Did They Make the Grade?

This is Part I of a two part series where we will give you the latest on the 2006 signees and their academic status.

Note: This is Part I of a two part series where we will give you the latest on the 2006 signees and their academic status.


LSU landed 25 blue chip prospects in the Class of 2006 and finished tied with Oklahoma for the seventh best class in the country in Scout.com's final rankings.


LSU fans know that Les Miles was successful at landing some of the premiere prospects in the country in his second signing class for the Tigers but they are anxious to see if they all make it to campus when the team officially reports in August.


When Tiger Rag put the finishing touches on the 2006 class there were still some prospects who were a little short of meeting NCAA academic requirements.


New Iberia offensive guard Zhamal Thomas was considered a long shot at best to make the grade and many schools backed off of him because coaches did not feel that he would qualify.


Well, according to the big 6-4, 300-pounder that was a big mistake.


"I have to finish with a "B" average in three classes and I already have that," said Thomas, who reports an 18 on the ACT. "I'm actually going to finish with two "A's" and two "B's". I'm good to go and ready to get down there in June to start summer school."


Thomas said he recently spoke with LSU defensive backs coach Doug Mallory, who recruits the Acadiana area, and he gave him some words of wisdom.


"He said to be ready to go because they are not going to red shirt me," Thomas said. "He said they are ready for me to come in and play right away."


The nation's No. 2 rated defensive tackle Al Woods committed to LSU the summer before his senior year and at the time he needed to improve his ACT score a couple of points to qualify.


After taking the test a couple of times, Woods ended up getting his couple of points and then some.


"I got a 20 when I took it in either January or February," Woods said. "My GPA is going to be a 3.5 so I'm qualified."


Woods was actually in New Iberia on Tuesday for a track and field meet and he ran into Thomas to hear his news first hand.


"He (Thomas) was excited," Woods said of Thomas. "He was like man I would leave today if I could to get down there."


Two more guys who will learn their fate within the next couple of weeks is Jai Eugene and Chris Mitchell.


"I have to make two "A's" and a "B" and right now I have three "A's" said Eugene, who was rated the nation's No. 1 corner by Scout.com. "I made an 18 on the ACT and all I needed was a 17."


Eugene was expected to be one of the top sprinters in the state as a senior but he decided to skip running track to focus on his academics.


Now, that he appears to have his academics in check he has started doing a little recruiting for the Tigers.


"I'm trying to get Joe (McKnight) down there," Eugene said. "I talk to him at least once a week and we went down to the spring game together. Me and him are pretty tight and I think we're going to end up pulling him."


As for Mitchell, he is still trying to get what he needs and is real close to doing so.


"I need to make a "B" in Chemistry and a "B" in English," he said. "Right now, I have a "B" in Chemistry and a "C" in English but I'm doing a lot of work for extra credit to get that "C" up."


As for his test score, Mitchell said he has not received the results from the ACT he took in April but he took a different approach to the test the last time around.


"I had a lot of tutoring for this one and I feel pretty good about it," he said.


Note: Tiger Rag left messages for Charles Deas, Jason Teague, Lazarius Levingston, Richard Murphy and Shomari Clemons to get an update on their status and we hope to have an update on them in the next day or so.

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