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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is McKnight just another Mc-Tailback?

A year ago at this time, LSU and USC were all over a tailback from Lafayette named Keiland Williams. Signing day came and went and Williams, who went to Northside High in Lafayette and then to the Hargrave Military Academy football factory in Virginia, was still unsigned.

With each passing day after signing day, Williams seemed to gain more yards because fans craved his signature at their school more and more. Finally, he picked LSU, and one announcer on a Baton Rouge radio station actually proclaimed that Williams may be the best signee in LSU history.

Williams did not qualify academically until the week of LSU's season opener and found himself behind other players who had been practicing. He did not start getting into the mix at tailback until late in the season. He had double-digit carries for the first time in game nine at Tennessee, gaining 53 yards on 17 carries. The best signee in LSU history finished the regular season with 329 yards on 62 carries.

Williams should go into the 2007 season as the starter, but LSU is trying to sign John Curtis star tailback Joe McKnight, who could be the next greatest player ever to sign at LSU. He was just named the national co-player of the year by the prestigious Parade magazine, which has been picking All-American prep teams for 44 years.

McKnight (5-foot-11, 195) pounds has been called the most talented tailback out of Louisiana since Carencro's Kevin Faulk signed with LSU in 1995.

Some say LSU coaches are promising McKnight 20-25 touches a game. McKnight was at LSU over the weekend. He was at USC the weekend before. Some say the coaches there said he was the next Reggie Bush.

Alabama coach Nick Saban has known McKnight since McKnight was in the eighth grade in 2002 and happened to run for a touchdown right in front of Saban, who was recruiting older players for LSU at the time. Saban has known Curtis coach J.T. Curtis since Saban was an assistant at Michigan State in the 1980s and recruited New Orleans. Saban is trying to get McKnight to visit Alabama over this last week of recruiting.

Signing day is Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Should McKnight sign with LSU, it would make an already top-five national recruiting class top two or three. Should McKnight sign with USC, many LSU fans will be upset, but not as upset as they will be should McKnight sign with Saban. If this happens, many LSU fans will die of spontaneous head combustion like in that movie "Scanners." This is something I'd love to see just for fun.

I'd also love to see McKnight go to USC, which would give the Trojans way out there in L.A. two guys in the same backfield from Louisiana as quarterback John David Booty is from Shreveport.

I'd also love to see McKnight sign with LSU because I'd enjoy covering the next Reggie Bush every Saturday night, then watch the real one on Sundays in the Superdome.

I really don't care where he signs. I just hope he ends up doing what he wants to do.

It would also be fun to see McKnight come to LSU and become just another back like Williams and Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent, further proving my thesis that people who follow recruiting suffer from extreme short term memory.

Not long after signing day, it seems everyone forgets about who just signed. By the next season, they're already looking at the next batch of recruits. People have gradually forgotten about Ryan Perrilloux, whose signature at LSU in 2005 was so important that LSU's very future hung in the balance.

Perrilloux has completed one pass in two years at LSU and is currently involved in a counterfeiting investigation by federal authorities in his hometown of La Place. Perrilloux was told he'd have a shot at the quarterback job when he was in high school. He still hasn't had that shot. He could win the job before McKnight gets 25 touches a game.

Oh, almost forgot, LSU signed two other backs last year. One was Richard Murphy, whom USC recruited. The other was Charles Scott, who showed some promise early last season.

That's three backs, including Williams, that could be ahead of McKnight in August.

McKnight may be better than them all, though. He may be the first real game breaker LSU gets since Faulk. So, LSU better get him just in case he is. But remember, Broussard was supposed to be all that out of Acadiana High in Lafayette in 2003. He has had one good year. Vincent was supposed to be all that, too. He was going to be the next Reggie Bush before Reggie Bush was the next Reggie Bush. He had one good year.

And if McKnight doesn't sign with LSU, I'm sure there'll be another McKnight at this time next year.


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