The 2011 class for Louisiana is one of the most talent-rich in the entire country, and likely one of the most anticipated signing classes in the state’s history.
For head coach Les Miles, the 2010 season saw a record number of early pledges, highlighted by the count growing over 20 before the team reported for fall practice.
This time around, the headman wants things wrapped up even faster.
Last Friday, LSU picked up three in-state commitments: O.P. Walker High defensive lineman Anthony Johnson, Capitol High offensive lineman Corey White and Patterson High running back Kenny Hilliard.
They joined Redemptorist High running back Jeremy Hill and offensive lineman La’el Collins to bring the total to five, key early pieces to what should be a class to remember for a long time.
“I feel like we got a nice start with the ’11 class,” Miles said. “It is coming to life. There is a group that wants to have a class here that will be as good as any.”
Johnson, who was previously committed to Tennessee, made it no secret that Wilson played a major role in his decision to stay home for college.
The same went for Hilliard, who was considered a lean to LSU, but had not expressed any intent to commit this early.
“I don’t think there is any question that Frank [Wilson] has made a very strong difference,” Miles said.
Thanks to his local ties, from growing up in New Orleans to coaching O.P. Walker, Wilson is quickly becoming a staff favorite among the state’s coaching ranks.
“The high school coaches enjoy the fact the one of theirs is at LSU,” Miles said. “I can’t tell you how many people have called me and are thrilled; they wanted for him to have this opportunity. And, players being recruited enjoy the fact that their high school coach is motivated to help LSU.”
LSU’s second hire, Billy Gonzales, who the Tigers picked up after a stint as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida, is also drawing early praise on the trail.
“Right now he is recruiting all the receivers, and doing a great job,” Miles said. “We will settle on what will be his geographical area later.
“He has got a great energy for both coaching and recruiting; I think he will be a great addition to the staff.”
With the loss of five-star wide out Mike Davis, who switched his pledge to Texas after becoming the first member of the 2010 class last February, Gonzales’ work over the next month is paramount.
“We have to have a great receiver class,” Miles said. “The [receivers] that come into this class can go to the field and play, no question. We are recruiting those kinds of players.”