LSU likes Tennessee product

LSU coaches were very successful at landing some key out-of-state players for the Class of 2006 as 12 of the Tigers' 25 pledges came from outside the Bayou State. That is a trend that will likely continue in 2007 and one likely destination when the coaches hit the road in May will be Alcoa (Tenn.) to check out super defensive end prospect Rae Sykes.

Sykes (6-4, 240, 4.7) has already been tabbed by some as the No. 1 prospect overall in the Volunteer State and one of the top defensive ends in the country. He had a solid junior campaign with 62 tackles and six sacks despite missing all of the post-season with a broken arm he suffered in practice before the first round of the state playoffs.

Missing the post-season was not a big deal for those who watched him play over the years as the awards still came rolling in as first team all-state, all-county and all-region honors were thrown his way.

LSU was the first school to offer Sykes a scholarship back in January but since then he has picked up more offers than he can remember.

"I don't know the total but I've gotten one from LSU, Tennessee, Notre Dame, N.C. State, Michigan, Ole Miss, Florida State and Mississippi State," Sykes told Tiger Rag. "There are some more but I can remember them all."

If it is hard to remember all of the offers he has picked up to this point, Sykes may need to get a personal secretary because his list of suitors is going to grow considerably over the next several months.

Last summer, the Tennessee native attended one of Les Miles' summer camps and that trip is what put the Tigers on his radar.

"My coach was asking me what camps I wanted to go to and I told him I wanted to go down to LSU," Sykes said. "We went down there and I liked everything about it. They had good facilities and a good coaching staff."

There was one part of his trip that stood out and made a lasting impression.

"They have a real good academic facility just for the athletes," he said. "I was real impressed with that place."

Sykes admitted that he did not know much about LSU before the trip other than the fact that the Tigers won the 2003 BCS National Championship and that there was a new coaching staff intact.

Throughout the recruiting process there are some coaches who will come off as salesmen but Sykes said he liked the way the LSU coaches treated him.

"I felt good about the time I spent with the coaches," said Sykes. "I got to spend some time with coach (Bo) Pellini and coach (Doug) Mallory and they were cool. They were all pretty straight forward and up front with me."

What did they tell him?

"They liked how big I was and my quickness and speed," Sykes said.

A return trip to LSU is in the works this summer as Sykes plans on hitting one of Miles' camps and then heading over to Florida State.

The Tigers and Seminoles are two teams he listed when asked if he was keeping a close eye on any certain schools but he added, "It would be them two and Notre Dame and Tennessee."

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