BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Tigers coach Les Miles was not necessarily seeking immediate help from the 2016 recruiting class, not with up to 18 starters returning from last season's 9-3 LSU team,
Still, there could be a number of players contributing sooner than later among the 23 new signees who formally committed to LSU on Wednesday.
"You look at the veteran team we have coming back and with as talented a class as we have, you have to like our chances and expectations," Miles said. "We are looking to play to those expectations."
Miles boasted of signing a player considered by many to be the best in Louisiana for a third straight year.
This year, it was 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence of Monroe. Two years ago, it was running back Leonard Fournette and last year defensive back Donte Jackson.
Talent-rich Louisiana supplied the state's flagship university with most of its signing class this year, with only three players coming from Texas and one each from Florida, Alabama and Arizona.
The Tigers hoped to have a fourth from Texas, but highly rated linebacker Erick Fowler decided to stay in-state with the Longhorns after having been verbally committed to LSU.
"Yeah, it's never fun," Miles said when asked about losing Fowler. "What we are, certainly, are men of our words, and we have a scholarship for you. ... Many times, the prospect is not necessarily held to that same level."
"But again, for me, it always seems to be the guys that were meant to be here are here, and we'll really look forward to coaching them, and we'll just go down the road," Miles added.
LSU's signing class was dominated by in-state players. All but six of the signees are Louisiana natives, including wide receiver Drake Davis who played at IMG Academy in Florida.
"These young men are looking to continue their football in this state," Miles said, alluding to the allure of 102,000-seat Tiger Stadium, also known as Death Valley. "Our guys recognize the opportunity of the university. They enjoy walking into that stadium. We have men in this class who want to win another national championship with their friends and family."
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: Yes, ranked No. 4.
Best in class: Saivion Smith, DB, St. Petersburg (Florida)
Best of the rest: Rashard Lawrence, DT, Monroe (Louisiana)
Late addition: Kristian Fulton, DB, Metairie (Louisiana)
One that got away: Erick Fowler, LB, Manor (Texas)
How they'll fit in: The secondary has been an area of strength for LSU in recent seasons. With three starters returning, players like Smith and Fulton will be able to contribute immediately in the nickel and dime packages. "We have some lockdown corners who are going to be able to be impact players right away," Miles said. "They will give us a lot of flexibility when we move people around in the secondary."
For the full list: http://www.lsusports.net