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February 5, 2014

Les Miles

COACH MILES:テつ Good afternoon.テつ The 2014 class always starts with what our needs are, and replacing those needs with elite players.テつ And I feel like we did that.テつ Offensively we lose a quarterback, Jay Hill, Alfred Blue, and we took Brandon Harris, who may well be as natural a passer as we've been around, and Leonard Fournette the player of the year.テつ Darrel Williams, a great back in state.テつ And wide receiver we lost Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, and we're fortunate to have Malachi Dupre and D.J.テつ Chark and Trey Quin and Tony Upchurch.テつ Those guys will give us a great receiving core to work with.テつ Defensively we lose two defensive tackles and Bryan Eagle and FC Johnson, and we take Trey Valentine, a premier inside guy, Davon Godchaux, from across the bridge here, but very, very talented man.テつ And Trey L, I better call him Trey L, because men, it will take me several years to get to that.テつ And I want you to know he's a wonderful man, and I pray he'll be forgiving my inability.
We needed safeties we've lost Eric Reid and Craig Austin the last two years, and we needed a tremendous safety in Jamal Adams, John Battle, and Devin Voorhies are certainly the answers there for us.
This class has a mix of speed, size and strength.テつ They're good strengths and a quality group of people.
To give kind of a quick overview of the class, we signed prospects from 6 different states.テつ We had 12 from Louisiana, 6 from Texas, 3 from Florida, one from Illinois, one from Mississippi and with one left yet to decide.
The LSU continues to make Louisiana a priority with 12 players from this state, including the top overall prospect in the nation, again, Leonard Fournette, and the top wide receiver in the country, Malachi Dupre.テつ The Tigers went to Illinois for the player of the year, Illinois, Clifton Garrett.テつ We signed the Gatorade player of the year in Mississippi, Devin Voorhies.
There were 14 Tigers that participated in three major all star games, Army, All American 7, the Under All American 6, and the Simper Fi all American 1.テつ Tigers signed 15 recruits from the ESPN 300.テつ The Tigers signees were listed in the USAToday All American, Fournette, Quin and Voorhies, Fournette was also named obviously the USA player ‑‑ USAToday player of the year.
The 2014 class is made up of 11 offensive players and 11 defensive players.テつ One specialist.テつ The LSU class is ranked 2nd and virtually every major policy, consensus nationally.
And again, the ‑‑ it's interesting, though, what we do is we do a tremendous job evaluating prospects, and some of which are highly ranked and guys that we want, that we would want to consider were not as good as we thought.テつ So we had to pull back.テつ And so I like more importantly than being a five star, that these guys are in our class, they were evaluated by our coaches and they fill our needs.
So to give a quick view of the class, Leonard Fournette ‑‑ I'll go over each prospect now, and describe to you his fit.テつ Our greatest No. 1 prospect in the country, consensus five star recruit, 2013, 2014 Gator player of the year in Louisiana, USAToday offensive player of the year, the Under Armor All American game participant.テつ Ran for 1800 yards, 16 touchdowns, caught 45 passes for 745 yards, 6 touchdowns as a senior.テつ Possesses great power and speed and vision.テつ And catches the ball well in the back field.テつ Certainly a person with very high character.
Brandon Harris, a Parkway High School 6 foot 3, 185 pound from Bossier City, Louisiana, rated as one of the top quarterbacks in the country, I think he was the All Prospect, 34th prospect in the country.テつ A quarterback that threw 178 times for 329 ‑‑ excuse me, threw 329 times for 178 completions, 3100 yards, 34 touchdowns, rushed for 1048 yards, 15 touchdowns, got great arm velocity and great speed.テつ Will really challenge defenses vertically down the field and have the ability to move his feet to extend plays.
Offensive line, Garrett Brumfield, a 6 foot 4, 285 pound University Lab, Baton Rouge, Louisiana native.テつ One of the top offensive linemen in the 2014 class.テつ A 4 star recruit.テつ Under Armor All American game in Orlando.テつ Was All State, both as a junior and senior, extremely athletic offensive lineman.テつ Great versatility.テつ Will give him a chance to play multiple positions.
