BATON ROUGE – LSU added another strong recruiting class to the fold on Wednesday as head coach Les Miles and the Tigers filled some immediate needs by signing five linebackers and five defensive backs to their 22-player class.
Of the 22 signees, 14 are from Louisiana, three from Texas and two from Georgia. LSU got one player from Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. LSU’s class has been ranked as high as No. 7 by Scout.com. LSU picked up a No. 12 nationally ranking from 247sports.com and ESPN.com and a No. 13 rating from CBSsports.com.
“Any time that you get involved in a recruiting effort, the most important thing is to answer the needs your team has and I think this class meets our needs” Miles said. “It’s always been about the needs of our team. I can remember in 2008 we did not have a top 10-ranked recruiting class, and this year would have been that senior group. We won the conference. We won 13 games. We played in the final game and that would not have fit what was the national rank of that class. What it really amounts to is that we invest in these guys and we train them. They fit the need and this is a great class. This is the style of class that will continue to allow us to do what we have done here in the past, and that is winning championships.”
On defense, linebacker Kwon Alexander highlights the group. Rated as the No. 3 player nationally at his position, Alexander missed most of his senior season with a knee injury but he’s still projected as an impact player for the Tigers. Alexander had 144 tackles and 17 sacks as a junior at Oxford High School in Alabama.
As in years past, LSU focused heavily on Louisiana, signing 14 of the state’s top 16 players. Since his first LSU signing class in 2005, Miles and his staff have signed 110 players from Louisiana with 81 coming from out of state.
“Our philosophy is to give every in-state great player an opportunity to play here in Louisiana,” Miles said. “I can tell you that we did that (this year). We worked hard in this state to identify what we thought were the best players and we went after them hard. We represented the best opportunities that this state and this school have to offer. In my opinion we gathered the great majority of those men, and they are here with us in this class.”
“A key piece to every class is not what you see in the 40-yard dash, and not what you see in how much they weigh. It’s always going to be about the character, integrity, toughness and ambition of the men. I think we got a very quality group of men and that this class will give us the opportunity to play for championships.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers signed three receivers and three offensive linemen along with a quarterback, running back and tight end. Headlining the list of offensive signees are standout running back Jeremy Hill along with wide receiver Avery Johnson, who is the younger brother of former LSU standout Patrick Peterson. Hill was considered one of the nation’s top running backs as a senior at Redemptorist High School in 2010 after rushing for 2,260 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Johnson caught 113 passes for 1,752 yards and 20 touchdowns in three years at Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Fla.
Quarterback Jeremy Liggins is one of the most imposing players for his position at 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds. A native of Oxford, Miss., Liggins led Lafayette (Miss.) High School to 32 straight wins and back-to-back 4A state titles. He threw for 1,678 yards and 16 TDs and ran for 953 yards and 18 scores as a senior.
Five members of LSU’s signing class have already graduated from high school and are currently enrolled in school and will take part in spring practice, which starts later this month. The five early enrollees for LSU include: offensive lineman Vadal Alexander, linebacker Ronnie Feist, long snapper Reid Ferguson, running back Hill and linebacker Lamar Louis.