- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Running back Sione Palelei (Gonzales La./East Ascension) is supposed to be a speed guy, but when he checked in for his one day of participation in LSU's July Elite camp Tuesday, he weighed in at a powerful 5-foot-10, 202 pounds with little body fat.
Did that mean he sacrificed his signature speed that makes him a sub-11 second 100-meter runner? Hardly. He turned around and ran a 4.45 40-yard dash.
The math added up. He's a 200-pound 2014 running back back with great speed and fantastic quickness in the open field. He was exactly what the Tigers were looking for to complement what they hope will be an upcoming commitment from national No. 1 recruit Leonard Fournette.
So LSU offered the three-star back at the end of camp, and Palelei accepted on the spot, becoming the 13th member of LSU's 2014 recruiting class.
"I was filled with joy," Palelei said when he got the offer. "I've wanted to come to LSU and now I've been given the chance. I'm happy."
Palelei worked hard to make it happen. After a 1,000-yard junior season for the Spartans, Palelei worked hard to redefine his body, adding weight while not negating his signature speed.
"It was brutal," he said. "Working out twice a day, taking one day off a week. It was tough, but worth it."
Palelei has seen his stock rise steadily through the spring. A native of Utah who moved to Louisiana in eighth grade, he got offers from BYU, Utah and from Hawaii, which hoped to draw his interest based on his Polynesian roots. He has since added offers from the likes of Minnesota and Arkansas.
But the offer he wanted came on Tuesday, and Palelei accepted it faster than one of his signature lightning-quick cuts on the football field. In a flash, the speedy Palelei was a Tiger.
3dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon