Miles pleased with the 2014 class

LSU coach Les Miles

The Class of 2014 is in the books, and Les Miles couldn't be happier with what he assembled. The LSU football coach introduced the new group of Tigers to cap off an exciting National Signing Day.

The lofty rankings are nice. It gives fans something to cheer about and finishing with the third ranked class is something to hang your hat on.

But Les Miles doesn't need all that. He doesn't judge his signing classes based on the stars or the ratings. It's all about finding the best players for LSU, and that's exactly what Miles said the Tigers accomplished with the Class of 2014.

"We do a tremendous job evaluating prospects, some of which are highly ranked," Miles said. "But more importantly than being a five-star, these guys are in our class, they were evaluated by our coaches and they fill our needs."

Well LSU certainly filled its needs — and then some. The Tigers finished the 2014 recruiting cycle with a bang, adding four new recruits to the class on the final day. But while many were surprised with what happened Wednesday, Miles wasn't.

"There were not many surprises," he said. "We were in position to gain some other guys, but we managed that position to realize where we were and hedged our bets effectively…We did it exactly right. You improve your team by adding better players. We do a great job evaluating, and every guy has real skill and ability."

And Miles spoke at great lengths about each one. He spent about 15-20 minutes of Wednesday's press conference going down the list of signees, raving about their ability and potential.

From Leonard Fournette — who he said can compete for national awards as a freshman — to Malachi Dupre, who he said can "jump out of the gym," Miles was more than pleased with what he assembled on Wednesday. But he admitted that this type of success has grown into the norm at LSU, which in turn benefits them with recruits.

"The success that's been had over time here has made our uniform more recognizable," Miles said. "It's made our school more [attractive] to attend. LSU has always been, but is becoming even more marketable."

Not every recruit buys into that though. Just as prominent as the several prospects LSU landed were the ones they missed. Guys like Cameron Robinson, Devante Noil and Gerald Willis spurned LSU to leave the state, and Miles said he understood that some players "just want to get away."

"There are some people we really wish we would've gotten," Miles said. "But we were still in a position to have this kind of year. I don't know that we were motivated in any way by losses as much as we were by trying to widen the scope of our recruiting class so we could be here today."

Miles will admit though that there is one position on his team that didn't completely address the need. LSU only managed two offensive linemen in this class, missing on guys like Robinson and Derrick Kelly. For that reason, Miles said the 2015 class will need to stock up on offensive linemen.

Fortunately for LSU, Miles knows they have the right guy to lead that charge. Jeff Grimes was hired last month as the LSU OL coach due in large part to his prowess on the recruiting trail. While the rest of the coaching staff Wednesday was still keeping a close eye on the 2014 recruits, Grimes was hitting the phones and reaching out to some of the top junior OL prospects.

"He's a very personable family man," Miles said. "He's a guy that's going to be able to improve our line as time goes on. He's an aggressive recruiter. He's already working to position LSU in that next OL class. He's a steward of his responsibility and he does a great job."

But before they get too far into planning for the next batch of LSU signees, Miles wanted to take some time to bask in the glow created by a top-five recruiting class.

"Anytime you have the No. 2 class in the country, a lot of people performed," Miles said. "Our players on campus did a great job representing their experience…Our players revere this place, and they're having an experience second to none. And that's what they're telling these prospects."

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