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Wednesday, February 19, 2014
LSU adds two local ESPN Jr. 300 recruits

By Jeremy Crabtree

When he was first hired, Les Miles said one of the key ingredients for success at LSU was to win the local recruiting battles. Through the years, Miles has done a masterful job of doing just that. But in the past few classes, some LSU fans have complained after watching highly-ranked prospects such as Landon Collins, Tim Williams, Cameron Robinson, Laurence Jones and Speedy Noil end up at Alabama or Texas A&M.

Never mind that the Tigers landed Leonard Fournette, the nation’s No. 1 player in 2014, and five of the top 10 Louisiana players in both 2013 and 2014. All fans wanted to focus on were the setbacks. They shouldn’t.

LSU and Miles continue to be the kings of The Pelican State and continued to prove it Wednesday with the additions of two local ESPN Junior 300 prospects. The Tigers added pledges from St. Francisville (La.) West Feliciana four-star receiver Jazz Ferguson and Mandeville (La.) Lakeshore four-star running back David Ducre.

Ferguson, the nation’s No. 15 receiver and No. 120 player, picked the Tigers over early offers from Houston, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette and Memphis, and his offer list surely would have blossomed in the spring evaluation period. Ducre was recruited primarily as a fullback, and is ranked as the No. 22 running back and No. 250 player overall. His list, too, was about to explode, but he had early offers from Alcorn State, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana Lafayette and Southern Miss.

Ferguson and Ducre picked up their offers from the Tigers this past Saturday and didn’t need long to mull it over. As Miles knows, many kids growing up in Louisiana dream of playing on Saturday nights in Death Valley, and the offers were just too good for both to pass up. “Jazz has been thinking about playing for LSU since he was a little kid,” West Feliciana coach Rob Odom said. “There wasn’t any need to wait when he can have a dream come true.”

Look for the local focus to continue with the rest of the 2015 class. LSU already has five in-state commitments, and top-five Louisiana prospects Tyron Johnson (New Orleans/Warren Easton), T.D. Moton (Shreveport, La./Woodlawn) and Derrius Guice (Baton Rouge, La./Catholic) all have the Tigers high on their lists.

Plus, it’s a focus that makes sense. Based on a SportingNews.com report on 2013 Week 1 NFL rosters, Louisiana had the seventh-most players in the country with 62 players. That total was ahead of places like Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Alabama and North Carolina. Not bad for a state that ranked as the 25th-most populated state in the 2013 census.