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Saturday, January 12, 2013
Miles shows he's a closer

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Two commitments during Saturday's junior day highlight the recruiting prowess of LSU coach Les Miles.

Jacory Washington said he had no intention of committing to LSU when he went to Baton Rouge for LSU's "Boys from the Boot" junior day in Baton Rouge.

Then he sat down for a 1-on-1 conversation with Miles.

"He talked about playing for the state and how I would be used," the ESPN 2014 Watch List tight end from Westlake, La., said. "I always grew up wanting to be a Tiger, so I just did it."

Washington was the first of two players to commit during Boys from the Boot, along with offensive lineman Will Clapp. LSU also gave out a new offer to linebacker Kenny Young. Unlike Clapp, who came to Baton Rouge seriously considering a commitment, it was not in Washington's plan at all.

"I surprised myself," he said.

The commitment of two 2014 Watch List players continued LSU's January recruiting momentum. The Tigers landed two 2013 ESPN 150 players during the Under Armour All-American game.

Much of it can be credited to Miles' ability to close with a recruit, a quality Washington can vouch for.

"He is good," Washington said.

One thing Miles couldn't do is get Washington to completely shut down the recruiting process.

"I'll still talk to coach [Nick] Saban, coach [Kevin] Sumlin," he said. "I'll still go camp. But right now, I'm a Tiger."

So call it a soft commit, but it's still a commitment.

What did Miles say to get him to commit?

"He talked about how he's wanted to do some things (with the tight end), but he hasn't had the personnel to do it," Washington said. "And that's where I would come in."

Makes sense.

LSU has generally used tight ends as physical parts of the running game and as targets on short passes, mostly off play action. With Washington and 2013 ESPN 150 commit Desean Smith, LSU has the potentially to have at least two tight ends on its roster with the ability to stretch the field vertically as receivers.

Washington, also a basketball star for his high school team, and Smith are players who have the speed and ball skills to go up and get the ball. Put Washington and Smith together in a huddle, and it will be hard for opponents to figure out if the offense will line up with two tight ends or multiple wide receivers.

"I do see myself as a hybrid," Washington said. "I do the dirty work, but I can get down the field and you can split me out wide."

Washington left LSU Saturday convinced that a hybrid tight end is what LSU needed after a talk with Miles.