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February 2, 2012
SIGNING DAY: COMPLETE RIVALS COVERAGE
Tom Bergeron is the Senior Editor for RivalsHigh.com. Send ideas, questions or comments to TBergero@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow on Twitter.
LSU lost out on perhaps the biggest name quarterback in the Class of 2012 when highly touted Gunner Kiel changed his mind and went to Notre Dame.
But the Tigers got the biggest quarterback of the Class of 2012 when Jeremy Liggins - 6-foot-3 and at least 270 pounds - sent his Letter of Intent to the school on National Signing Day.
How big is Liggins? Consider this: Only three members of the Tigers' incoming class weigh more. And they are all offensive linemen and stand at least three inches taller.
Liggins, in fact, is bigger than former LSU QB JaMarcus Russell - who starred for the Tigers in 2005-06 but became more famous for eating his way out of the NFL after being the No. 1 overall pick.
Many schools wanted the athletic Liggins to switch positions, but LSU and coach Les Miles never wavered that Liggins could play QB. That was the difference.
"(Miles) has just been telling me that I'm his guy," Liggins told TigerBait.com, the leading source for LSU news. "He never changed his mind one bit, and that's why I stuck with Les Miles. I believe in him."
It's not hard to believe in Liggins.
He led his school, Oxford (Miss.) Lafayette, to back-to-back undefeated seasons and the No. 28 spot in the final RivalsHigh 100.
As a senior, Liggins passed for 1,678 yards and 16 TDs (against six INTs) and rushed for 953 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has great speed. (Don't believe us, watch the video)
He has impressed Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell.
"Liggins is much bigger than Russell was at the high school level and he doesn't have bad weight, like Russell added at LSU," Farrell said.
Farrell, however, feels Liggins still has work to do to be in Russell's class.
"He's not as polished a passer at the same stage and is a bit of a project at the quarterback position," he said. "However, his athleticism is better and he has a high ceiling so he could end up having a very good career at LSU. I think his best weight would be in the 250 range to increase his mobility, but he can move for a big kid already."
He moves well on and off the field.
Miles said Wednesday he was more impressed with Liggins' announcement than his play. Liggins played high school football just a few miles from the Ole Miss campus, where many wanted him to go.
"I recommended he not stand up in the square at Oxford and tell everybody he was going (to LSU)," Miles said. "He said, 'I enjoy these people. These people are my home. I want to make my announcement there.' I felt that was a big-chested, straight-forward way to conduct business. He became a better prospect to me the way he handled his business."
But how will he handle his weight.
Some have listed him as high as 290; Miles himself said he may be closer to 280 - and admits Liggins will have to lose some pounds.
He will not, however, lose his position.
Despite his size, Miles said Liggins was coveted as a quarterback, the only one in LSU's class.
"We stayed on him the entire way," Miles said. "At no time did we stop recruiting Liggins. He was a priority for us, a guy who can throw the football and move his feet and give us a talented prospect at QB."
LSU also thought it had Kiel, a five-star recruit ranked as the top pro-style quarterback in the country, but Kiel changed his mind and headed for Notre Dame right after the new year.
Liggins, a three-star regarded as the No. 16 dual-threat quarterback in the country, said Kiel's departure didn't impact his decision. He said he looked forward to the challenge of proving he could beat out a top QB.
Now he just has to prove that he can play QB - even if he looks more like a defensive tackle.
"I'm going to prove to everybody that I can be a quarterback," he said. "An SEC quarterback."
Ole Miss NEWS