RECRUITING WRAP: Closing out 2007

Les Miles closed out his third LSU recruiting class with gusto.

Securing 27 signatures on Wednesday, Miles and the LSU coaching staff wrapped up the nation's No. 2 rated signing class as ranked by


Unlike USC and Florida, who combined to sign 20 five-star prospects (10 each), LSU inked the names of just four five-star players. However, the Tigers nabbed 17 four-star prospects propelling LSU's class to the nation's second spot behind No. 1 Florida.


"It's a great day for LSU football," said LSU coach Les Miles Wednesday afternoon. "We were able to add to our team 26 quality men with character and guys that have athletic ability. And those people, in my opinion, are looking forward to a lifetime of opportunities that LSU can afford."


Miles referred to 26 signatures, which excluded West Monroe's Shomari Clemons, who re-signed with the Tigers after failing to meet academic requirements in 2006.


The 2007 class of recruits was highlighted by Hempstead, Texas wide receiver Terrance Toliver and Baton Rouge-Southern Lab safety Chad Jones, both of whom are ranked No. 1 at their respective positions.


Joining Toliver and Jones among LSU's five-star prospects are Detroit, Mich. defensive tackle Joseph Barksdale and Poplarville, Miss. wide receiver Demetrius Byrd. Byrd comes to LSU after playing two seasons at Pearl River Community College.


"Any time that you have a recruiting effort like this you represent a lot of people when you're the head coach," Miles said. "First of all, I represent a great school, and it's easy to show the opportunities a school like LSU affords academically and athletically."


Miles secured signatures from almost every prospect the staff targeted in the state of Louisiana. The only players that got away were John Curtis running back Joe McKnight, who signed with USC. West Monroe's Luther Davis, who had been committed to the Tigers at one point, ended up signing with former LSU coach Nick Saban, who is now the coach at Alabama.


Miles proved his LSU staff can recruit on a national basis. The Tigers signed 11 players from the state of Louisiana, five from Texas, four from Florida, two from Alabama and one each from the states of Mississippi, North Carolina, Michigan and Tennessee.


"I'm awfully fortunate to have people who give up their days to help us," Miles said. "From the University administration, to the staff at the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes, and professors in virtually every department that come down and represent their school. Our coaching staff did a great job. They recruited long and hard. They competed. A recruiting calendar is very much a competitive run, and when the pace gets faster there's so much to do and our coaching staff did that."


There were obvious needs in this class, including wide receiver and safety as well as offensive line and quarterback. Miles and his staff no doubt did a tremendous job meeting the needs of this class.


LSU signed four wide receivers, including the nation's best in Toliver. Respectively, Irving, Texas standout Ron Brooks and Bastrop, La. star DeAngelo Benton rank sixth and seventh nationally and Byrd is rated a five-star prospect coming from the junior college ranks.


The Tigers lost both of its safeties from the 2006 squad as LaRon Landry and Jesse Daniels were among the best in all of college football. Miles plucked two of the best safeties in the country from the high school ranks in Jones and Reserve-East St. John standout Stefoin Francois.


"It's nice to have four Parade All-Americans in this class, which is ties for the most in a single signing class in school history," Miles said. "We've really compiled a great class. This class has size, speed, athletic ability, strength and great balance."


Offensive line was a concern last season as the Tigers were thin in depth and experience. But with four of five starters returning, Miles was looking for depth in this class and he picked up some quality players in Rosenberg, Texas tackle Jarvis Jones, Belle Glade, Florida tackle Ernest McCoy, Norcross, Ga. center T-Bob Hebert and New Iberia, tackle Josh Dworaczyk. Bastrop, La. defensive tackle Kentravis Aubrey was rated one of the best D-linemen in the nation, but it has been talked he could move over to the offensive side of the ball.


And finally – quarterback.


With JaMarcus Russell headed to the NFL, Miles and Co. were looking for a No. 3 quarterback. The Tigers got their man in Brenham, Texas signal caller Jarrett Lee.


We will have a complete breakdown of this class, including who is projected to play immediately, who will redshirt, grayshirt, may be lost for academics and so on on tomorrow.

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