Miles recaps NSD
LSU welcomes 27 newcomers to the fold
With 2013 National Signing Day in the books, LSU head coach Les Miles met with the media Wednesday afternoon to recap his signing class.
The coach briefly broke down all 27 of his additions and went into greater detail about some. CLICK HERE for today’s coverage of signing day with all of LSU’s signees listed. Remember that Fehoko Fanaika and Avery Johnson count toward last year’s class when the Tigers signed and retained 23, allowing LSU to go two over the SEC limit of 25 this year.
Everyone committed to LSU signed today except for Tevin Lawson who was reportedely asked to grayshit and Jeremy Cutrer who didn’t make the grades and will enroll in a community college instead. Neither were a surprise.
That left one spot open for four-star defensive end Tashawn Bower to flip his verbal commitment from Auburn to LSU this morning. Funny thing is that the domino effect of Robert Nkemdiche choosing Ole Miss over LSU at 6:45 this morning set events into motion for Bower to fax in his letter of intent to LSU. When Nkemdiche signed with Ole Miss, Rebel DE commitment Elijah Daniel faxed his letter of intent to Auburn rather than Ole Miss, taking the spot reserved for Bower. Long story short, ESPN’s No. 11 defensive end is a nice consolation prize for losing out on the top one.
“This class really fits the needs that this team has and ultimately that’s the most important piece,” said Miles. “I like ‘em. I think they have character and are quality people and I look forward to investing in them. I think they’ll support our team and our school and our community extremely well.”
Here are some things that stood out to me from Miles’ evening meeting with the media.
-Miles quote on Bower flipping to LSU: “I always had a real strong feeling that Tashawn would be a Tiger. It’s the first decision that a young man makes. It’s generally before marriage, and it’s one of those things that it takes some time and frankly, the best guys, they want to make the decision. They don’t want mom and dad necessarily to have a hand. And it takes some time to mull it over and look through it and pick the right school. I always felt like he’d get around to us, and I’m honored to coach him. I think he’ll be a great addition to our team. I think there are things that happen in recruiting that are better left unexplained, and I think he ran into a very awkward situation at best and he did the right thing. He stepped back. He gave it a little more thought, viewed it again. And at that point in time you have the choice to review. He did. I think it really ultimately helped him make the decision to come to LSU… We really needed the same style of presence that we’ve had there, and he gave us that. I think if you look at the style of men that we had committed, in fact he’s that guy that potentially steps on the field very quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to play in every game and at some point in time should he continue to improve that he might start. I think that that kind of defense end is just exactly what we needed at the back end [of the recruiting process]. We lost four guys, and we picked up four in this recruiting class. It was a tremendous get for us and a need that this team had to have. I don’t know that I would have felt as good about this class if we had not had Tashawn.”
-Staying on the defensive line, LSU signed a total of seven D-Linemen today. That was big considering the players the Tigers lost this offseason. Bower, Frank Herron, Lewis Neal and M.J. Patterson are ends, and Marquedius Bain, Greg Gilmore and Christian LaCouture will play on the inside. Miles compared Neal to KeKe Mingo without the height, and he was really high on Gilmore.
“A disruptive tackler, a big disruptive force, one of the guys that we frankly looked at that we had to have to replace some of the very talented guys that we’ve had inside.”
-LSU signed one of the state’s most coveted prospects in Kendall Beckwith. There has been much discussion about whether the 6-foot-3, 225-pound athlete fits in as an outside linebacker or a defensive end. Miles ended this discussion by calling him a Sam ‘backer today. However, this is certainly subject to change if he grows into his body.
-On John Curtis’ Duke Riley and where the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder may fit in: ”A guy that might well be able to step back and play safety. If not he’ll be a very fast outside linebacker style of guy.”
-The Tigers signed players from 10 states in this signing class as they really spread their wings nationally. Here’s what Miles had to say about LSU (and the SEC) becoming a national brand: “I think the fact that the Tigers are generally on TV in most instances in every game and national televised games for big games I think there’s an understanding that we’ve averaged 10 games, 11 games a year for the last eight [years]. This program is in a position now that people want to know about them. I think that allows a national athlete to really give view of wanting to come play with us and LSU… I think that what’s happening in our conference and the fact that a number of national championships that we’ve won in a row that the national exposure and national champion is described and discussed is usually the SEC that leads the discussion. I think that that in a profile that we have in our conference in the fact that we went and we’re always in the position to possibly win the west if not be very close on a national scene. I think that allows a national reputation and when we walk in there’s some excitement. There’s a young man out there that says, ‘I want to be challenged. I want to be challenged by the best. I want to play in the biggest conference. I want to play against the finest defensive backs. I want to play against the finest wide receivers. I want to see how good I am.’ And I think in this conference there’s a number of schools that represent that to young people and I think they’re attracted to it.”
-On if he’s confident that WR signee Quantavious Leslie will make the grades to qualify for LSU this fall.
I think that if you realize the off the field issue with Quantavious Leslie in the fall, you kinda understand. So we’ve kinda followed him since the semester started and it appears that he’s done really well and not only is he doing well but he has a real nice structure to his day and we would expect him to finish.”
It is unclear what issue’s he’s referring to, but you can be sure we’ll find out.
-LSU didn’t have a running back in its 2013 class, but Miles gave a not-to-subtle hint that he’s gunning for one of the best running backs to come out of Louisiana in a while - maybe ever - in the 2014 class in the form of St. Aug’s Leonard Fournette.
“I like where we’re at at tailback. I think we have a number that’ll fit our needs for this fall. I think we’ll have to recruit a great tailback to come forward if you look at what will need, we will need a great, one of those guys that has great speed and ball skills and can run with power. I’m thinking of him right now.”
-Miles was asked if he may make any changes to his staff before next season. He responded: “I haven’t given much thought to changes on this staff at this point. I just got done with a tremendous recruiting season. I thought the staff to a man did a great job. I thought we did as much team recruiting as we’ve ever done. John Chavis involved with all the defensive players and Stud was involved with not geographically his area but really ran to be involved with offensive linemen across the country and I think that this staff did a great job. Frank Wilson is invaluable - just a tremendous communicator and a guy that makes himself understood to both prospects and parents but I think he also helps the organization of the recruiting and I think this staff is in many ways a staff class.”
That certainly wasn’t a no and leaves the door open.
-On one final note, here’s what Miles had to say about U-High defensive end Tim Williams literally leaving LSU’s campus to attend Alabama this fall: “The only thing I can tell you is that we recruited him well. We received him and he of us. Staying at home’s not for everybody. We wish him well. We think he’s a very talented player. Like I said, staying home at LSU’s not for everybody.”