Monday, July 28, 2014
Revisiting Miles' thoughts on 2014 class
By David Ching
BATON ROUGE, La. -- We’re a week away from the start of preseason practice for the LSU Tigers.
Since several open spots on the depth chart make this arguably the most important freshman class in Les Miles’ decade as the Tigers’ coach, we thought it might be a good time to offer a refresher on Miles’ thoughts about each signee once they officially became Tigers on national signing day.
Keep in mind that this is before two junior college prospects -- offensive lineman Jevonte Domond and tight end Colin Jeter -- joined the class as summer additions, so they are not included in this rundown.
Here’s what Miles had to say on what the newcomers might bring to LSU's roster:
Leonard Fournette, the top prospect in the 2014 class, should get his fair share of carries as a freshman.
Leonard Fournette No. 1 overall prospect on ESPN 300/No. 1 RB Miles said: Not surprisingly, the nation’s top overall prospect was a hot topic on signing day. Discussing him publicly for the first time, Miles said, “The inhibitor for a running back, generally speaking, is if he’s got great speed, he’s not very big. And if he’s very, very big, he doesn’t have great speed. And so basically you take a big back and you trim him up and you get him faster and you take the small back and you build him up and hope that you don’t get him slower. But for Leonard Fournette, it’s size and speed and ball skills and great vision. He’s a guy that will step in and play.”
Malachi Dupre No. 17 on ESPN 300/No. 1 WR Miles said: One of three No. 1 players at a position to sign with the Tigers, wide receiver Dupre “can jump out of this gym,” Miles said. “He’s a guy that not only has size and height and ball skills and speed, but he has explosiveness that’s just different. Those quarterbacks that could miss him would have to throw it low, not high.”
Jamal Adams No. 18 on ESPN 300/No. 2 S Miles said: Clearly excited about the Texan’s potential, Miles brought up former first-round NFL draft pick Eric Reid as a comparison to Adams. “A multi-dimensional athlete. Played offense, defense, special teams return man,” he said. “Very tough, physical player. Ran track. Just reminds you of Eric Reid, maybe a little bit better ball skills, maybe a little bit more explosive.”
Trey Quinn No. 29 on ESPN 300/No. 3 WR Miles said: One of the most statistically prolific high school receivers in history, Quinn is a “tremendously capable athlete, a guy that can make plays after he catches the ball,” Miles said. “His run after catch will be significant.”
Clifton Garrett No. 31 on ESPN 300/No. 2 ILB Miles said: The No. 1 player in Illinois, the middle linebacker is “big, physical, fast -- forced fumbles, sacks, going to give us a tremendous presence inside,” Miles said.
Brandon Harris No. 37 on ESPN 300/No. 2 dual-threat QB Miles said: The coach said early enrollee Harris “may well be as natural a passer as we’ve been around” and added that he has “got great arm velocity, great speed. Will really challenge defenses vertically down the field and have the ability to move his feet to extend plays.”
Ed Paris No. 50 on ESPN 300/No. 4 S Miles said: The early enrollee, who played cornerback during the spring, has great coverage skills, Miles said. “Again, I say that he is already on campus and has an opportunity to compete this spring for playing time.”
Garrett Brumfield No. 54 on ESPN 300/No. 1 OG Miles said: The third No. 1 player at his position, Baton Rouge native Brumfield is an “extremely athletic offensive lineman,” Miles said. “Great versatility will give him a chance to play multiple positions.”
Devin Voorhies No. 134 on ESPN 300/No. 16 ATH Miles said: Miles said Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year, who is slated to play safety. is “just a very versatile athlete with good size. We’ll enjoy him in our secondary, as well.”
Travonte Valentine No. 164 on ESPN 300/No. 11 DT Miles said: The massive four-star prospect “is one of the premier tackles out of Florida. … Big body, really will clog up the middle and push the pocket.”
Jacory Washington No. 169 on ESPN 300/No. 5 TE (H) Miles said: The four-star tight end is “a guy that really is a receiving tight end, can really stretch the field vertically. Again very talented,” Miles said. “He went to the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando and he won the skills competition.”
Davon Godchaux No. 213 on ESPN 300/No. 22 DE Miles said: The four-star prospect, who will start out at defensive tackle at LSU, “had a major knee injury that he recovered from in his senior year,” Miles said. “But he has a very high motor, very athletic and we look forward to him playing with us in the middle.”
Donnie Alexander No. 261 on ESPN 300/No. 19 OLB Miles said: Miles called the New Orleans native “one of the top linebackers in the state. … He will fit into our package very comfortably. He’ll be great in space and he is a very vicious tackler.”
D.J. Chark No. 271 on ESPN 300/No. 38 WR Miles said: Miles has frequently mentioned the speedy Chark as a future contender for a kick returner job. On signing day, he said Chark is “really a tremendous prospect at the wide receiver spot.”
Deondre Clark No. 273 on ESPN 300/No. 24 DE Miles said: With severe winter weather in his native Oklahoma delaying the process, Clark didn’t officially sign with LSU until several days after national signing day. But in a release announcing his signing, Miles said Clark “is a very athletic and versatile player who was a standout on both sides of the ball in high school. … He fills a need for us at defensive end. He’ll be able to come in and compete for playing time right away.”
Tony Upchurch No. 283 on ESPN 300/No. 42 WR Miles said: He contributed at multiple positions in high school, but the big-bodied Upchurch will play receiver at LSU, leading Miles to say he’s “a very strong, physical [player] that can catch the ball and will give us a great opportunity to use his size and skill set.”
Trey Lealaimatafao No. 27 DT Miles said: Although he recently suffered a serious arm injury and jeopardized his 2014 season when he punched through a window, the four-star defensive lineman reminds Miles of a previous LSU standout. “What he would remind you of is Drake Nevis,” Miles said. “He is a little taller, maybe a little wider, maybe a little faster, but he has a very high motor and a real acceleration on the field.”
William Clapp No. 22 OG Miles said: LSU likes versatility in its offensive linemen and Miles said LSU gets that with Clapp, noting also that he “comes with an LSU background. His father played defensive line at LSU. … Again, very athletic, has good size and mobility that will allow him to play a number of spots.”
John Battle No. 26 S Miles said: Although he’s listed at cornerback on LSU’s preseason depth chart, Miles said at the time that Battle is “one of the rising safety prospects in this class, a four-star recruit. A very bright guy … a very high-character man, a track athlete and a four-point student. Very hard-hitting safety, a very talented guy that we look forward to him lining up in our secondary.”
Sione Teuhema No. 41 DE Miles said: A tweener who could contribute as a defensive end or outside linebacker, Teuhema “has an unbelievably high motor and will play with his hands on the ground or play standing up and just to me is a tremendous prospect,” Miles said.
Russell Gage No. 57 ATH Miles said: A late addition to LSU’s class, Gage was “a multi-sport athlete, displayed toughness and physicality and speed, was very competitive in our camp and we knew of him best and he’ll be with us as a corner,” Miles said.
Cameron Gamble No. 6 KTS Miles said: Although LSU seems set at placekicker with Colby Delahoussaye, Miles has mentioned Gamble several times as a candidate for the kickoff job in 2014, including on signing day. “Big leg. Nineteen kickoffs went into the end zone as a senior.”
Darrel Williams No. 77 RB Miles said: Fournette gets most of the attention, but Miles said of 2,200-yard rusher Williams that “he’s a tough, physical running back, runs behind his pads, punishes defenders, displays great balance and vision.”