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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Top LSU recruit misses

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Under Les Miles, LSU has been great about finding an obscure prospect and turning him into a solid college player, an award-winner and often a high NFL draft pick.

That doesn't mean the Tigers aren't immune to players who turn out to not be as good as promised.

Here are five that didn't pan out as advertised since ESPN started rating players in 2006. In all five cases the player was guilty of nothing more than not being as good as many thought he would be. All but one finished their four-year LSU career and won at least one SEC title and played for, or won, a national championship:

Cobi Hamilton
Jai Eugene, shown trailing a touchdown play against Arkansas in 2010, was the No. 1 cornerback in the 2006 class but spent most of his LSU career as a reserve.
1. Chris Davenport: An ESPN 150 recruit in 2009 rated the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country, Davenport never came close to living up to that promise. In three seasons he never played a significant snap, getting lost in the shuffle at defensive tackle, then moving to offensive tackle, where he couldn't find the field, either. After the 2012 season, he transferred to Tulane.

2. Jai Eugene: Rated the nation's No. 1 cornerback in the Class of 2006, Eugene wound up having an unspectacular LSU career, starting 12 games, but mostly playing as a reserve.

3. Russell Shepard: The No. 3 player overall in the 2009 ESPN 150, Shepard never settled into a position and never became a full-time starter at LSU. A valuable leader his senior year, he nevertheless didn't have much on-field production to show for it other than the occasional long touchdown run -- there were three long touchdown runs in his career that gave glimpses of potential -- or special-teams tackle.

4. Chancey Aghayere: The No. 14 player in the 2008 ESPN 150, Aghayere finished his LSU career as a reserve defensive end who also gave depth at tackle.

5. Al Woods: The top defensive tackle in the country coming out of the 2006 class, the massive Woods struggled to keep his pad level low and wound up with a rather pedestrian career, not starting until his senior season and recording just 3.5 sacks in four years. To his credit, he has persevered as an NFL journeyman and played in 12 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012.