National Signing Day turned out to be an emotional roller coaster with plenty of shock and awe. But when the dust settled, the consensus of the combined national recruiting services, including ESPN, crowned the LSU Tigers the #1 recruiting class of 2009.
With many of LSU's top targets already enrolled in school, the one recruit that the Tiger Nation remained on the edge of their seats about was wide receiver Rueben Randle, the 6'3", 195lb. prospect out of Bastrop, LA.
Randle was heavily recruited by Alabama and Oklahoma as well, and the decision seemed to go to the wire. But just before 1PM CST, Randle gathered with family and fans and put on the LSU cap, devastating the Crimson Tide fan base who was sure he was a lock.
Randle was not only considered the #1 recruit by most national recruiting services, but he has been academically eligible since the 9th grade according to his coach. The student athlete was also top ranked in such wide receiver categories as "Best after catch" (3), "Best athlete" (1), and "Best hands" (3).
In Rueben Randle's senior year, he actually played quarterback where he racked up over 2,400 yards and 20 touchdowns. A true athlete who will be a multiple threat to SEC defenses in 2009, Randle is expected to see plenty of playing time as a true freshman.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the recruitment of Rueben Randle was the back story involving another highly touted recruit named DeAngelo Benton. Benton had committed to LSU two years ago but has had academic problems that have kept him from becoming a Tiger.
One of the main factors Rueben Ranlde was considering was whether or not Benton would ultimately sign with LSU, and how that could impact his own playing time. Randle confirmed in an interview that it didn't make sense for both he and Benton to both come to LSU and compete for a spot, and went on further to say that if Benton indeed ended up at LSU, that he (Randle) would have pursued his college career elsewhere.
Rumors began to swirl after DeAngelo Benton surprised everyone by announcing that he would be attending Auburn. At a press conference, Les Miles was asked flat out if Benton's scholarship offer was still good on Wednesday morning, and despite LSU athletic director Joe Alleva waving his arms in the back of the room as if to get Miles to avoid the question, the Mad Hatter simply said, "No."
It is assumed that some last minute maneuvering was made to ensure that Rueben Randle would sign with LSU, and it appears that DeAngelo's scholarship offer was officially pulled by LSU on Tuesday night. Apparently, the LSU coaching staff had decided on what amounts to a college level "trade" in order to land their #1 recruit on National Signing Day.
All is fair in love, war, and college football.
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