The news spread across Louisiana like wildfire.
Les Miles was coming back to LSU for his seventh season. Michigan, for the second time in his stint coaching on the sidelines in Death Valley, became an afterthought.
The texts came quickly for recruits like Jarvis Landry, in turn reassuring him that the coach that recruited him to Baton Rouge would in fact be there for his entire run.
“I was paying attention to all the stuff on television, and I’m definitely happy that he’s going to stay with us at LSU,” he said. “I don’t think I would have wavered even if he had gone to Michigan, because I am representing for the state and LSU pride. But I’m happy with the decision. I think he’s a great man and a great coach, and all the older players say they love playing for him.”
Landry credited Miles and assistant coach Frank Wilson for helping pull him into an early commitment, a pair of recruiters that he said have become an effective 1-2 punch.
“Coach Frank is a guy who goes out there and can relate to the kids and bring them onto the campus and open them up,” he said. “Then you get to meet coach Miles and you see everything fits. He’s a family man, all the coaches are, and that’s what type of players LSU is getting. They are guys who will keep the program strong for a long time.”
Another big plus for Landry is Miles’ willingness to play talent over experience, something the headman was ridiculed for not doing in the past.
“The whole season coach Miles let those guys just go, and the Cotton Bowl is the perfect example,” he said. “You have older guys out there who could probably get the job done, but he put the younger guys in because he knew they were talented guys who came to play.
“Stevan Ridley has been the man at running back, but coach put Spencer Ware in there and let him do his thing. Then they have all kinds of defensive backs, but it was the three freshmen that got to play that ended up with interceptions. It just shows everyone how much promise we have at LSU.”
Without question, the 2011 class should add its fair share of immediate impact guys to the selection pool.
“I did research on the LSU classes like getting Buster and Bowe and all them, but our overall guys we have picked up really gives us strength everywhere,” Landry said. “We get our quarterback and wide receivers and linemen, and these are some of the best of the best.
“2011 will be the year of freshmen, I promise. There has never been this much Louisiana talent. I’m just excited to see everyone in action.”
LSU fans got a glimpse of the group in action when Landry, Anthony Johnson and La’el Collins traveled to Orlando last week to compete in the Under Armour Bowl Game. Though Collins suffered a sprained ankle on the first day of practice, the group proved their worth and then some.
“We put it on for Louisiana out there, and that was our main goal,” Landry said. “We also had some individual goals, like to prove that we were the best in the country at our position. We went and worked hard every day, and we came back happy with our performances.”
Landry finished the game as the White Team MVP, grabbing a game-high eight catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
“I was focused and I came through,” Landry said. “I was able to prove that I am one of the most talented guys out there. I wanted people to know I can come into a school like LSU and compete right away.”
Landry arrives to campus in June, where he will move in with Johnson, Hilliard and Alonzo Lewis. From there, it’s two months of preparation before jumping into his first SEC fall camp.
“I can’t wait to get out there,” he said. “I will be hanging around campus as much as I can over the spring, then I’ll jump into workouts with the team and all of that stuff once I graduate and the freshmen report. There is definitely no way I waiver. I will be at LSU and ready to get Death Valley rocking.”