BATON ROUGE - The first Wednesday in February marks perhaps the most important day each offseason for women's soccer programs across the country as they look to the future by signing respective recruiting classes stocked with the nation's top talent as part of National Signing Day.
That has certainly proven true for the LSU soccer program as head coach Brian Lee and his coaching staff have attracted many of the nation's premier players to Baton Rouge during his tenure to help establish the foundation of one of the true contenders in the Southeastern Conference year in and year out.
After inking a 10-member recruiting class a year ago for LSU's second Top 10 class nationally under Lee, the Tigers have signed three as part of the Class of 2011 who will compete for the first time this fall.
LSU's recruiting Class of 2011 features the No. 1 talent in South Texas in center midfielder in Alex Arlitt (Houston, Texas), the No. 1-ranked recruit in Mississippi in forward Alex Cook (Petal, Miss.) and the No. 1-ranked recruit in Louisiana in forward Lexi Gibbs (Prairieville, La.).
"While we don't have the numbers in this class that we've had in the past, we are very excited this season with the quality we have joining our program," Lee said. "These three young ladies have a chance to build upon the foundation we've already laid and help us compete for championships for years to come. We are excited about the potential they have in growing in our program here at LSU."
A product of Petal High School, Cook has established herself as one of the country's premier prep players during her youth career as she signs with the Tigers as the No. 88-ranked prospect nationally for the Class of 2011 according to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Top 100 player rankings.
Cook, who is also the No. 2-ranked prospect in the TopDrawerSoccer.com South Region Top 20 rankings this year, is also a three-year member of the Region III Olympic Development Program Team.
Arlitt, who joins the LSU program following a brilliant prep career at Clear Lake High School, is from the same Challenge Soccer Club in Houston that produced future LSU teammates and members of the 2010 SEC All-Freshman Team in rising sophomores Addie Eggleston and Megan Kinneman.
Arlitt has served as team captain in her age group with the Challenge Soccer Club for three years in 2008, 2009 and 2011, while leading the team to the U.S. Youth Soccer South Texas State Championship and USYS Region III Championships Semifinals during the 2009 season. She has also competed in such elite club tournaments as the Elite Clubs National Championships and USYS National Cup with Challenge SC.
Gibbs signs with the Tigers as one of the most prolific goal scorers in the history of Louisiana prep soccer during a brilliant four-year career at Dutchtown High School.
A two-time member of the Region III ODP Player Pool in 2008 and 2010, Gibbs has scored a total of 159 goals and 48 assists for 366 points in four seasons at Dutchtown High School, while leading the Griffins to back-to-back state quarterfinals appearances in each of the last two seasons.
LSU's National Signing Day trio of Arlitt, Cook and Gibbs will be joined in the fall by a crop of preferred walk-ons who will also have an opportunity to compete with the Tigers beginning in 2011.