, Northern Illinois, and Purdue. Mississippi State appears prepared to offer.


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