William Clapp, a 6 foot four, 270 pound, Brother Martin High School, New Orleans.テつ Louisiana native.テつ Very similar, consensus four star recruit, comes with an LSU background.テつ His father played offensive line at LSU, named to the All State team as both a junior and a senior.テつ Again, very athletic, has, great size and mobility, and will allow him to play a number of spots.
Malachi Dupre, rated the No. 1 wide receiver in the country, consensus five star recruit, played in the All Star games.テつ 34 catches for 607 yards, 6 touchdowns, a tremendously capable athlete, very explosive, great speed for his size.テつ Great catching radius, has the ability to get to the ball.テつ And just a tremendous play maker.
Trey Quinn, a wide receiver in the 2014 class, consensus 4 star recruit, broke the state record for career receiving yards.テつ Had 197 yards receiving this year, and 28 touchdowns.テつ Tremendously capable athlete, a guy that can make plays after he catches the ball.テつ His run after catch will be significant.
D.J. Chark, a 6 foot 1, 180 pound Alexandria Senior High School, Louisiana native, and caught 48 passes for 550 yards, three touchdowns, just really a tremendous prospect at the wide receiver spot.
Tony Upchurch, a 225 pound, 6 foot 2, Glenda Dawson High School, Pearland, Texas native, just a very versatile athlete.テつ Can play a number of spots.テつ Caught 62 passes for 897 yards, six touchdowns.テつ He rushed the ball for 347 yards, three touchdowns as a senior.テつ A very strong, physical back that can catch the ball and will give us a great opportunity to use his size and skill set.
Darrel Williams running back, 5‑11, 203 pound John Ehret High School.テつ From Marrero, Louisiana native.テつ From Marrero, Louisiana.テつ He's a tough physical running back, pushing defenders, displaying great balance and vision and he is a tremendous running back.
Tight end Jacory Washington, 6 foot 5, 223 pound out of Westlake High School, Westlake, Louisiana.テつ A guy that really is a receiving tight end, can really stretch the field vertically.テつ Again, very talented.テつ He went to the Under Armour All American game in Orlando, where he won the skills competition.テつ Again, very talented guy.
Defensive ends, we took take Sione Teuhema, a 6 foot 3, 211 pound, out of Keller, Texas.テつ U.S. Army All American out of San Antonio.テつ Tallied 96 tackles and 19 tackles for loss, and ten sacks as a senior, will play with his hands on the ground or play standing up and just to me is a tremendous prospect for the Tigers.
Trey Valentine is one of the premier tackles out of Florida.テつ A consensus four star recruit.テつ Played in the USA Army All American game, had 85 tackles, 16 sacks as a senior, big body.テつ Really will clog up and push the pocket.テつ Just what we need when you turn and take away eagle Ferguson and Anthony Johnson.
Davon Godchaux, 6 foot 4, 271 pounds from Paquemine High School in Plaquemine, Louisiana.テつ He's a four star recruit, USA Army All American, but the guy had a major knee injury that he's recovered from in his senior year, but he is a very high motor and very athletic, and we look forward to him playing with us in the middle.
And again Trey L, because I believe it is Lealaimatafao, and until I get that right, and I'm going to try for a couple of years, but you guys will have that one to throw at me just at any point in time that you need to.テつ But for right now I'm going to call him Trey L.テつ Again, 6 foot 1, 300 pounder out of Earl Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas, four star recruit.テつ A USA Army All American.テつ Again, in San Antonio, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles.テつ He would remind you of Drake Nevis, a little taller, a little wider, maybe a little faster.テつ But he has a very high motor and a real acceleration on the field.
Went to Illinois and took the No. 1 player in the state, Clifton, C.J. Garrett.テつ Linebacker, 6 foot 3, Plainfield South High School, Plainfield, Illinois.テつ Again, a big, physical, fast, forced fumbles, sacks.テつ Going to give us a tremendous presence inside.
Donnie Alexander, Junior, 207 pounds, from Edna Karr High School, New Orleans, Louisiana, one of the top linebackers in the state.テつ Extremely athletic, four star recruit and ESPN.テつ Amassed 97 tackles and 6 sacks.テつ 2 interceptions on defense as a senior.テつ He will fit into our package very comfortably out to the field.テつ And he'll be great in space.テつ He is a very vicious tackler.
Quarterback Ed Paris, on campus, 6 foot 1, 201 pounds, Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas.テつ The top prospect in the country.テつ Consensus four star recruit, and participated in the USA Army, All American game in San Antonio, a very talented guy, and again I say that he is already on campus and has an opportunity to compete this spring for playing time.
