The best recruiting sometimes happens internally, and LSU head coach Les Miles may have landed a stud on Tuesday night—current Tigers running back Jeremy Hill.
The rising junior is three years removed from high school, but according to Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, he will return to school instead of declaring for the NFL draft.
That's huge news for the Tigers.
Hill rushed for 1,401 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Tigers in 2013, including 216 yards and two touchdowns in LSU's 21-14 win over Iowa in the Outback Bowl. While the stats pop off the page, something else is motivating Hill to stick around Baton Rouge, according to Luke Johnson of TigerRag.com.
It's his reputation.
He wants to prove to LSU fans, his teammates and head coach Les Miles that the guy who was caught on camera knocking someone out in the parking lot of a bar last spring isn't the man he is.
"I think doing that over the last seven months has completely changed the way people look at me and the perception of me," Hill told Johnson.
Hill's legacy is important to him, and he has the opportunity to write the final chapter of his legacy with a very talented running back—incoming freshman Leonard Fournette.
The 6'1", 226-pound Fournette committed to the Tigers earlier this month at the Under Armour All-American Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has the ability to step on any college field and become an immediate contributor.
The No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2014 in the 247Sports.com composite has the size and power of an upperclassman, speed to burn and has drawn comparisons to former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.
Where will LSU rank in rushing in the SEC in 2014?
What could this duo do in Baton Rouge?
Frustrate defensive coordinators, for one.
LSU will likely have to tweak its offense quite a bit with quarterback Zach Mettenberger and receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry gone. The two power backs can ensure that LSU has a fresh running back late in virtually every football game. That's a great asset for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to have in any circumstance but especially with a new quarterback and wide receiving corps.
Hill punishes people anyway, and now Fournette's presence will allow either to serve as that "closer" who pounds on worn-down front sevens.
LSU is going to be a contender in the SEC West anyway, and the combination of Hill and Fournette in the same backfield could elevate the Tigers to be the primary contender to Auburn's throne.