LSU head coach Les Miles
Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
Miles Comments on National Signing Day
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Published: February 01, 2006, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:20 AM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU filled its needs and in the process landed another top 10-ranked recruiting class on Wednesday as head coach Les Miles hauled in 25 signees with 14 coming from within the state of Louisiana.

National signing class rankings had LSU’s 2006 rated No. 6 by Scout.com and No. 7 by Rivals.com. Among the highlights of this year’s class include Parade All-America Al Woods, a defensive tackle from Elton, La., Charles Deas, one of the nation’s top defensive tackles from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and running back Charles Scott, Louisiana’s Mr. Football in 2005.

Other standouts on the offensive side include a trio of wide receivers rated among the best in the nation in Chris Mitchell, Jared Mitchell and Ricky Dixon, all products of Louisiana high schools.

In all, the Tigers signed 14 players from Louisiana with 11 coming from outside the state. The Tigers signed three players from Texas and Georgia, two from Mississippi and one each from Florida and Kansas.

"This class has the balance of size and strength and speed that will allow us to do things to compete for championships," Miles said. "We answered some specific needs. For the specific need on the offensive line we took five guys, of note would be (Philip) Loadholt, Zhamal Thomas, who are both big tackle prospects.

"We took four linebackers for specific needs with Kelvin Sheppard, Perry Riley, Derrick Odom and Jacob Cutrera. Those linebackers will come in and have the opportunity to play and play very early."

Cutrera, from Acadiana High School in Lafayette, has already enrolled at LSU and will participate in spring drills with the Tigers starting in March. Sheppard and Riley come to LSU from Stephenson High School in Georgia where they formed the state’s top linebacking duo.

Loadholt brings a 6-foot-9, 345 pound frame to Baton Rouge after spending one season at Garden City Community College in Kansas. Loadholt will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Miles said he likes the balance between in-state and out-of-state signees for the Tigers.

"I think we showed that with 25 commitments, 14 in state and 11 out-of-state, the strength of LSU to cross state boundaries," Miles said. "We were in it with several out-of-state guys that very well could have chosen us over another school but didn’t. But when you have a school that offers a great education, combined with a team that can win, it’s fun to get out and represent LSU."

The offense-defense breakdown had the Tigers taking 13 players on offense with the remaining 12 coming on the defensive side of the football.

"We graduated 21 seniors in what was the most successful class in LSU football history and that’s the challenge to this year’s class," Miles said. "Whether it is the fifth-ranked class, the second-ranked class or the 16th-ranked class, that’s not the issue.

"The issue is the success that’s gone before them. The legacy of winning and the opportunity to do one better than a class that has to their credit bowl championships, SEC championships and a national championship. I believe that this class is what we need."

COMMENTS FROM LSU COACH LES MILES ON NATIONAL SIGNING DAY  

Opening statement...
"We have 25 commitments. Fourteen are from the state of Louisiana, three from Texas, one from Florida, one from Alabama, two from Mississippi, three from Georgia and one from Kansas. We're still actively recruiting one other young man.

"My opinion is that this class has the balance of size and strength and speed that will allow us to do things to compete for championships. We answered some specific needs. For the specific need on the offensive line we took five guys, of note would be (Philip) Loadholt, Zhamal Thomas, big tackle prospects.

"We took four linebackers for specific needs with Kelvin Sheppard, Perry Riley, Derrick Odom and Jacob Cutrera. Those linebackers will come in and have the opportunity to play and play very early.

"On defense we took a total of 12, offensively we took 13. We graduated 21 seniors. It was the most successful class in LSU football history, and that's the challenge to this football class. Whether it is the fifth-ranked class, the second-ranked class or the 16th-ranked class, that's not the issue. The issue is the success that's gone before them, the legacy of winning and the opportunity to do one better than a class that has to their credit bowl championships, SEC championships and a national championship. I believe that this class is what we need. Certainly we are recruiting one other, and we'd like to have had a few others on this day. But I'm excited about the class."

On not signing a quarterback in this class...
"We expected that we would not take a quarterback in this class. If you look at the rankings, you always like to compare your class, and without taking a quarterback in this class, which we didn't on purpose, you have to go back and say the quarterback that we redshirted really is in this class and has four straight years to play and perform with this class. He was a very highly touted quarterback, and he might make this class just exactly what we need. With JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn with two years and Ryan Perrilloux with four, I think we like our quarterback spot for quite some time."

On LSU's out-of-state signees...
"I think we showed with 25 commitments 14 in the state and 11 out-of-state the strength of LSU to cross state boundaries. We were in it with several out-of-state guys that very well could have chosen us over another school but didn't. But when you have a school that offers a great education with various degree programs upon graduation and a team that can win, it's fun to represent LSU."

On signees he expects to come in and make an immediate impact...
"I think there's a number of guys. I think (defensive tackle) Al Woods is a guy that can help next year. I think he'll pursue the front. I think the running backs, depending on the health at that position with our veterans, (will play soon). I think the tailbacks will come in and look forward to some early playing time. I think there are a number of guys that fit into being fast and will hit you. They can fit into special teams. I think you'll see a large number of these guys starting with holding down special teams spots."

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