Tuesday, April 1, 2008

LSU Gets Another Big Commitment

I'm proud of the Lady Tigers for making it to their 5th straight Final Four, but since I did not know the game was on until about 3 1/2 minutes to go in the 2nd half, I do not have much intelligent to say about that situation.

Instead, let me gush once again about the state of LSU football recruiting, which appears to be in a Golden Era this year. Yesterday, LSU picked up a commitment from Dexter Pratt, 6'2", 220# out of Novasota High School in Novasota, Texas, a running back in the Rivals 250, and knocking on the door of the Rivals 100.

I'll tell you, I love this kid's videos. When I first watched his videos, my thought was that he looked an awful lot like an Auburn running back. I mean that as a compliment. He reminds me a lot of a Stephen Davis, Ronnie Brown, or Kenny Irons in that he is a between the tackles runner who has great north-south instincts. He takes the handoff or the pitch and he gets up to speed very quickly and doesn't mess around a whole lot in the backfield waiting to turn it upfield. Some others have said he looks like Rudi Johnson with speed, but Rudi was more of a run-over-you back. Pratt is a powerful runner who gets through arm tackles and makes yards after contact, but he doesn't seem like the type to initiate contact and try to run over you, and I think that's a good thing. Others have said Joe Addai, but I think he's a lot bigger and stronger than Addai was at this point, though his pass catching is Addai-esque.

He also has really good hands in the passing game and according to his coach he likes to block. What's more, he is another guy who is said to be a strong character player. He is reportedly on track to qualify academically without difficulty though, alas, it does not appear he'll be a Spring enrollee (we're getting spoiled here, people).

Having watched the film of all the big running backs we were interested in after Mike Ford, Dexter Pratt was the one I was really hoping we'd get. He just looks so fluid at running back. I don't know if my Steven Davis, Kenny Irons, and Ronnie Brown comparisons will ultimately prove out, but I think he's a good one.

When 2009 recruiting chatter started in earnest, a lot of people were looking at Pratt as potentially a linebacker rather than running back. After watching his videos, I just didn't see it. While I readily admit I am but an amateur judge of of ability, he looked an awful lot like a running back to me with his runner's instincts and ability with the ball in his hands. Further, he seemed to lack the side-to-side quickness and change of direction a linebacker must possess, or at least his videos didn't really show it. Plus, there was absolutely no film of him playing defense.

I know people switch positions. I know you sometimes look at a high school quarterback and say he looks like a wide receiver, or you take a high school running back and say he looks like a cornerback (Drayton Calhoun is a perfect example of this), but to me it is very hard to take a guy's running back film and project him to be a linebacker if you see no film of him actually playing linebacker. How do you know he likes to hit people? Maybe I'm wrong, but I just never saw it.

Anyway, back to Pratt. The kid is big and the kid is fast. When I saw his numbers as 6'2" and 220# with 4.48 speed, I looked at it as yet another exaggeration, but people in the know say his weight is legitimate, and his coach insists his time is legitimate, though you can read my post "Forty Schmorty" on why I always question these things. I know he looks plenty fast on the football field. He looks a bit like a young Alley Broussard, who if you remember was actually the fastest running back on the team early in his career, despite also being the biggest. Alley never was a receiver though, and Alley never did learn to block like Pratt reportedly can. Pratt may be big at 220#, but he sure doesn't look too big. He looks like he could probably gain maybe 10 pounds without losing speed. Pratt at 230# and with speed is a pretty scary thing. I love this commitment.

Reportedly, we may not be done at running back. According to chatter, we are really high on Trent Richardson out of Florida, and if he wants to commit to us we'll take him. If not, we are likely done for the year at this position and can concentrate on other things.

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