Russell Gage, Junior, a 6 foot 1, 180 pound, Redemptorist High School out the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, played offense, defense, and special teams.テつ He had 65 tackles, 8 interceptions as a senior, a multi‑sport athlete, displayed toughness and physicality and speed.テつ Was very competitive in our camp.テつ And we know him best and he'll be with us as a corner.
Jamal Adams, 6 foot, 204 pounds, 4‑48 in the 40.テつ Lewisville, Texas, Hebron High School.テつ One of the elite safeties in the country, five star recruit, Under Armour All American game participant.テつ Seven interceptions in his final two seasons, multidimensional athlete.テつ Played offense, defense, will be a special teams return man, very tough, physical player, ran track for Hebron, just ‑‑ reminds you of Eric Reid, maybe a little bit better ball skills, maybe a little bit more explosive.
John Battle, 6 foot 1, 180 pounds, Hallandale High School, Hallandale, Florida.テつ One of the 4 star recruits.テつ But a very bright guy.テつ 195 tackles, two interceptions.テつ Very high character man.テつ Track athlete and a 4 point student.テつ Very hard hitting safety.テつ Very talented guy.テつ We'll look forward to lining him up in our secondary.
Devin Voorhies, Wilkinson County High School, Woodville, Mississippi.テつ Was the Mississippi Gator player of the year of 2013, and really rated consensus four star recruit.テつ He played quarterback and defense, just very versatile athlete and with good size.テつ We will enjoy him in our secondary, as well.
And Cameron Gamble, a 5‑11, 180 pound out of Flower Mound High School in Texas.テつ A big leg, 19 kick offs.
Anytime that you have the No. 2 ranked class inspect the country a lot of people perform.テつ And first of all our players, our players on campus did a great job representing what is their experience.テつ Anytime that you have a great class, they come on campus and they talk to the guys on campus, and they ask them, what's it like going to school at LSU?テつ What's it like playing football in Tiger stadium?テつ What's it like?テつ Tell us about the experience.テつ Our players revere this place, and they are having an experience second to none.テつ And they tell the prospects.テつ And I can tell you that when you look at our staff, Sharon Lewis, Tommy Moffitt, Gary Solly, virtually donates every Saturday to come over and talk about his school.テつ Talk about football, and talk about his school.テつ And the business school it is.テつ And Miles comes down and represents the service that will be rendered by an extremely efficient academic center.
And it's a tremendous opportunity for young people.テつ Our coaches wives say good‑bye to their husbands on Sundays sometimes and don't see them again until Friday.テつ And it's just the necessity of recruiting.
Frank Wilson, our recruiting coordinator, may not be a finer recruiting coordinator in the country.テつ Just represents the school extremely well.テつ His family is professional, is what you want from anybody that would represent this quality institution.
It could not be done without their efforts.テつ And our assistant coaches are competitive.テつ And competitive means get up early and be there early.テつ It means go to the school, see the coach, go to the home, make sure that you answer their questions.テつ You don't leave a stone unturned.テつ If they want kinesiology, if they want criminal justice, if they want law, if they want medicine, you make sure that you take the opportunity to represent that.テつ Sam Nader, among a number of people that I have not mentioned are due a tremendous amount of credit for the success of this class.
In the last two years we've played 15 freshman two consecutive years.テつ And I think those were records in both years.テつ We sent juniors to the NFL.テつ We sent 11 last year.テつ We'll send seven this year.テつ And that's nine years.テつ We've had 51 drafted.テつ We've had 12 first rounders.テつ We've had 41, at the beginning of this year, 41 Tigers were on rosters in the NFL, that left college.
So this class is a must.テつ It's an opportunity to replace guys that have graduated from college and gone on to business or gone on to the NFL, to replace those when they're juniors, and that in three years have gone on to the NFL.
So I think you'll like this group.テつ I think there's a number of elite players and guys that are good students.テつ They're a very, very talented group and a very quality character group.
If you look at this class like I do, who want to compete for national title, there are several.

