February 8, 2007
Baton Rouge, LA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- At the end of National Signing Day, LSU coach Les Miles lauded the efforts of his staff to bring in 26 new players.
What many do not know is how much effort it took to bring in one of the top-five recruiting classes in the nation.
Miles said the recruiting process takes several years as coaches often build a relationship with players before their senior year of high school.
"It picks up as they get into their junior year," Miles said. "You can call them and maintain a regular relationship with them, but the process is a long one."
The process is long enough to cause some coaches to lose their patience and their tact.
Former LSU running back Justin Vincent said when he was in high school, he and his mother were turned off by a recruiter from Texas A&M University.
"It was starting to get to the end of recruiting, and I think they were desperate for a back," Vincent said. "This guy just kept pushing for an answer right then. It got to the point where my mom said, 'Justin, you need to tell this man if you want to play for him because if you don't then he needs to go.'"
Miles and his staff drew praise for their professional and classy approach to recruiting.
Tony Jones, the father of cornerback and LSU signee Phelon Jones said his son went to the Tigers because of their coach.
"What people in Louisiana need to know is what they've got in Les Miles," Jones said in a news release. "That man has got integrity. He's a winner. My son could go to any college in the country, but he was so impressed with Les Miles."
In a Jan. 17 recruiting trip, University of Alabama coach Nick Saban attempted to convince defensive ends Luther Davis and Will Blackwell of West Monroe High School to not commit to LSU and commit to Alabama. Saban told Davis there was no way the coaching staff at LSU could compare to the staff he had at Alabama.
Saban also tried to convince Jones to change his commitment to Alabama, but of the three, Davis is the only recruit who changed his mind.
Miles said he does not worry about negative recruiting from other coaches and does not feel that it is an obstacle to his staff's work.
"I could tell you that there was some negative recruiting going on out there," Miles said. "I would hope that they would continue to negatively recruit because the recruiting that was done this year for the LSU Tigers was very capable. I would take a second-ranked recruiting class in the country for some time."
Miles said he has developed a better understanding of the area and a better rapport with Louisiana talent in his three years of recruiting at LSU.
Don Shows, the football coach at West Monroe High School, said his program has strong ties to LSU.
"Every Division-I player we've ever had has gone to LSU," Shows said. "If you're going to live in Louisiana, going to LSU and playing football there and graduating there can open a lot of doors for you."
Miles said recruiting at LSU is easy because of the benefits of being a Tiger.
"I represent a great school," Miles said. "It's easy to show the opportunities that a school like LSU affords."
(C) 2007 The Daily Reveille via CSTV U-WIRE