Tigers add one of the nation's best backs

On the same day the LSU football program lost one of its top running backs to the NFL draft, the Tigers added the fifth rated running back in the country when Barrington Edwards (6-0, 210, 4.5) of Bowie, Md. told Nick Saban he would be a Tiger.

"It's the Tigers," Edwards told Tiger Rag. "It was more of an inside feeling than anything else. Once I went on my visits, I weighed everything out and talked to my family. It was just so much LSU had. The football team is always doing good and there are a lot of true fans in Baton Rouge."

Edwards chose LSU over Pittsburgh, Maryland, Southern Cal and Michigan State to name a few. LSU's tradition was one thing that separated the Tigers' program from the rest of the pack and Edwards got to see that first hand at the Ole Miss game.

"I think walking on the Tiger Walk was something real big too," said Edwards. "Walking through all the fans in the pre-game walk was crazy. It was like I was a recruit but all of the little kids were giving me hats to sign. That was pretty cool."

Some coaches like to wait until after the season to bring recruits in for their official visit but Edwards' opportunity to see Tiger Stadium in its strongest element is what helped seal the deal.

"Death Valley is a sight to see," Edwards said. "I actually got to see 91,000 and I never got to see that on the college level anywhere else, let alone the pros. That was a sight for me."

Saban learned on Friday that his junior running back, LaBrandon Toefield, will enter the NFL draft despite speculation that he would return for his senior year. However, one man's loss is another man's gain.

"That made me real happy," said Edwards. "LaBrandon Toefield is an excellent running back. He is a great, great talent. He got hurt and I thought that might make him come back. But once he opted for the draft and I knew Domanick Davis was a senior, so there is not a lot of strong depth coming back. I said this is an opportunity I just can't resist."

Now that he is set on his decision, Edwards said he will turn his focus to his academics. He currently has a 2.1 grade point average but he hopes to have that close to a 2.6 in May, once he retakes a couple of classes in night school.

As for his test score, Edwards is awaiting the results of his last ACT and SAT tests, while he is planning on taking the tests again in the near future.

"The coaches believe in me, my family believes in me and I believe in myself," Edwards said. "Now, I just have to do it and get my grades in order."

Sonny's View: If there is a better running back class in the country than the one that is expected to sign with the Tigers in February then where is it? Alley Broussard, Justin Vincent and Barrington Edwards gives LSU three of the top 15 running backs in the country for 2003.

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