LSU was running low on ammo, and National Signing Day was the perfect opportunity to reload the weaponry.
The Tigers had a daunting task ahead of them following the events that transpired after the squad lost to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in December. An entire starting defensive line, a few linebackers, a safety and a cornerback, among others, needed replacing.
LSU coach Les Miles said he filled several of those needs with Signing Day, as he brought in 27 new Tigers.
“I like the blend of size and strength and speed,” Miles said. “It’s a highly ranked class that has character and integrity. If I had to predict, this is as strong a class as we’ve signed, and it’s the style of class that will put us in a great position moving forward.”
With the exception of defensive line recruit Tashawn Bower, a former Auburn commit who was the second-to-last signee for LSU, the Tigers’ list of prospects was set in stone heading into Signing Day. The vast majority of the 2013 class members completed their letters of intent before 9 a.m.
Miles said Bower is a perfect fit for the Tigers.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays in every game and at some point in time, should he continue to improve, he might start,” Miles said. “That kind of defensive end is exactly what we needed. He was a tremendous get for us, and it was a need that this team had to have.”
Miles wanted to make sure he addressed every hole left by the 2012 departures.
“Our first need was with four defensive ends graduating and two defensive tackles leaving,” Miles said. “We had to replace them with a quality defensive line class. We got three defensive tackles and four defensive ends. Need met.”
Along with Bower, seven other recruits, including Maquedius Bain, Kendell Beckwith, Greg Gilmore, Frank Herron, Christian LaCouture, Lewis Neal and Michael Patterson, are capable of playing in the defensive trenches.
Miles was also proud of the 2013 linebacker class, which includes junior college transfers.
“Maybe some of the best prospects in our staff are our linebacker prospects,” Miles said. “We got two junior college guys, so we have some young men and we have some guys who are a little older and a little more ready to play.”
With multiple losses in the secondary, the Tigers added four potential defensive back prospects, including the electrifying speedster Jeryl Brazil.
As the day finally came to a close, Miles expressed how impressed he was with his haul.
“The depth of this recruiting class is very strong,” Miles said. “I don’t think there’s much of a difference between the highest-ranked guy and the lowest-ranked guy. They are all very similar and competitive.”
Though the clear focus of Signing Day was set on defensive recruits, Miles addressed the fact that the squad didn’t have to upgrade at certain offensive positions, especially tailback.
“I like where we’re at with our tailbacks,” Miles said. “We have a number of them that will fit our needs this fall. I think we’ll have to recruit a great tailback as we come forward.”
The LSU coaching staff reached out to every corner of the nation to complete its 2013 class.
He noted that this was one of the more geographically diverse classes that he’s brought in to play in Baton Rouge. The Tigers signed 12 from Louisiana, but also brought in prospects from the likes of Illinois, Nebraska and California. In total, 15 out-of-state recruits will join the squad in 2013.