|Saban and Les...|
One thing Les Miles has proven he can do is recruit.
But he still has to take a back seat to Nick Saban on that one.
Saban showed he meant business right off the bat when he arrived at LSU. After being hired in 2000, Saban put together a signing class in 2001 that set the tone for LSU returning to top of the class.
The 2001 LSU signing class included Michael Clayton, Marcus Spears, the late Marquise Hill, Ben Wilkerson, Joseph Addai, Travis Daniels, Andrew Whitworth and Rudy Niswanger played key roles in LSU winning the 2003 National Championship.
When Saban arrived at LSU, he sent his coaches after the top players in the nation, no matter where they were located.
Gerry DiNardo rarely left Louisiana, and stayed primarily along I-10.
DiNardo also locked in players early despite their academic standing.
You had to go back to the mid-80s before Saban to find a coach who believed in reaching out for quality players as Bill Arnsparger landed a solid group from Miami and a few good players from around Pennsylvania.
Mike Archer reached out, but came back with several marginal players.
Saban had it down on how to recruit the state, as well as nationally.
Granted, that was a heckuva year for football players in the state and certainly helped kick off Saban's great run at LSU.
The top eight players in the state in 2000 were Brock Berlin, Shyrone Carey, Kade Comeaux, Lynarise Elpheage, Stevie Lee, Derron Parquet, Robert Peace and Roy Del Williams.
In 1999, the top players were a pretty good bunch, with only Eli Manning (Ole Miss) and Brian West (Texas A&M) choosing to go somewhere else besides LSU.
The other top players who ended up being Tiger-bound were Domanick Davis, Eric Edwards, Treverance Faulk, Demetrius Hookfin (I still have nightmares about this guy's coverage), Bradie James and Rodney Reed.
DiNardo must have spent too much time in his restaurant not being able to do anything with that bunch, even if they were freshmen (he went 3-8 and 1-7 in the SEC).
Saban's final recruiting class in 2004 surpassed that 2001 class as he brought in Charles Alexander, Glenn Dorsey, Early Doucet, Marlon Favorite, Brett Helms, Jacob Hester, Ali Highsmith, Chevis Jackson, Tyson Jackson, Herman Johnson, Luke Sanders, Craig Steltz, and Claude Wroten.
Miles' first class in 2005 included Darry Beckwith, Ciron Black, Tyler, Trindon Holliday, Lyle Hitt, Ricky Jean-Francois, Al Jones, Brandon LaFell, Houston and Ryan Perrilloux.
Miles has kept LSU in the top 10 each year. Miles' 2009 class that includes Morris Claiborne, Josh Downs, Michael Ford, Bennie Logan, Craig Loston, Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Rueben Randle, and Russell Shepard has the chance of rivaling Miles' best.
He also appears to have a really good class this year.
Of course, maintaining those top 10 lists will depend a lot on how Miles fares on the field.
And that comparison to Saban right now is not looking too good. But it can certainly change in a heartbeat. Or in a good recruiting class living up to its potential and receiving good coaching on the field.