Tide steals one from Ole Miss

The good recruiting news continued for Alabama today, as stellar athlete Lavarus Giles of Benoit, Mississippi, announced this afternoon his intention to sign with the Tide next Wednesday.

Having only played two full seasons of high school football, for a long time Lavarus Giles (6-1, 205, 4.45) was something of an enigma to many fans. He competed mainly at tailback for Ray Brooks High School this past season, but Giles is athletic enough to possibly project at any of several positions in high school, including safety, linebacker and receiver.

Giles took an official visit to Alabama three weeks ago, followed the next weekend by his trip to Oxford and the Ole Miss Rebels. Following that visit, sources close to the Rebel program claimed that Giles had committed to sign with Ole Miss.

Pictured on his official visit three weeks ago to Alabama, Giles has the athletic ability to play any of several positions.

Depending on your definition, that was probably true. But no media outlets had confirmed the report. According to a reporter for the Greenville Delta Democratic Times, Giles initially decided on Ole Miss out of a concern for his grandparents. His grandmother especially assumed that the Alabama campus was 100s of miles farther away than Oxford.

As the crow flies, Oxford is approximately 70 miles from Benoit, while Tuscaloosa is approximately 160 miles from Giles' home.

Benoit is 10 miles outside Greenville, Mississippi, in roughly the Northwest corner of the state. Its population is considerably less than 1,000. In fact, Ray Brooks High School is the smallest public high school in Mississippi.

Once Giles' grandmother understood that her grandson wasn't going to the other side of the country for college, she approved his choice. And Giles told a small group of reporters this afternoon at 2:30 pm that he intended to sign with Alabama next Wednesday.

Alabama had made Giles a priority in its recruiting for some time, and up until his short-lived commitment to the Rebels he had seemed on the verge of committing to the Crimson Tide many times.

According to a sportswriter at the press conference today, Giles indicated the only reason he committed to Ole Miss was his grandmother's concern over distance.

Giles waits to take his turn at the vertical jump. Having seen him in person at last summer's mini-camp, the Tide coaches know exactly what they're getting athletically.

A sprint champion in high school, Giles won the 100-meter dash state championship as a junior and placed second in the 200-. With those credentials, his reported 4.45 clocking in the 40-yard dash is probably legitimate.

On the football field Giles rushed for 1,811 yards and 27 touchdowns on 134 attempts as a senior. That works out to a 13.5 yards-per-carry average. He was also a first-team all-state selection at defensive back.

It's important to remember that Giles attended a football mini-camp in Tuscaloosa last summer, so the Tide staff knows exactly what Giles has to offer physically. Almost certainly he will get his first look at tailback, but his versatility means that Giles could end up contributing at any of several positions.

Lavarus Giles is the 28th athlete to commit to Alabama this year. Other public commitments include:

Cullman two-way lineman Justin Britt,
Gulfport, Mississippi, receiver Keith Brown,
Montgomery guard/center Antoine Caldwell,
Fort Payne safety Marcus Carter,
Briarwood Christian cornerback Simeon Castille,
T.R. Miller tight end Trent Davidson,
Hillcrest High School offensive tackle Cody Davis,
Sparta Academy offensive lineman Drew Davis,
Hoover middle linebacker/defensive lineman Curtis Dawson,
Morristown, Tennessee defensive lineman Brandon Fanney,
Fort Walton Beach, Florida receiver D.J. Hall,
Prattville defensive lineman Kevin Hamilton,
Hoover defensive end Jeramie Holifield,
Thomasville defensive back Aaron Johns,
Randolph County wide receiver Ezekiel Knight,
Prattville tight end/athlete Travis McCall,
Fort Payne wide receiver Aaron McDaniel,
Jacksonville, Fla. wide receiver Will Oakley,
Hillcrest cornerback Travis Robinson,
Clarke County offensive tackle B.J. Stabler,
Brantley wide receiver Marcel Stamps,
Hartselle wide receiver Nikita Stover,
Northwest Mississippi CC defensive end/defensive tackle Chris Turner,
Pike County tight end Nick Walker,
Loganville, Georgia defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington,
Hoover quarterback John Parker Wilson, and
Hillcrest safety Jake Wingo.

NOTE: East Central (Miss.) Community College running back Titus Ryan committed to Alabama but subsequently withdrew from junior college, so he is not expected to be a part of this year's signing class.

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 25-26 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from TheInsiders.com.

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