Rayville wide receiver Chris Tolliver finally ended the suspense of his commitment yesterday and committed to LSU. Tolliver is listed at 6'1" and 180# with a 4.4 second 40 yard dash. He is listed on Rivals as a high 4-star, the #10 ranked wide receiver in the country this year.
He was one of the most important recruits left on the board, and his recruitment was touch and go for a while. Early in the recruiting cycle, Tolliver was considered a dead lock for committing to LSU, but lately he had been talking up Bama in his interviews, and Nick Saban had made him a high priority.
The last week or so gave us some signals that his interest in Bama had cooled. First, there was the commitment of Robby Green to Bama, which I thought signaled that Bama did not sit well with other Louisiana recruits. Then, in the last two days, Saban took a commitment from another wide receiver, Chris Jackson, giving him five in the current class, with a spot certainly left open for 5-star Julio Jones. It was hard to believe that they would really get 7 wide receivers.
So, the signals proved true, or at least pointed us in the right direction, even if only coincidentally.
As for Tolliver, he is a speed guy with good hands. He's not particularly big, but he's an excellent athlete. He is very reminiscent of Demetrius Byrd, and stands to be Byrd's heir apparent as a speed receiver. He will make an excellent compliment to the tall, rangy young receivers we have on the roster, like Terrance Tolliver (no relation), DeAngelo Benton, and DeAndre Brown (if Ole Miss doesn't convince him to go there instead).
He also is a return man on his high school team, but it's unknown if he has to tools for that role at the next level. Frankly, for a speed guy with hands, you'd be worried if he WASN'T returning kicks in high school.
Tolliver is a guy who everyone says is going to struggle to qualify. At the beginning of the season, he reportedly had a long way to go. We won't know where he stands until he either makes it to Fall camp or enrolls in JUCO/prep school. This has been a problem in our wide receiver recruiting the last two years. We recruited 4 wide receivers last year, and NONE of them were safe qualifiers. Two ended up having to go another route. This year, we have verbal commitments from 4 players who project as wide receivers right now, and perhaps one of them is a safe qualifier (DeAngelo Peterson). The other two big uncommitted wide receivers on our board are also not safe qualifiers.
This is why we are recruiting so many wide receivers right now. We need to sign six or seven, hoping that 4 or 5 will qualify.