Q.テつ Years past you've come in with almost a full class.テつ Today you had some work to do and spaces to offer.テつ Talk about the finish of this year and maybe surprises here on signing day?
COACH MILES: Well, I really think that there were not many surprises.テつ I think we were in position to gain some other guys, but I think we managed that position to realize where we were at.テつ And I think we hedged our bets effectively.テつ And we signed a class that what we need.テつ If we end up with 22 ‑‑ I'm going to suggest that we could end up with 23 because there's another one yet to make a decision that could take place tomorrow.テつ So we're going to hold and be representative and see if we can't add another to the list.テつ But I think we did exactly right.テつ You improve your team by adding better players.テつ If you cannot add better players, don't add guys, guys that have not demonstrated the ability to play in our conference and to play in our stadium.テつ So we did a great job evaluating, and I think you'll find out that every guy that we just talked about has real skill and ability.

Q.テつ A couple of players, Leonard and Malachi, obviously Malachi waited for today to decide.テつ You never quite know until they sign on the line, because you talk about each individual player and these are two guys in any program that can contribute right away?
COACH MILES:テつ Well, as a running back, the inhibitor for the running back generally speaking is if he's got great speed he's not very big.テつ If he's very, very big, he doesn't have great speed.テつ Basically you take the big back and you trim him up and get him faster.テつ And you take the small back and you build him up and hopefully you don't get him slower.テつ But for Fournette it's size and speed and ball skills and great vision.テつ And he's a guy that will step in and play.テつ And I don't mean to minimize Darrel Williams.テつ Darrel Williams is a big back that rushed for 222 yards in a tremendously competitive League.テつ We're very fortunate to have a number of guys.テつ Trey L will step in and play defensive line.テつ Trey Valentine will play defensive line.テつ Godchaux will step in and play.テつ This is a thick class.テつ It's not just the elite.テつ You go back to make sure that I answer the question about Malachi.テつ Malachi Dupre could jump out of this gym.テつ He's a guy that not only has size and height and ball skills and speed, but he has an explosiveness that's just different.テつ Those quarterbacks tacked miss him would have to throw it below him, not over the top of him.

Q.テつ You referenced your ability to produce one thousand yard receivers, and that could be a reflection of Cam Cameron.テつ What effect have you seen in the hiring of Cameron?
COACH MILES: I think that our receiving core has said, yep, I like that.テつ I see those thousand yard receivers.テつ It's the first time in school history, we've had passing here in the past, if I look back at some guys that are pretty talented guys, for the first time, you know, under the direction of Cam do we have 2000 yard receivers.テつ And I think that the receiving core said, yeah, I want in.テつ And then I think the recruitment of which ‑‑ I think Brandon Harris came here specifically to be mentored by Cam Cameron, and I think that that was both things will really play out in the long‑term to be advantages for us.

Q.テつ Is there a little sense of urgency a month ago when you lost some commitments that you thought you might get?

Q.テつ Some commitments about a month ago, in January.テつ Was there a sense of urgency, did that create a sense of urgency?
COACH MILES: Yeah, I want you to know something, I have to be honest with you, there are some people that we lost and some people that we didn't.テつ And I don't think that ‑‑ I think that there's some people that we really wish we would have gotten.テつ But I have to be honest with you, I think we were in position to have this kind of year, period.
I don't know that we were motivated in any way by losses as much as we were continuing to widen the scope of our recruiting class so that we could be here today.

Q.テつ With Jeff Grimes gone now, a lot of juniors said today that they started to hear from Grimes and it seems like his track record being at Virginia Tech and Auburn was to go national with his recruiting and find the best linemen and receivers to go there.テつ What have you picked up in your short time here, and how big a selling point was him being a big recruiter?
COACH MILES: Very personal, family man, a guy that's going to be able to improve our line implementally as time goes on.テつ And he's an aggressive recruiter.テつ He's already working to position LSU in that line class.テつ He's a steward of his responsibility and he does a great job, did a great job today calling prospects ‑‑ not calling them, but arranging phone calls that they could call in.

