ORLANDO -- Despite a full court press by Alabama, including a hard sell by head coach Nick Saban on the phone Wednesday, ESPN 150 tight end Tyler Edwards will remain in-state and play his college ball for Louisiana State.
"I have always wanted to be a Tiger from day one," said an excited Edwards.
ESPN's No. 6-rated tight end prospect said LSU was the best place for him, a great fit on and off the football field. Edwards' brother Eric, a former LSU tight end, enjoyed his experience in Baton Rouge and helped guide his younger brother's decision.
Between the white lines, the Tigers are getting one heck of a football player who is a fierce competitor until the whistle blows. Not the biggest or fastest tight end prospect in the country, Edwards possesses soft hands, above-average receiving skills and tenacity as an in-line blocker. The best football is ahead of this Louisiana native who should only improve once his tall, athletically-built frame fills out at the next level.
Watching the No. 99-rated prospect on the ESPN 150 this week in practice, we did notice he looked a bit stiff and less fluid through his hips as a pass receiver compared to the other athletic All-American tight ends. Edwards will need to become savvier as a route runner to mask his marginal separation speed, but in terms of being a total football player, it is difficult to find a more aggressive well-rounded competitor than the state of Louisiana's fourth highest-ranked player.
Edwards' athletic physical measurables and physical skills at tight end are strikingly similar to current Tiger sophomore Richard Dickson.
"The LSU coaches think my game resembles Dickson. Since he still has two years of eligibility left, they have talked about using both of us in some double tight end sets in my first few years," explained Edwards.
As the Tigers prepare to battle Ohio State in the BCS National Championship game this Monday, the 2008 class does not reflect the excellence they are currently achieving on the gridiron. Edwards is only the third ESPN 150 prospect heading to Baton Rouge -- equivalent to Pittsburgh and Colorado, each coming off non-winning records this fall. Chancey Aghayere (Garland, Texas), ESPN's No. 3-rated defensive end prospect, and ESPN 150 wide receiver Chris Tolliver (Rayville, La.), who showed elite speed and acceleration this week in Orlando, head a top-heavy class.
Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school level. Tucker has served as a recruiting coordinator for two nationally ranked Division II colleges. Most recently, he was the associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Merrimack College, which advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 2006 NCAA Division II playoffs.