Q.テつ Top ten classes in the country, 7 from the SEC, you throw Florida State in there, is it now the SEC or is it just coming down to the sun belt area where kids want to come play down in this area?
COACH MILES: I think the country gets smaller.テつ And I think it gets smaller with technology.テつ It gets smaller with I pads and TV and phones that are computer driven.
I had a prospect who is currently on our campus and going to school, so I guess he would be our LSU Tiger, and he said to me, here, coach, I want you to talk to Trey L, and he handed me his phone.テつ And he was Face Timing Trey L.テつ And I could see this little square in the corner that was me and this big, happy, smiling Trey there.テつ And I could tell him that we were closer and that this was easy.テつ And that we might try it again.テつ Except that I made the observation that it was me he was looking at and that had to be painful.テつ So I may kind of face time one way, if I can.テつ But my point is that that's what's going on today.テつ Today the planes seem to fly more efficiently.テつ The travel seems to be easier.テつ I think this country is smaller and it continues to shrink.テつ And I think the opportunity to play at best programs.テつ The opportunity to play at places that you're being played as a freshman, the place that will make sure that you get your degree, the place that will allow you to show your skills and abilities in the NFL.テつ Those places have advantages and that's where the players want to go.テつ They realize, you know what?テつ They play a style of football over at LSU that sends guys to the NFL.テつ It just happens.

Q.テつ Continuing that, you mentioned you didn't get some key players, but you went out of state and you got the Adamses and Parises and Valentines?
COACH MILES: There were at least two players in the state that we coveted.テつ And I can tell you that we recruited to those positions.テつ And felt like we helped ourselves significantly.テつ I can tell you that, you know what, you would have to think that with so much right here in the background of this organization, this press conference, this stadium, this quality school, the community that we represent that people in this state would just want to stay.テつ And I think that that's happening more than not.
But occasionally somebody just got to get away.テつ And I don't necessarily believe in that, but some of those decisions are being made that way.

Q.テつ You feel like you've established a brand that it doesn't matter the miles or what state they're from, they want to come play here?テつ You feel like you've gotten that momentum?
COACH MILES: Absolutely.テつ I dare say yeah.テつ The question is, is LSU attractive to people in every state.テつ And I think absolutely that's true.テつ And I think the success that's been had over time here has made our uniform more recognizable, made our school more an opportunity to attend.
And yes, you mentioned brand.テつ I think LSU is becoming and has always been, but is becoming more marketable, if you will.

Q.テつ You talked about having one more out there, is there any area of concern that you have with this class that you would still look to add to it?
COACH MILES: We lost an offensive lineman.テつ We replaced it with two.テつ We're going to have to have a great class next year in the offensive line.テつ The opportunities for guys to come in and really compete to play is pretty extreme.テつ And to be honest with you, in my time here, if we've ever had a real area of need, we've been able to go out there and answer it very effectively, and I'm certain that we will.テつ But those offensive linemen and the sound of my voice, the opportunity is certainly great to join these Tigers and have an opportunity to compete to play.

Q.テつ Going back to Leonard.テつ Have you ever dealt with a recruit with this much hype going in.テつ What are your realistic expectations for him the next three or four years?
COACH MILES: Well, I have, but I think it fails to compare.テつ I think that what he's got to do, all the things that have made him successful in his high school, in growing up, he's got to continue to do.テつ And that's something that you can't imagine that he would not continue to do, and that's just work hard.テつ Apply his trade.テつ Because there's definitely some transition that will take place.
But he has all the natural skill and ability that there is.テつ And I think expectations for guys like him are good.テつ He'd be miserable if somebody didn't have expectations that he'd have a great freshman year.テつ He'd be miserable but, again, don't put the cart in front of the horse.テつ It's all about taking it day‑to‑day and working hard and preparing.テつ And as long as he does that, he'll be fine.

Q.テつ Just along those lines.テつ Did you hear him say I want to win the Heisman Trophy my freshman year and things like that?テつ He's a great kid, not cocky.テつ What are your thoughts on some of those goals and thoughts he had?
COACH MILES: I would not see him as cocky.テつ I would a see him as humble.テつ I would see him as working hard.テつ His answers for improvement are apply himself, which all of those things are characteristics of guys that can win national awards.テつ I certainly understand it.テつ And we've seen freshmen win it.テつ Johnny Manziel was a true freshman or a red shirt freshman.テつ And this guy from Florida State was a first year quarterback starter and wins the Heisman.テつ So it would be nice to have some national awards being considered as a freshman with the Tigers.

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